Do page speeds matter? The answer is yes – absolutely yes.
Web page download speeds are as important as ever – I know it’s basic, but it is still absolutely critical. I used two popular speed checker tools and a couple of mobile tools to compare the top 20 dealer websites. Some sites were good, and some were frankly insane. I found a lot of evidence of Bloaty McBloat-Face out there. Speed does have a direct relationship with conversion and revenue, so it pays to improve what you have.
Speed is vital
I won’t name names but let me give you some insights. Any improvements you make will result in your customers and the search engines loving you even more. Your customers have a need for speed. Nearly half expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less. 40% of customers will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load my mother certainly does! Just a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversion. My expert developer advisor Julian Perry at Limitless said that all sites should aim to download the base page in less than half a second or they will be losing customers (he is an automotive expert by the way, and has been running big websites for 20 years). So, listen to the expert and aim for less than half a second.
Check for the bloat – reduce it, or remove it
Page bloat is what slows things down. Run one of the download speed tests and see how many requests are being made to the server to load the page. 100 to 150 is ok but many sites have 300 and more. While the number is important the size of each file really counts. Take a look at all the things using the juice and see if they really are absolutely necessary. Can they be made any lighter? Is there a light version, or can it be removed altogether? I have seen a site with a page of 12 MB that included a ton of social media content amongst other things.
Make a plan – run proper tests
Don’t just load your site and count the seconds – that’s not a proper test.
I did my tests on a Monday morning when the web traffic was probably lighter. I would worry less about making comparisons and just focus on your site. Set up a programme of regular tests and make sure you check what is really happening when most of your customers are online. If 7-9pm is when you see the most traffic that’s when you should run the tests. Also, use the advanced settings on the test so you get a real picture. It is so easy to get misled and assume things are ok.
With more mobile searches than desktop, you must focus on your mobile download times. There is an interesting google tool that reports what percentage of visitors are being lost due to the poor download time. https://testmysite.withgoogle.com I saw losses of 10% to over 30%. While I would take this information with a pinch of salt it does hammer home the need for speed. At the very least your mobile site should be optimised for download speed. Smartphone users expect a page to load in under
4 seconds but the average is currently much more.
Run some tests to see what is really happening with your website and set about making improvements. Optimise, by cutting out elements and cut down the page sizes. Constantly monitor your performance and always look to improve it. Your customers will love you more if you do, and so will google.
Here are some tests for you: Webpagetest is great, but you may like to use others. Don’t just think your site is ok or let your developers tell you it’s not a priority. I can put you in contact with Julian if you want some extra help.
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Categorised in: Blog
This post was written by Stevie Chippington