When it comes to the page load time of a website, almost everyone understands that it is important, but not how important it is. Before we begin presenting evidence in the form of data and numbers, consider this: if we had to choose between a beautiful website and a fast one (onclick), which would we prefer?
Usually, a website owner would prefer the design over page load time due to taste, the aesthetic side that s/he wants his/her website to reflect, or the belief that it contains what is necessary, and much more.
However, with so many options available, almost everyone has abandoned a slow-loading site. It is also not uncommon for newly launched websites to be extremely slow.
Evidence shows that we are pretty impatient, with many of us not even waiting for 2 seconds for a website to load. Indeed, the more advanced and tech-savvy the user, the more demanding and impatient s/he becomes.
But, how much is this valued? How much does a slow site cost a company?
The answer, while comprehensive, reveals a lot about profitability and website specifications. Let’s look at the main reasons why it’s worthwhile to invest in a fast website.
3 reasons for a fast website
1. Every second counts
The customers judge quickly & harshly. They only have a few seconds of their time to feel comfortable on a website and understand what it is all about. When the website loads fast, it creates a positive first impression on the user (UX). The user recognizes from the start that s/he can find enough information in a short time, implying that s/he is willing to give us time. Psychologically, a fast site is perceived to be safer and more reliable, which contributes significantly to the conversion rate, whereas when the experience is negative, 79 percent of visitors do not return.
2. High website page load times destroy conversion rates, eliminate opportunity costs, and thus revenue
As shown in the graphic above, 40% of users leave the page after waiting for 3 seconds. It means that 40% of the potential customers are missed and therefore the revenue. Finally, how much is it valued for a website with optimized page loading time?
You may better consider it with an example:
Every month we invest €10.000 in advertising to gain 50K more visitors. The website’s conversion rate is about 5%, while with this investing budget, our turnover is €50Κ. A usual loading time is about 4 to 5 seconds, which means that definitely, we lose 40% of users. If the website’s loading time was 2 seconds as users expect, the page’s bounce rate would be significantly reduced, and by investing the same amount the turnover would be up to €70Κ, while yearly up to €240.000.
So, how much does a slow site cost you in the example? Maybe €240.000 or more, if your website is even slower. Google claims that in 5 seconds the probability of bounce increases by 90%.
Even today, page loading times of 5, 6, or 7 seconds are common, and the market’s largest companies are well aware of this.
Amazon discovered in 2012 that for every tenth of a second (100ms) delay in loading time, the cost of its turnover loss was 1%. So, every year for a tenth of a second slower website, the company would lose $ 1 billion, for 1 second $ 10B, for 2 seconds $ 20B per year. Crumbs…
At the same time, Google found that a half-second delay in search result pages reduced the traffic up to 20%.
3. Slow website means lower in Google rankings
While Google claims that speed is not a major factor, it does evaluate time on site and bounce rate as major metrics affected by load time. There isn’t a single slow-loading website in the top search engine results, let alone in competing industries.
The reason is simple. Google wants to provide its users with the most relevant search results possible. It understands best that to make its users happy and keep them coming back for future searches, they must have a positive experience with its suggestions. As a result, slow sites are doomed. The more slowly a website loads, the more doomed it is.
Knowing the benefits of high Google rankings in terms of both website prestige and turnover, it is clear that a website must be fast.
Page load time is not a theory, but it is a critical technical factor whose optimization means more customers, more conversions, and thus more revenue.