Why Website Speed Matters
Does website speed matter? In a world of Amazon Prime, digital downloads and streaming, we as a society are getting used to getting what we want when we want it and quicker than ever before. How we consume news and entertainment and interact with businesses is no different, so website speed matters more now than ever before.
Some cold hard facts about website loading times:
- Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional load time (between seconds 0-5). (Portent, 2019)
- Nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer. (Unbounce, 2019)
- The highest eCommerce conversion rates occur on pages with load times between 0-2 seconds. (Portent, 2019)
- Half of the people surveyed said they would be willing to give up animation and video for faster load times. (Unbounce, 2019)
- 73% of mobile internet users say that they have encountered a website that is too slow to load. (Fiverr)
- 40% abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. (KissMetrics)
With those facts in mind, we will dig into website speed and why it matters a bit more in this blog post, along with some hints and tips on improving your website speed.
Why Does Website Speed Matter?
If the figures and stats above were not enough to convince you that website speed is essential, then let us dig deeper into it! Website speed can affect all areas of your website experience and how it performs for your business online, including:
- User experience
- Conversion rates
However, the most crucial benefit of having a fast website is that users demand it. The information super highway is so-called as it is packed with information that can be accessed quickly, with emphasis on the quickly! If your website is slow and cumbersome, users will hit the back button and visit another website! They do not want to wait for your fancy graphics to load or your expensive banner videos; they like what they came for quickly!
What Can Affect Website Speed?
Many things can affect your website, and some are out of your control, such as the viewer’s internet connection speed. However, many issues that can cause a website to load slowly are within your control, and we will explore some of these below.
Poor Quality Hosting
Quality hosting does not come cheap, and small business owners often opt for cheap hosting to keep operating costs down. This can affect their website performance as cheap website hosting is unlikely to provide the performance benefits that quality hosting can provide for their site. The easiest way to think about it is to think of it like an engine for a supercar; there is a reason supercars can go quick, and it is not because they have an Austin Allegro engine in them!
Getting the right hosting for your website can make all the difference, and that is not to say bigger is better, as this is not always the case, but paying £1 month or even a year, as we have seen with some clients, is equally not going to provide the server your website needs.
Imagery, Animations & Video
From incorrectly formatted images to loading 10s of megabytes of animation, it can all affect your site loading times. This primarily affects mobile device users of your website, which in some cases can be as much as 85% of your users! Some best practices for making improvements in this area are:
- Correctly size all images
- Use high-quality, low-file-size formats like WebP
- Avoid video hero banners where possible
- Reduce the use of animations and moving objects
These optimisations should be done before anything is loaded to your website for the best results. If you have a WordPress website, some plugins can help, but they can only do so much, and the best results are when they are done before you upload them.
This is more of an issue regarding WordPress websites that use specific themes with a “kitchen sink” approach to what they have as part of their core theme files – as in they bring everything but the kitchen sink with them! It can also be caused by old files being updated or replaced and old versions not being removed. These all impact loading times from both a page size and a browser filtering what is required and what is not. Removing files that are not needed or using an optimisation setup via a plugin or CDN setup can help reduce these files’ impact.
How Can I Measure My Website’s Speed?
You can use various tools to measure website speed, some better than others and some that will provide you with much more in-depth information. The best ones, however, use Real User Data or RUM for short. We will list a few tools we use below.
Important: Website speed testing tools can tell you if your website is loading in line with industry recommendations, but no tool can reproduce accurate user data. It is important to remember that the testing environment data can significantly differ from natural website loading times and should only be used as a guide.
Google’s speed testing tool offers insights into how quickly your website loads on desktop and mobile devices. If your website has real user data on Core Web Vitals, it will also show as part of this test.
GTMertix can offer a deep insight into your website loading times and mimic different devices. It also has an in-depth waterfall report showing which parts of your website are causing loading time issues.
A favourite of the E2E team as it monitors actual Real User Data from real-time users and offers insights into how the website is loading. The data from real users is much more insightful and valuable than any testing tool can offer, as it will show data from all users, devices, locations and more!
10 Quick Fire Tips for a Quick Website Speed
- Quality location-based hosting
- Use a Content Delivery Network
- Use a quality cache system
- Optimise images and media
- Remove unused files and coding
- Choose your WP theme carefully
- Try not to use too many WP plugins
- Reduce the number of HTTP requests
- Avoid redirects where possible
How Can E2E Studios Help?
E2E Studios are a small team of dedicated experts in their field, and we focus on what we do best: designing, developing, marketing and hosting first-class websites that our clients need to get ahead online. We create and host websites using the solid foundations they need to perform well online using speed optimisation techniques that go above and beyond what most agencies offer. If you need help speeding your website up or some advice on hosting it to get the most out of your online presence, get in touch today!