Website speed, or website performance, refers to how quickly a browser is able to load fully functional webpages from a given site. Poorly performing sites that render slowly in a browser can drive users away. Conversely, sites that load quickly will typically receive more traffic and have better conversion rates.
How fast a website loads is instrumental to anyone visiting the site. According to research, 47% of people don’t wait for more than two seconds for a web page to load.
Reasons Why Website Speed Matters
Multiple studies have demonstrated that site speed affects conversion rate (or, the rate at which users complete a desired action). Not only do more users stay on fast-loading sites, they also convert at higher rates compared to slower sites. A number of companies have found that a decrease in page load time of a few milliseconds increases conversions:
- Mobify found that decreasing their homepage’s load time by 100 milliseconds resulted in a 1.11% uptick in session-based conversion
- Retailer AutoAnything experienced a 12-13% increase in sales after cutting page load time in half
- Walmart discovered that improving page load time by one second increased conversions by 2%
As a result, improving site performance is a huge part of conversion rate optimization.
The bounce rate is the percentage of users who leave a website after viewing only one page. Users are likely to close the window or click away if a page does not load within a few seconds. BBC discovered that they lost 10% of their total users for every additional second it took for their pages to load.
SEO best practices:
Because Google tends to prioritize getting relevant information to users as quickly as possible, site performance is an important factor in Google search rankings. A site’s performance on mobile devices is especially important for SEO.
Long page load times, and poor response times to user actions, create a bad user experience. Waiting for content to load becomes frustrating for users and may provoke them into leaving the site or application altogether.