We have all been to restaurants where the waiter takes forever to come to your booth and receive your order. Eventually, we just leave the restaurant, hungry and frustrated at the experience.
The restaurant ends up losing business because the customers had to wait longer than necessary.
Now imagine your website as a restaurant and your visitors as potential customers that come looking for food.
You’ve only got 5 seconds before your visitor decides to leave due to slow load time. That’s one less customer if your site doesn’t load fast.
Slow site speed creates bad user experiences and takes you further away from your goals of turning your visitors into customers.
Imagine how much business you could be losing only because of slow site speed.
Fortunately, you can optimize the website speed with the help of various tools, best practices, and some expert advice.
Keep reading to learn about the importance of site speed and how it (potentially) affects your conversion rates.
Your Site vs Their Site (Average site Speed Benchmarks)
Let’s see how your site speed stacks up against industry benchmarks. Here’s what the numbers say.
- Average Speed Index (Perceived Load Time): 0 – 4.7 seconds (on desktop) 0 – 11.4 seconds (on mobile)
- Average Site Load Time (Full Site): 0 – 10 seconds (on desktop) 0 – 22 seconds (on mobile)
- Slow Load Time: 5+ seconds
- Ideal Load Time: 0 – 3 seconds (desktop/mobile)
Now that you’ve seen the numbers go check out your site speed to compare and see where your site stands.
Page Speed Metrics that Matter (For Higher Conversions)
Let’s look into some of the metrics that affect site speed:
1. Bounce Rate: The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that visit your website but leave without navigating further. The probability of bounce increases by 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.
Faster websites tend to have lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates.
2. Asset Count: Any text content, graphics, photographs, videos, audio files, and databases is an asset. Each time your website loads, these assets are called from the server in the form of requests. More assets generate more requests, which means slower page load time.
As the number of elements — text, titles, images — on a page goes from 400 to 6,000, the probability of conversion drops 95%.
3. Page Size: It’s no secret that a lighter page can load faster. A web page size is determined by the collective size of all the files, including media, scripts, and external files.
According to industry benchmarks, the average page size is around 3 MB.
Focus on having a light homepage: if it loads fast, your brand gives a good first impression and makes it twice as likely for the visitor to come back to your website because you didn’t test their patience the first time.
However, it’s not necessary for all pages to be light. In cases where page size can increase substantially, a light home page makes it seem faster to navigate the website for a visitor.
4. Media Asset Optimization: Probably the easiest and cheapest way to make your website faster. Image/video/audio files are usually large in size and uploaded to websites without being optimized for the web.
There are various free tools online that can help you optimize images (single or multiple). This is one area where you may not need an expert to guide you.
But this approach doesn’t work for large enterprises or content-heavy websites where the amount of assets created is quite large and needs to be optimized while editing.
Interpreting These Numbers
Your conversion rate numbers are the amalgamation of all other performance metrics. UX and CRO experts extensively test each and every metric to achieve the best conversion rates for business.
Based on the analysis done by Google, 70% of the mobile landing pages took more than 5 seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it took more than 7 seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold.
The average speed index in the automotive industry is 9.5 sec (for the US) and 12.3 sec (for the UK) while the retail industry comes close with 9.8 sec (for the US) and 10.3 sec (for the UK).
Time is of the essence. According to Hubspot, a 1-second delay in load time can lead up to 7% fewer conversions. Every number points to the importance of ensuring a fast website for your business.
Fix Your Mobile Experience (Or Die)
It’s 2020 and your average mobile website takes 22 seconds to load properly on mobile. 70% of websites take longer than 5 seconds to load above the fold content.
Mobile generates 52.6% of global web traffic.
Free Tools to Measure Page Speed
To measure the page speed of any website you can make use of these 3 free tools:
1. Google PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights powered by Lighthouse is one of the most widely used page speed measurement tools. It measures the performance of a webpage on both mobile and desktop devices and then provides suggestions to improve along with the overall score. Fixing the highlighted issues by the test, one can increase the page load times and overall user experience.
Created by GT.net, a hosting company in Canada, GTmetrix is another popular free tool used for measuring page speed. Unlike PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix offers a lot more options to its users for changing the test environment. You can modify the location, browser, and network connection type.
Apart from highlighting the score and issues with page loading times, it also offers a Waterfall Chart to audit which resource is taking more load time and is loaded in which order.
PingDom is another tool that can be used as an alternative to PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. Similar to GTmetrix in terms of features, PingDom will not only provide results for speed and performance but will also offer additional information using a waterfall chart.