No one likes to be kept waiting, do they? It is, therefore, common sense that your website should be fast. Knowing why speed is so critical will help you understand why site speed optimisation should be at the top of your priority list.
How long can you keep a visitor waiting? Well, 57% of online consumers will abandon a site after waiting 3 seconds for a page to load; 80% of these will never return to your website! That makes pretty daunting reading, doesn’t it? You have less than 3 seconds to load your website, grab that visitor’s attention and engage them. If that’s not scary enough, if your target market is aged 18-24, then you have 2 seconds or less before 65% will abandon your website!
We’ve all got fibre-optic or superfast broadband and 4G, so page weight isn’t really an issue anymore, is it?
Unfortunately, yes it is; certainly if you want to be found on Google. Sure, there are other search engines, but let’s be honest here: it’s how well you perform on Google which could make or break you.
Google has added page-speed to its ranking algorithm, and it is basing page-speed on real-world scores. What do we mean by that? Well, in reality, not everyone has fibre-optic broadband or 4G…some users still have dial-up and 3G, or less. That 500kb page on your website that was super-quick to load on your blisteringly fast connection, won’t be so nifty on dial-up!
Google takes an overall view of the world and determines, on average, how long your website will take to load across a variety of connection speeds. So, what appears fast to you, won’t necessarily be considered fast by Google.
Google feels the need for speed…mobile speed!
Today, with the rise in smartphone and tablet usage to access the internet, a responsive website is more important than ever. Your website should behave differently on mobile devices: the images will be re-sized depending on the device; some page elements that look good on desktop may be omitted for mobile devices. It stands to reason that the mobile website experience you deliver should be different to the desktop version.
Google used to base its speed rankings on your desktop website pages. However, this has now all changed. Google has both desktop rankings and mobile rankings, but it is moving towards solely mobile-dependent results when it comes to page speed. This is a logical step when you consider a higher percentage of people now access the internet on mobile devices than on desktop.
Page speed isn’t an afterthought
Page speed is now more important then ever if you want to rank well on Google. We keep this in mind when designing and building our websites from the very start. Mobile is no longer an afterthought!
We utilise a range of tools to measure speed: GTMetrix, Pingdom, YSlow, Google PageSpeed Insights and more. What may appear fast to the naked eye, isn’t necessarily fast in Google’s eyes. These tools allow us to see what’s happening in mili-seconds; which, in turn, means we can fix any problems that are slowing your website down.
There are multiple ways to improve page speed (but naturally we won’t give away all our secrets here!). We understand how important it is, so we create websites with high speed as a priority from the start. With experience comes knowledge, and because we know many of the common causes of slow page speeds, we can avoid them from the start.
It’s an oxymoron isn’t it – developments in technology have seen huge leaps in bandwidth, the devices can process data faster, and yet speed is now more critical than ever. We believe your website’s speed should be at the top of your priority list; ignore it at your peril!