How to Improve Your Website Performance and Get More Customers
Studies have consistently shown that apart from website maintenance, web performance has a measurable effect on conversion rates. Fast page speed and loading time wins your visitors' trust and encourages them to make a purchase.
The faster your site loads, the bigger the chances of a user to perform the targeted action on that site.
Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings:
- The average website speed across all industries was 8.66 seconds in 2018.
- More than 50% of your web users expect your site to load in three seconds or less.
- Even a 1-second delay can result in an 11% decrease in traffic.
- 46% of users don't revisit a low-performing website.
- 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a bad shopping experience.
We have detailed data and information about website performance optimization below.
What is page speed?
Page speed measures how fast the content on your page loads. It refers to how fast a page loads when you manually type in the URL or click on a link that directs you to a site.
But did you know that page speed sells?
The average page speed across all industries was 8.66 seconds in 2018, but the recommendation is to reduce that number to 3 seconds.
Website optimization can help you get ahead of your competition and rank well in Google. For example, if your site loads in three seconds and your competitor's loads in six, Google will want to serve your content first.
Is my website slow?
Although many people confuse the terms, CMS migration is not the same as website redesign. If we compare a website to a computer, a website redesign is like changing a computer's color. CMS migration is like getting a new hard drive.
Although getting a new color for your computer can make it more attractive, upgrading to a new hard drive can bring a countless number of benefits.
Moreover, you can redesign your site without migrating it to a new CMS. Similarly, you can migrate the site to a new CMS without a redesign.
The intent of website redesign and the intent of migration are completely different. Web redesign focuses on altering the visual appeal of a site, so it captures the audience's attention and hopefully generates more sales. Site migration can upgrade the web design of a site, but its main focus is to also upgrade all the core functionalities, features, and contexts of site management.
To sum up, a site redesign strives to improve the user experience. Website migration aims to enhance the overall experience for your audience and yourself.
How fast should a website load?
These days, users have become used to fast loading sites. When they click on a site, they expect it to be fast. When a page takes longer than expected to load, it negatively affects the user experience. And when your user experience drops, so does your conversation rate.
Here are some statistics that will throw you into a panic:
- 1 in 4 users will leave a website if it doesn't load in 4 seconds.
- 46% of users don't revisit a low-performing website.
- Website owners have 5 seconds to engage users before they start thinking about leaving the site.
- 74% of users say they will leave a site if it's not mobile-friendly.
Google researchers say that page load times of 100 milliseconds is acceptable web performance. When a page loads in one second, web users feel in control of their online activities and remain in a positive mental state.
If your site loads in 10 seconds or more, the visitor's attention is hardly kept. They'll start experiencing feelings of impatience and frustration, and chances are they won't revisit such slow websites in the future.
In other words, web users will gladly spend excessive time searching for other faster websites than waiting a few seconds for a slower site to load. The losers in this game of wait are e-Commerce businesses that fail to reach their customers fast enough and lose them for the competition.
Why is website performance important?
Slow websites frustrate visitors and make them look for faster alternatives. Even a small drop in page load time can cost a business thousands of dollars and a decline in rankings.
Google found that if it increased latency by 100 milliseconds, it would suffer a drop in daily searches by 0.2%. If the latency was increased by 400 milliseconds, the daily reduction will be 0.6%.
What's more, even a 1-second delay in page load time can result in $1.6 billion in annual losses for large online retailers such as Amazon. In fact, Amazon once did an A/B testing in which they intentionally delayed pages by 100 milliseconds. Their findings? Even small delays of 100 milliseconds led to "substantial and costly" decreases in profits.
For Microsoft, a 400-millisecond delay can result in a reduced query volume of 0.21%.
The numbers don’t lie!
How does website performance affect my business?
Website performance affects sales
Bringing in visitors requires little effort. Good search engine optimization and content marketing usually do the trick. Once the visitor lands on your site, they won't hesitate about leaving if the information they're after is not made available in the first few seconds. Leaving the site takes only a few clicks.
So, the ultimate factor in impressing your visitors and boosting your conversion rates is good user experience in an aspect of fast loading times.
Here's how website performance impacts conversion:
- pages that load in 2.4 seconds have a 1.9% conversion rate
- pages that load in 3.3 seconds have a 1.5% conversion rate
- pages that load in 4.2 seconds have a conversion rate of less than 1%
- pages that load in 5.7+ seconds have a conversion rate of 0.6%
Website performance affects user engagement
Your online business success depends on your user engagement. And user engagement depends on how responsive and fast-loading you website is. To increase user engagement, your visitors must feel like they have control over the machine.
As mentioned above, when a page loads in 3 seconds or less, users feel in control of their online activities and stay in a positive mental state.
Underperforming sites spark feelings of frustration and anger in a visitor. They immediately assume that the company is incompetent in delivering a great user experience, resulting in a drop in engagement.
On the other hand, high-performing websites have an influence on three aspects that control user engagement:
- user feelings
- user mental states
- user interactions
These three aspects can help a user create an emotional, cognitive, and behavioral connection with the site.
Online businesses that provide an exceptional user experience can exploit the trust visitors have in their website and convert them into paying customers. In the best-case scenario, these people will spread the word and become brand ambassadors on social media and outside the cyber world.
How can I improve the performance of my website?
The purpose of mirrors in elevators is to distract passengers from the time spent traveling. It is the objective length of wait that defines the experience of waiting. The same applies to people's behavior in the cyber world.
Unfortunately, website owners can't place mirrors inside their sites to make the wait more bearable for every visitor out there. They have to reduce the objective length of wait by improving their website performance.
Here are a few website optimization techniques for improving your site's loading time:
Audit your site
The first step is to run some website audit performance tests and see what aspects of your site need website optimization. Some tools you can use to test the performance of the site are:
- Lighthouse: a free and open-source tool that will give you a detailed report about what needs improvement. You'll also see actionable steps on how to optimize those areas.
- Google PageSpeed: a thorough tool for a website audit. It will give your site a ranking out of 100, along with suggestions on how to improve its performance.
Optimize your site for mobile
Every business that wants to get a share at the competitive market has optimized its website for mobile use. Why? Here are some statistics that show the power of mobile-friendliness:
- Global smartphone subscription is predicted to surpass the 2.7 billion by 2019.
- By the end of 2019, 83% of internet users will be accessing the internet via their smartphones.
- According to statistics by Similar Web, mobile accounted for more than 50% of the traffic in 2017.
- The average US adult will spend 2 hours, 55 minutes on a smartphone in 2019, a 9-minute increase from 2018.
- 60% of consumers use their mobile phones exclusively to make quick purchase decisions.
Statistics also show that 60% of mobile users expect a page to load within 3 seconds. If it takes more than 5 seconds to load, 3 in 4 people will leave the site. Slow mobile page load times happen when a website is not optimized to deliver high performance on a mobile device.
To check whether your site is mobile-friendly, you can use the Google Search Console.
According to HTTP Archive, images make up around 66% of a total webpage’s weight. One way to improve the performance of your site is to optimize your images.
Here are some great tools you can use:
- ImageOptim for Mac and FileOptimizer for Windows
- Jpeg Optimizer that lets you upload and compress the photos online
- Adobe Photoshop if you're looking for a powerful image-editing software
Reduce the number of your plugins
The majority of websites improve their functionality with a myriad of plugins. From plugins for social media integration and profile tools to website stats and font tools, these plugins are often unnecessary features.
When selecting high-quality plugins, avoid those that perform complex operations and load many content assets and scripts. Although experts haven't agreed on a number, using 10 plugins for simple and unique tasks is a better option than installing one plugin to perform complex tasks.
Compress your content
Having uncompressed content on your site can cause your users who are restrained by bandwidth to receive the contents of your site in lengthy page load times.
To help you fix this issue, here's what Google recommends:
- Establish consistency in CSS and HTML code with these techniques:
- Consistent casing – mostly lowercase.
- Consistent quoting of HTML tag attributes.
- Specify HTML attributes in the same order.
- Specify CSS key-value pairs in the same order by alphabetizing them.
- Enable GZIP compression.
You can enable caching with the following add-ons and configurations if your hosting service providers do not offer server-side caching:
Page speed and loading times are the most important aspects of a high-performing website. When it comes to optimizing the performance of your site, you should focus on these major points.
After all, you want your visitors to access your content as quickly as possible and navigate from one page to another with ease.
With consumers' attention spans getting shorter by the day, you don't want to give them a reason to leave your site too early.