Why website speed matters

Posted on 16 April, 2020 / 4 min read

It’s 2020! Surprisingly, a lot of websites still remain slow. If you care about your online growth, you have to take steps to speed it up. Overtake your competitors!

Let's get started with some definitions. What are we referring about when we mention website speed? There are 2 elements to be aware of:

  1. Speed Index
  2. Time to Interact

1. Speed Index

The Speed Index is the time required to fully load your website. It is expressed in milliseconds. The lower, the better. It gives a general overview of website speed performance and this value can be used to provide a comparison point with competitors and provide metrics to measure optimization efforts. The Speed Index is the time needed to fully load your website. It is expressed in milliseconds and the lower, the better. It can provide a comparison point with competitors. It gives a general overview of website speed performance and provide metrics to measure optimization efforts.

2. Time to Interactive (TTI)

Time To Interactive is the time it takes for the user to be able to interact with your website or app. For example, scrolling, clicking a button or filling up a form.

Both of these parameters are important considerations. Business websites that provide a great user experience ensures visitors will stay on your website, thereby increasing your conversion rate.

In 2020, the Google algorithm is pushing for an increase in speed of website and apps. Meaning, if you want to rank high on Google, you need to have a lightning fast website. This leads us to our point #3.

SEO

3. Why is speed so important?

Nobody likes waiting for a slow website to load. Studies show that 50% of visitors will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load on their mobile. For a user, it refers to the Time To Interactive (TTI).

Fast loading speed correlates favourably with fast TTI. The common consensus is that a website is considered slow when it takes more than 2 seconds to load.

Google Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) prioritises the user experience and there has been a strong push in 2020 for fast and mobile-friendly websites and apps. It means that the faster your website or app, the better you will be ranked on Google. If your website is slow, you will be penalized. Speed as a SEO metric is not new and was established in 2010 but there is a definitive strong push for faster loading websites, especially as we rely more and more on mobiles for online activities (eg. google searches, shopping, social media, etc). Also, a fast website with accurate metadatas will make it easy for Google bots to crawl, hence again, ranked more favourably on Google.

4. Slow leads to lost opportunities; fast leads to growth.

By now, you should be able to appreciate why the speed of your website is important. To put things in perspective, if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load and 50% of your visitors leave, it also means that you will need to generate 100% more traffic to be able to compensate. If your conversion rate is 5% on average, 5% based on 10 000 visitors will not have the same impact as 5000 visitors in terms of sales. More sales compounds itself to eventually lead to even more sales. Increasing your audience outreach gives more people the chance to benefit from your services.

Let's take the example of an E-Commerce website. The website is slow to load, our potential customer gets frustrated, gives up, leaves the page, maybe to buy from a competitor instead. Slow loading speeds creates a huge barrier to closing potential sales and can give the impression of unreliability to the customer who has never met you face to face. To make things worse, almost half of them will tell their friends and/or family about their bad experience using your website, so you can lose even more potential clients. This is not good for your business, neither is it for your bounce rate. A higher bounce rate will penalize your sales. Wait! What is the bounce rate?

5. Faster websites increase the chances of customers hitting the BUY button

The bounce rate is a metric measuring the number of visitors entering your website and doing completely nothing on the page they entered. It can be due to a poor quality of content or due to visitors not interested in the content of your website. It can also be due to the fact that visitors got the information they were looking for and decided to leave.

In most cases, good websites seek to lower their bounce rate, meaning you want your visitors to read your content or keep browsing the products you sell and click the "buy" button. You also want to provide a pleasant user experience to them so they want to return and buy again from you. Although bounce rate in itself, is not a Google ranking factor but one can conclude that a high bounce rate could possibly be due to slow website speed and that could definitely be hurting your customer’s user experience and your sales.

6. Case study for Digital Solution X (now Digital Nuage)

Here at Digital Nuage, we specialise in transformative, efficient, lightning fast websites. Here is a screenshot of how Google speed insight evaluates our website:

Website speed test

As you can see, we get 100 on Mobile loading, bringing us in the top 2%, out there. There are other metrics and tools out there to measure the speed of a website but since we are trying to improve our Google ranking, one should favor Google Page Speed Insight to understand what they think of your website’s performance and how it affects traffic.

After reading this, you may want to check your website’s loading speed using one or all these 3 free tools:

Based on what we explained above, your base speed should be 3 seconds and then aim to improve to get below 2 seconds or less.

At Digital Nuage, we build robust, fast, responsive, SEO optimized websites to help you grow your business. Reach out with your enquiry if you need help to lower your bounce rate and boost your conversion rate.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may be interested in our article about website builders versus custom websites.