We regularly encounter “I have a slow website” or “we need a new website, this one is already slow”.
Although undoubtedly, everything is accelerating these days, and not just websites. We must realize what we are actually dealing with. There are several reasons for this:
- I want to solve the website speed issue because of the user experience. This includes situations like when someone tells you (usually your boss or a neighbour) that the website is loading slowly.
- I want to solve the website speed issue because I understand that speed affects the searching and behaviour of search engines, advertising networks, and so on.
Why the website speed matters and what are its effects
Let’s take a look at the data. According to research from Google in 2018, 53% of mobile users leave the page if it is loading for longer than 3 seconds. This can be quite a problem given that it takes up to fifteen seconds to fully load an average page on a mobile phone.
According to a survey, it usually takes between 8 and 11 seconds to load a page. It may not seem like too long, but every second makes you lose visitors and customers.
Even a small deceleration from one to three seconds causes a 32 % increase in website exits. From one to five seconds, it’s a 90 % increase. Change in the loading rate from one to ten seconds increases the bounce rate by 123 %.
In 2018, Google came up with a new algorithm that made website speed much more important than before.
It is quite easy to work on speed. All you need to do is find out why the page is loading slowly and what things can be improved to make it load faster.
- Do you have a slow response time or do static resources download slowly? Caching is likely to be to blame.
- Is there a problem in loading dynamic pages? Usually, there is a problem with the site code.
- Does the web take a long time to render? Check external sources. Often, plugins or third-party resources slow the website down.
According to studies done by Skilled, 79% of customers are unlikely to buy again if they are not satisfied with the website’s performance. 64% of users expect the website to load in four seconds. Moreover, 47% expect it to load in two seconds. Slowing the website down by one second means a loss of 7% conversions and 11% page views, which means, with a monthly turnover of 5 million, a loss of 350,000 of turnover per month, and a net loss of 35,000 per month.
According to the official report from Google, the website speed on mobile devices is a factor when including a page in search, which significantly affects SEO.
At the end of 2019, Google was considering the implementation of the so-called “badge of shame“. If the implementation will actually happen, we expect another negative impact on very slow websites. But only experience will show a real impact.
All of these studies are based on worldwide or US data. The reality in the Czech Republic may be slightly different, but the overall trend is quite clear. The studies do not take into account any more detailed segmentation, where long-term customers are likely to behave differently than a user who visits the website for the first time. A user who knows the web on one device can transfer his experience (whether positive or negative) to his behaviour on the other device.
Now let’s have a look at the Czech Republic – according to CZSO data, 97% of the Czech population use a mobile phone, most users (70%) prefer smartphones. Czechs most often use their mobile phones to search – they look for more detailed information about the product, or they shop on the internet.
How to deal with website speed on the grounds of user experience
If we are dealing with the website speed from the user’s point of view, human approach is important. It is crucial to understand that we are dealing with a user experience and the data here only helps us, but it is not self-explanatory.
From the user’s point of view, it is absolutely irrelevant that our onload time is 10 seconds if this is due to the fact that loading details in the footer is still going on. On the other hand, the user will be very bothered if the website does not show any signs of life for 5 seconds, and then it is completely loaded with its full functionality. The user does not know if something is happening, whether the website is actually working, and therefore they will probably leave before they see anything.
Possible solution and tools
For basic analysis, you can choose one of the tools for web measuring. For example PageSpeed Insights. Here you can find out how fast your website is performing on both desktops and mobile devices. Just enter the URL of your website and find out what the biggest mistakes are and how to fix them.
For the first use, this tool is absolutely perfect. Its biggest disadvantage is that it runs on your device, affected by all programs and tools that are running too. It is also affected by the speed of your connection.
Before I start claiming that I have a fast or slow website, it’s important to become aware of why I think so. In the next step, either with us or on your own, determine how much this problem bothers you, and make a comparison with the rival companies. Finally, start solving individual problems with the developers of the website itself. And always mind the price–performance ratio.