Why Website Speed Matters

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Users demand fast websites. This is a fact we’ve heard about for a number of years, but 70% of the mobile landing pages take more than five seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it take more than seven seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold.  according to a study from Google.

Knowing you need a faster web experience is one thing. Knowing how to make it faster could literally change your business. In this video, I’ll share why website speed matters and what you can do about it!

Video Transcript:

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We’re going to be talking today about website speed. We’re going to be talking about why it matters and then we’re going to go into a little bit of what you can do about it as a website admin or a small business owner who runs your own website.

First, let’s talk about why it matters. The first thing is that Google is going mobile and you may be thinking, “Well, what does this have to do with speed?” It has a lot to do with speed. Mobile index has been rolling out and it’s rolling out more broadly so more and more sites  are being indexed mobile first, which means Google is looking at how your site appears and performs on mobile first and then they also take into account the desktop version of your site because that’s also still very important.

Now, this means that you need to have a mobile friendly site. It means that your content needs to be able to be accessed and interactive with a mobile device. It also means that you need to have a fast loading site because it’s going to help people on mobile devices to connect with your site, to connect with your content and it needs to perform well, not just on wifi or a static internet connection, but also on a mobile internet connection.

Now the algorithm does look into speed. It also looks into how your site is being engaged with mobilely. Is it easy to work with? Is it friendly? Is it fast because if it’s not able to be interactive, it’s not easy for a user, it’s going to be less relevant in the eyes of the algorithm and if you can’t connect with it, if you can’t use it, then why would Google assume that it’s good content or that it’s a good website? Why should they display it and allow that site to earn some rankings.

You can read a lot more just by checking out the website master’s blog on Google. We have a link right there below too. https://webmasters.googleblog.com/

How does the world connect. We’ve got 3.7 billion mobile users worldwide and now mobile devices are more than half of all website traffic. Now this is up an astronomical amount since 2009. We looked back 10 years and we see that not even a full % of people were accessing the web on a mobile device, but today, more than half of all internet users, more than all web traffic is coming from a mobile device and again, we have to think about how these mobile devices are connected.

Now this is the expansion of 4G coverage. We’ve seen more and more of this coming out across the web, but it doesn’t mean that everybody in the world has access to 4G, but it does show that as you can see, speeds are starting to get a lot faster, especially here in Northern Europe, a lot over here in Asia, even in most parts of the United States, but there are still some people who have much slower speeds, much slower connection speeds. They may not be fully 4G. They may not always be on 4G. Even though everybody is talking about 5G and all these other types of connections, the reality is that not everyone in the world has access to extremely fast internet.

So, let’s talk a little bit more about speed. This comes from an article by Google and it’s talking about understanding speed and especially mobile and the reason we are focusing on mobile is that now mobile is more than half of the Internet’s traffic. This doesn’t mean that your desktop doesn’t matter. It still matters a lot, but at the same time, mobile is something that you need to be putting an emphasis on.

This is what Google had to say since they look into mobile page load time last year, the average time it takes for a mobile landing page to load fully just dropped seven seconds, which sounds great but the bad news is that it still takes on average about 15 seconds for a page to fully load. If you consider that 53% of mobile sites, they leave the page after it takes longer than three seconds, that’s telling you that a majority of websites are getting a lot of bounces because if a website is taking 15 seconds to load, we’re impatient. What do we do? We leave and the average is 15 seconds, but most users will leave within three seconds. There is a huge gap there and while it’s getting better, it’s dropped by seven seconds, it’s no where near what a user expects.

Their data also shows that more than half of web traffic comes from mobile. Mobile conversion rates are much lower than desktop rates. Speed equals revenue. A lot of sites are much faster on the desktop side of things, so their conversion rates are much higher and a lot of time desktop sites are easier to use, but because the user experience and the speed has been so poor on mobile devices, it’s dropped the conversion rates and even as traffic now is coming on 4G instead of 3G, a majority of mobile sites are still slow and they have too many elements and they are extremely bloated.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t have really good looking sites, it just means that some sites are way over designed and they too much going on, especially on the JavaScript side, that it’s really weighing them down and if you can remove some of those things that really aren’t essential, it speeds sites up, you might actually see some pretty awesome results and this is why you should really start thinking about site speed.

When a page load time goes from one second to three seconds, the probability of a bounce increases 32%. That means if your site was at one second and moves up to three seconds, now you have a 32% higher chance of somebody leaving. When it goes from one second to five seconds, the probability of it bouncing increases is now up to 90% so once it goes past that three seconds, it’s going up astronomically. When it goes to six seconds, 106%. When it goes to 10 seconds, again we’re talking at 123% increase, the probability of them leaving your website. Speed plays a huge role on whether or not the user is going to engage with your site and engage with your business.

You might be thinking how should I get started?  Google had a tool called Page Speed. Now Page Speed is built into a tool called Lighthouse and you can learn about it from https://developers.google.com/web/tools/lighthouse/ . You can also just Google Lighthouse Chrome. It’s a Chrome extension and what it allows you to do is perform a very detailed audit on your website. Once it comes up you just hit the perform the audit button and there it goes.

It also comes up in the web tools. As you see here you’ve got elements, console, sources and then audits. It will do that as well and it’s going to give you some very awesome insights on how you can begin to improve the speed of your website.

Where should you begin? Well, the first contentful page, the FCP, this measures when a user sees a visual response from a page. If somebody sees your site loading, they are going to stay there and engage quicker. This needs to be really meaningful content, the stuff like people, words coming up on the screen, right?

The second part of that is first meaningful paint, so this is looking at the response visually from a site and then meaningful paint is also important. This is where it’s going to say, “Is there a header test,” or something coming in where a user knows where they are at. This is an area you really need to focus on speeding up because the faster this is, the more likely that a user will engage with your site.

The time to interact is how long it takes for your page to be fully engaging or interactive. As we saw on that previously, most sites are about 15 seconds. The one that we tested here is at 11.3 seconds, which is a little bit better, but again, it’s still not fully active and fully engaging for a user within that three seconds, which means this site needs to have some work done on it to be faster and more user friendly, so these are areas you really want to focus on because this is what’s going to grab somebody’s attention and make sure that they stay.

What do we look at? We want to look at things like render blocking resources and your images and then deferring the non-priority scripts on your site. Now as you see, on this site, one of the areas that you could easily speed up is going to be serving next gen formats. Serving the images where they are supposed to fit by prioritizing by device, so maybe a desktop or a mobile size and using different types of web formats in order to make sure that they are being served most efficiently as possible.

Also making sure that they are the right sizes. Making sure that you don’t have these really large, bloated images that don’t need to be there, so right here, this site can do a lot just from some image optimization can speed up the site.

Now we also want to look at CSS. Maybe you’re not using some code. Maybe you just have extra code in your site that doesn’t need to be there. Well, you can remove those things and speed them up. You can also defer CSS or deferring JavaScript that is non essential to the page. Now a lot of people put these in and they use what’s called asynchronous tag which tells it to kind of push this code down and don’t load it until the more meaningful stuff loads. The reality is a lot of browsers, the way they interact with the asynchronous code is they are still loading it and behind the scenes they are just slowing your page down. If you defer it, you can place it lower in the page and defer it, it’s actually going to have those non-essential JavaScript elements and CSS elements to load later in the page and this will speed it up astronomically.

It may sound a little hard to do, but it’s actually not bad. It’s just placing the async out with defer. Make sure you are testing all this stuff. Obviously you don’t want your website to break and if you have any of the essential JavaScript, then obviously you want that to load appropriately. Now again, you don’t want to just settle for average. If you go and your website is loading in that one second and now it’s loading at three seconds, your increase to 3.2%. The site is loading at five seconds, the probability increase to 90. This speed kind of example here of what happens when your page takes longer to load, should make every web master, every website owner, start to say, “I need to take this more seriously.”

At the end of the day, your website is your digital front door. If you want people to engage with your business, you need to have a fast loading website. If you’ve got any questions, please comment below. We would love to continue the conversation with you and until next time, Happy Marketing.

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