Google says page speed matters

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Why does speed matter for a website


Having a fast website is an absolute must in the modern world.

We all rely on the internet to access information, be it for social or business reasons.

That said, how a person sees your website is under immediate scrutiny, whereby they compare it to other sites they’ve seen and learned from, so you’re already up against it when trying to impress them.

The average person is no longer willing to accept a slow website with poor load times. They’ve become so used to everything being on demand that anything lesson, will simply see them clicking off somewhere else.

Keep reading to find out why speed is one of the defining factors in how successful businesses can be online.

Having a fast website is vital for any online shop or site to be successful.

A website that loads pages quickly and has a quick response time to user interactions will keep the attention  of users and improve the pages visited rates. You’ll also find the user will be happy to casually browse the site and will not become frustrated.

Google spend a considerable amount of time developing a core set of metrics called Core Web Vitals.

We have 2 examples of how Core Web Vitals helped to better to major websites:

One study found that the BBC website lost over 10% of users for every extra second a page took to load.   So before you brush it off, think about what it costs to get a client, retain that client and their true lifetime value to your business.

 As an example, the BBC found they lost an additional 10% of users for every additional second their site took to load

Why does performance improve conversions

We’ve already mentioned that a fast site is absolutely necessary and a fast site keeps people more engaged, but how does that relate to conversions?

It has been shown many times that slow sites have a negative impact on interaction and user retention, so it is inevitable that this will also affect conversions.

A couple of stories to reinforce this include:

It is undeniable that performance and success are inexplicably linked, so if you have an online ecommerce shop, you should be looking to improve the site performance, to maximise your efforts.

Think about it this way – If you’re not taking this seriously, We’d imagine your competitors are.

How is User Experience affected by performance

We’ve talked about business outcomes, but the user experience as a whole is tightly bound to page speed.

I’ve read before about a study saying that a user will have a stress response to page load delays which equate to those experienced when trying to solve a complicated puzzle.

After a link click, there’s a period when  the end user has to wait for any content, be it images/words to appear.

It is during this delay period that the end user questions whether something is happening and may even double click to try to speed up the process.

It’s not such an issue on fast connections, but certainly slower connections, cheap hosting and badly produced websites will all add to the problem, damaging the User Experience.

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Blowing your stack

When a site is overloaded with code the web browser must do a lot more work to build the page and render it.  This is especially true on mobile devices as they have much smaller processors and memory.

This is why when we assess pages using the Google Page Speed Index, we get bother  a Mobile and Desktop Results options.

Images are a prime example of overloading a site, with images not being produced and delivered in the webp format, and then offering up mobile specific images that again load much more quickly.

Below you can see a basic speed test using the Inspect Feature within the Google browser.  One image shows the site being throttled as if on a 3G network and the other image shows no throttling.

Compare the Times and you can get an idea of how substantial these affects can be.


To summarise

So, we’ve clarified that it is really important to have a fast loading site. 

It could be that your site is slow due to the backend system that runs it, or you may have a cheap hosting plan.

That said, the issue of hosting is  big one as so many sites live on these cheap hosting plans for a few quid per year, but you’re getting super poor performance as your site will be one of many on a single machine, which will seriously kill performance.  An ecommerce shop really must sit on a more punchy server plan so it can perform more effectively.

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