You probably understand that page speed is referring to how long it takes for your website to fully load, but why this matters may be a bit fuzzy.
Page speed impacts everything from your Google ranking to conversion rate, so if you haven’t paid much attention to it, now is the time to start. But don’t take my word for it. In the video below Google’s Maile Ohye walks us through why page speed and site performance matter.
How fast should my site be?
In the video, Maile tell us that “2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”
Yet the website Pingdom said that the average site load time was 5 seconds, based on all of the sites that have used their speed checker tool in the last year.
So what does that mean to you?
How page speed impacts conversions
If you are selling online, page load time should be one of your main concerns and a standard part of your testing, right up there with your checkout process.
Study after study has found that customers will abandon a purchase because of a slow page load.
One study by Akamai claimed that a whopping 75% of people would not return to a website that took more than four seconds to load.
So we know users want a fast, clean experience, but what does it actually come down to in numbers?
- Amazon has discovered that for every one second delay, conversions dropped by 7%
- Walmart has found that it gains 1% revenue increase for every 100ms of improvement
- Shopzilla saw a 7-12% difference in conversions in speed-optimized sites *
- Firefox saw a 15.4% increase in downloads on speed-optimized sites*
How to manage page speed
So you’re convinced: page speed is a priority. But what’s the first step in tackling the problem? Start out by checking what you’re page speed is.
You can also take a look at the following aspects of your website:
- Images: Are you loading a 5MB file when you really need a 400 x 250 pixel image? Size your images appropriately and upload only what you need.
Tip: JPG images are smaller than PNG.
- Plugins: Are you running 20+ plugins on your site? Plugins are awesome and can do a lot for you, but each one of them has to load, and that reduces your page speed. Take a look at what you really need and dump the things you don’t. If you have a developer, you may be able to replace a number of plugins with a little bit of code.
- Caching: Chances are you don’t change your website every day, so you can set up a web cache so that browsers don’t have to pull a fresh version of your entire website for every new visitor. This can significantly increase your page speed.
- Hosting: Are you spending $3/month on a basic hosting service, or have you invested in a high quality business-level host that will help optimize your site for speed? Hosting can make a huge difference in your load time.
Have more questions? Or this just seems too much on the technical side and you need some help? Give us a shout!
*Source: Maile Ohye, embedded Google Video