The Need for Speed: Why Page Load Speed Impacts Purchase Decisions
Website performance has a direct impact on customer experience. And one of the key parameters to rate website performance is page load speed.
Consumers today form an opinion of your business based on your website and how quickly it loads. Not only do users expect to see results quickly, they become disappointed when they don’t. Users perceive a slow website as a reflection of how your business is run, and more than 40% of visitors who have a bad experience feel compelled to talk about their experience.
Page load time is one of the most critical ingredients for a good user experience and potentially a make or break factor for a website’s success. Recent studies have shown that fast page speed results in a better conversion rate. In simple words, the faster a webpage loads, the higher the chances of a user performing the targeted action on that webpage. The converse is equally true.
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Below are some recent statistics that further validate the importance of page load speed:
- A one-second delay in page loading leads to an 11% drop in page views, a 7% drop in conversions and a 16% drop in customer satisfaction.
- The BBC recently discovered they lost an additional 10% of users for every additional second their website took to load.
- Pinterest grew its search engine traffic and sign-ups by 15% by reducing wait times by 40%.
- COOK increased conversions by 7%, decreased bounce rates by 7%, and increased pages per session by 10% by reducing the average page load time by 850 milliseconds.
The growing use of mobile
It’s no surprise that more traffic than ever before is coming to websites from mobile devices, surpassing desktop searches. Here are some mobile stats:
- According to KISSmetrics, 18% of mobile users will abandon a website if it takes more than 5 seconds to load. If it takes more than 10 seconds, the abandonment grows to 30%.
- 58% of all mobile customers expect sites to render as quickly as their home computers though they are in different networks.
- 64% of all smartphone users anticipate pages to load in under 4 seconds.
- 74% of people will leave a mobile website which requires over 5 seconds to load.
- 61% of consumers will abandon a mobile site if they don’t find what they’re looking for right away.
How to test page load speed
Regular audits of web site performance & speed are always the best practice to catch the bottlenecks and improve the customers’ experience.
Page performance depends on many factors including server location, connection speed, and the brand of browser.
There are several tools and browser add-ons that can help in measuring page speed and performance. These tools run on their predefined algorithms and provide detailed reports for poor performance and the likely reasons behind it. They also provide suggestions to improve page performance.
The following are some of the tools that can help in monitoring and analyzing the page speed and performance:
Tools: Google PageSpeed Insights, Google Lighthouse, WebPageTest, GTmetrix, Pingdom, Dareboost&MAXCDN tools and many more.
Add-ons: Page Load Time, Analyze Page Performance.
The following data points play a major role in finding possible optimization during a webpage speed audit:
- Time taken to First Byte (TTFB).
- Performance of CDN (Content Delivery Network).
- Website performance across different geo locations.
- Webpage rendering speed in different browsers.
- Page load times, size and total number of requests.
- Finding large images/videos resulting in bottlenecks.
- Possibility of web page caching for static content.
- Duplicate scripts and 404 Not found pages.
- Scripts that have a potential for Minification.
- Unused scripts in the code/DOM.
- Scripts, fonts and plugins that are causing load time issues.
- Gzip components.
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Customer attention spans are at an all-time low and purchase decisions are being impacted by millisecond delays. Pages that don’t load immediately mean that the customer will discard their purchase journey and switch to a different website.
Quality engineers need to ensure that regular tests are conducted, and all stakeholders are apprised of the shortcomings periodically. Implementations of the recommendations early in the cycle can help in taking a right approach for optimizations. Front end optimization can seem like an intimidating endeavor, but you can greatly improve the loading speed of your website by applying the techniques and best practices. The faster your website loads the better user experience your visitors will have. Improving page loading speed is a tangible way to enhance the user experience for businesses. It is easy to check pages and make minor tweaks to coding, server config, or optimization features to see a significant improvement in loading time.
- Google: 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load.
- How the BBC builds websites that scale.
- Driving user growth with performance improvements.
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