Website Speed And Conversions

We’ve been saying that site speed is important for optimisation for some time already. In fact, about a year ago, we wrote an article on this very topic. But now it turns out that not only is website speed important for optimisation, but it’s even more important for conversions too.

(You can read about website speed and optimisation by following the link.)

And now, thanks to a very interesting study carried out by Strangeloop, you can find out why it affects your conversion rate too.

The Difference Between Optimisation & Conversion

Search engine optimisation is the art of getting your website to rank higher on Google in the natural, or organic, search engine results. In other words, the results that aren’t adverts. These are the sites you see when you search for something in Google, and the higher your site ranks, the more likely you are to have people clicking on it.

But say that your site ranks well. You’ve paid attention to all the guidelines, your site complies with Google’s standards, and it’s up there in the top 3 positions when people search for the keyword that’s related to your business.

So you get the visitor. But now the visitor is on your site. Is that all you want? Of course not. Now that the visitor has arrived on your site, the next challenge is to convert him.

What Are Website Conversions?

Depending on your business, a conversion could mean any one of a few different things. Or all of them.

If somebody arrives on your site and fills out your contact form, then that’s a conversion. If they place an order, ask for a quote, or even just sign up for your newsletter, that can be a conversion.

Essentially, it’s about convincing your visitors to perform some sort of action that puts them in contact with you, one way or another. As soon as you have their contact details, they’re no longer a visitor, they’re a prospective lead.

Speed & Conversions

We already know that Google gives a weighting to websites that load faster in their search engine results. What we strongly suspected, but didn’t have any proof for in the past, was that the speed of your website is a big factor where users are concerned as well.

Thanks to the study carried out by Strangeloop, we’ve now got some statistics to back up the concept though.

How Website Speed Affects Conversions

Here’s a summary of their findings:

Page Delays

A 1 second delay in loading your page means:

* 7% Fewer Conversions
* 11% Fewer Page Views
* 16% Lower Visitor Satisfaction

Slow Websites

* 57% of online consumers will abandon a website if they wait more than 3 seconds for a page to start loading.
* 80% of the people who leave because of speed never come back.
* Of that 80%, almost half will tell other people about their problems with a particular site.

Why Are Websites Slow?

Well, the good people at Strangeloop have answered this one as well. Way back when the internet first started getting popular, in the mid ’90’s, websites had an average size of 14kb, and only 2.3 objects. (Yes, you can’t have .3 of an object…it’s an average.)

By the time 2010 rolled around, they were an average of 498kb, with an average of 75 objects.

Over those 15 years, the average size of websites has increased around 35 fold. That’s a big increase. So, while our connections are faster now, websites are taking advantage of the fact to become correspondingly more complicated, which in turn slows things down.

How Fast Is Your Web Page?

For suggestions on speeding up your page, check out Google’s own Page Speed Online utility, that makes suggestions for ways to speed up your site.

Increase Page Speed, Increase Conversions

For a final word from the work we’ve cited above, every fraction of time counts. According to the study, Amazon, one of the biggest online sales portals, has increased its turnover by 1%, for every 100 milliseconds that they’ve shaved off their page load time.

Still think it doesn’t matter if your site doesn’t load fast? I didn’t think so.