Frank Garnett
Frank Garnett 4 January 2021

How Slow Website Performance Affects Conversion Rates

This article is about slow websites and how loading speeds can affect conversion rates. Then we are going to take a look at the ideal loading speed that will increase your chances of getting conversions. And finally, we’ll show you how to get to that speed.

You might ask yourself if website performance matters. Well, the answer is yes, it matters a lot. You see, the load speed of your site has a major impact on conversion rates. But how, exactly? Well, we are going to answer that question today. Let’s look at how slow website performance affects conversion rates.

1. It Causes Website Abandonment 

A study conducted by Google, has shown that 53% of users will abandon a website page if it hasn’t loaded within three seconds.

The number of users that leave the page also increases exponentially with each extra second of loading time. For example, by going from a load time of one second to a website that takes six seconds, the abandonment rate will increase by 106%. After passing the 10-second mark, the probabilty of bounce increases by 123%.

2. It Directly Affects Your Sales 

Let’s say that you’ve still managed to get a few visitors to convert, despite the slow speed of your website. 

But even if you manage to convert them, a slow website equals a poor user experience. And with that, chances are that your customer won’t be a repeat one. For ecommerce websites, that can be devastating.

Online stores rely on returning visitors. In fact, they represent almost 50% of all transactions. If your customers aren’t returning for additional purchases, you could be missing out on half of your sales.

Walmart conducted an interesting study on how conversion rates can be affected by loading times. They found out that conversions are increased by 2% with each second of load speed improvement. 

3. It Impacts SEO 

Curiously enough, slow website performance also affects SEO. How? Well, Google considers mobile page speed when ranking. A faster mobile site speed means that you will rank higher in search results. 

Just over half of worldwide traffic is generated through mobile devices, 50.81% as of the third quarter of this year. So, by having a slow page speed, you will miss out on a lot of traffic. 

And less traffic means fewer conversion rates. 

How Fast Should a Website Load? 

Now that we’ve talked about how a slow website can suffer from a decrease in conversion rates, the question is, how fast should your website actually be? 

Well, the average time a mobile landing page takes to fully load is around the area of twenty seconds. 

Google actually recommends that your page should load in five seconds or less, on a 3G network.

Remember what we mentioned earlier: 53% of users abandon a site if it hasn’t loaded in three seconds. 

This means that you could lose half of your audience if your website is not fast enough. Your goal should be to aim for the under the three-second mark. That’s when most conversions take place.

How Can You Improve Site Speed? 

We previously mentioned that most mobile landing pages take around twenty seconds to load.

But why is that? Well, most websites are bigger than they need to be. They have pages and pages packed with large images, for example. According to Mach Metrics, the average size of a website is 1.88MB. That’s way higher than recommended size of under 500KB.

So how can you make your site load faster? 

1. Reduce Image Size 

If the images throughout your website are too large, they can really drag down the loading speed. 

However, images are a very important component of a website, especially for ecommerce sites. Hence, getting completely rid of them is not an option. 

That’s why reducing their size could be your go-to method. For example, resizing 22MB worth of images down to 300KB can reduce the amount of time a user needs to wait before they can interact with your website by 70%. 

Now, the easiest way to do this is by cropping your images to the correct size. For instance, if you want an image to appear as say, 500 pixels wide, resize it to that width. 

You shouldn’t upload an image that is a thousand pixels wide then bring it down to the size you want with width parameters. By doing so, your page will need to load the full image first, only then it will adjust it to the correct size. And that only leads to slowing your page down. 

2. Enable Browser Caching 

Another thing that may cause your website to be slow, is that you may have not enabled browser caching. When someone visits a website for the first time, their device will have to download the HTML documents, JavaScript files, images, etc. 

That may take up to 2.4 seconds. If browser caching is disabled, the user will have to download all of these things each and every time they visit your website.

By enabling browser caching, you can bring down the loading times for returning users.

3. Evaluate Plugins 

Plugins can add more functionality to your website. But the more plugins you have, the longer it will take for your website to load. Outdated plugins can slow down performance even more. 

Decide which plugins you need, and which ones you don’t, then adjust your site.

Final Words 

All in all, the performance of a website can really have an effect on conversion rates. 

An additional factor that can influence conversion rates include is poor web design. In which case, you might want to consult with Digital Silk, a web design company in Florida.

Keep in that website abandonment, sales and SEO can be negatively impacted by a slow website, which in return, brings down your conversion rates. 

The recommended load speed should be around three seconds since that’s where you’ll have the best chances of creating a conversion. In order to get to that speed, remember to reduce the image size, evaluate your plugins and enable browser caching. 

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