Every business knows that they need a strong online presence to thrive in 2017. Unfortunately, founders often ignore some of the most important factors when trying to improve their standing. They invest heavily in aesthetics, but don’t pay nearly enough attention to website loading times.
According to a recent survey, 83 percent of internet users expect websites they visit to load in three seconds or less. If your website takes much longer than that, your site will suffer significantly. KissMetrics points out that this is a common mistake that you must avoid at all costs.
“Page loading time is obviously an important part of any website’s user experience. And many times, we’ll let it slide to accommodate better aesthetic design, new nifty functionality, or to add more content to web pages. Unfortunately, website visitors tend to care more about speed than all the bells and whistles that we want to add to our websites. Additionally, page loading time is becoming a more important factor when it comes to search engine rankings.”
If you still don't believe that faster load times is important, here are some reasons slow load times can destroy your online brand and hurt your business.
Bounce Rate Skyrockets
Customers will quickly abandon any website that takes too long to load. KissMetrics published an infographic showing that websites with load times of 10 seconds have a bounce rate of about 40 percent. That's way too high.
A website taking this long to load could cut its bounce rate in half by reducing the load time to three seconds. Yes, it's that simple.
Not every customer annoyed by a long loading time will leave right away. Many will stick around a bit longer for the site to load. However, a long load time will leave a lasting impression on them. They will think less favorably of your brand. A poor user experience reduces the likelihood that they will complete a purchase.
Eddie Madan, CEO of Edkent Media, says there are many common web design mistakes brands make. Failing to use tools to monitor and improve load times is one of the biggest.
“A poor load time can indefinitely tarnish a customer’s perception of your brand,” says Madan. “The entire web experience needs to be as seamless as possible. A fast loading website is one of the most important variables.”
There are probably a few reasons for this. Customers may have a negative perception of your products as a result of the poor user experience. Similarly, they could assume security problems are getting in the way of a seamless interface. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, a lagging website could mean an even slower shopping cart, hindering their ability to actually make a purchase. Cutting your website load time should help conversions significantly.
Google takes many factors into consideration when ranking your website. They place the most weight on factors like inbound links and content, but website loading times are also a huge factor.
Google first started using website load times as a ranking factor in 2010. Matt Cutts announced they would started penalizing sites with long loading times for mobile users three years later. If your website rankings are suffering, you should try to find ways to get it to load more quickly. That could make a big difference.
Lower PPC Quality Scores
A poor loading time won’t just affect your organic search rankings. However, it can hurt your performance with AdWords and Bing as well, which will make things a lot harder on your business in the long run.
PPC networks use website speeds in their quality scores, so if your site takes too long to load, you may get less PPC traffic volume and have to pay higher CPCs.
If your site doesn’t load quickly enough, Google Analytics, Prosper202 and other tracking platforms may not be able to track your data correctly. This can be one of the biggest downsides of all, because you will be making important marketing decisions based on incomplete or inaccurate data.
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