Why speed is so important for a website and how to measure it

Waiting is a hassle. Whether its waiting in traffic, queuing, waiting for a friend to show up, or waiting for someone else to complete their task so you can then complete yours. None of these things are enjoyable.

The same is true of waiting in the digital world. Have you ever quit while waiting a page to load because it was taking too long? We all do it. The chances are that your customers have too if they have had to wait too long looking for a page to load on their phones. On mobile, seconds can feel like an eternity.

How important speed is?

A page must load quickly. Consumers cite load time as a key issue. According to a DoubleClick study, “53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load”, even though the average loading time is 19 seconds over a standard 3G connection.

The study revealed faster websites have higher revenue. Mobile sites loading in up to 5 seconds earn up to 2x more mobile ad revenue than those loading in 19 seconds.

The study highlighted other positive factors related to speed, such as higher ad viewability and longer sessions.
Another reason why speed is important is that it is a ranking factor for SEO. And this is set to become more relevant in 2018 when Google is expected to start rankings websites based on mobile-first criteria.

Case Study

Airport Driving School, a Spark client, recently launched a new website. Analysis of the load speed at launch showed it took 10 seconds — much better than the average of 19 seconds on the website, but still far from a top performer.

We made a series of technical changes both on the website and the server the site was hosted on. These changes reduced the load time to 6 seconds. The top performers in the motors and vehicle sector load within 5 seconds, so there is still some work to be done but the waiting has dropped in 40%.

Loading Instantly

There’s also a way to make pages load almost instantly on mobile. The Accelerated Mobile Pages initiative arrived in Ireland this year. Pages are created in a limited coding framework specifically designed for mobile. This means pages load up to 85% faster. It has its limitations but they are counter balanced by loading speed.

Test yourself

Google has a Mobile Website Speed and Performance test where you can test any page for free to find out how long it takes to load and the estimated loss of visitors that a low speed can cause.

Conclusions

Next time you feel frustrated waiting for a page to load, think about how your customers might feel on your own webpages. Speed optimisation can be improved in several easy steps over time. Improved speed is proven to make your visitors happier and to drive more conversions.

Originally published at sparkfoundry.ie on October 23, 2017.


Why speed is so important for a website and how to measure it was originally published in gpelogia.com • Digital Marketing on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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