The Impact of a Slow Website

Often I engage with clients and they have strong views on the design of the website, and wanting to put content that slows the website for little to no real value. Slow Websites have real negative impacts that have been researched and recorded. This is a basic outline for my clients.

Short Story

  1. Your website should fully load in under 3 seconds
  2. Google Ranking, User Experience, Bounce Rate (users just leaving without interaction) are all negatively affected by a slow wesbite
  3. Ensure website has little HTTP request, and not big in size

Slow Website

Example of a slow website:
– Loads in 3 seconds from Canada, but users are global so will be slower elsewhere
– Page size is rather large, ideally 200-300KB so 10% of that.
– Numerous http request, little as possible

Fast Website

Long Story

According to 2018 research by Google, 53% of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. This is a problem since the same research revealed the average mobile site takes 15 seconds to load.

Source: Think with Google

Including the following

  • Deteriorating user experience
  • Increase in bounce rate
  • Fall in search engine ranking
  • Loss of traffic
  • Impact on revenue collection

The research finds 88 percent of internet users choose online retailers delivering high-performance and user-friendly website experience, and almost 50 percent abandon websites that fail to load within 3 seconds.

Source: Kiss Metrics

My approach is to take the furthest geographic point from your server and majority of your audience, and get it to load in under 3 seconds. Naturally, it should load quicker for them.

Causes of Slow Websites

  • Poor Server Performance – cheap/low quality hosting and/or server configuration
  • Server Location – e.g. your server is far from the majority of your users
  • Traffic – lots of users means more the server
  • Large and non-optimized images
  • Too many plugins – as I like to say… More code (plugins), more problems leads to poor performance

Obama’s fundraising campaign during the 2011 Presidential Elections raised an additional $34 million when the Obama for America website shrunk page load time from 5 seconds to 2 seconds – that’s 14 percent increase in donation conversion with mere 3 seconds of website performance improvement!

  • Using Text to Display Graphics – every image is a extra request, less requests the better
  • Too many file requests
  • Unnecessary redirects
  • Out-dated Plugins/CMS

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