Lightning-fast page loading speeds or page load times are a fail-safe way to reduce bounce rates, increase conversions rates and deliver a first-class user experience. A snappy website can do a lot for your business. Yet, we’ve found that the importance of page loading speeds is still overlooked by far too many business owners. Here’s why you should care about loading times, how your website’s loading speed really affects your marketing efforts and how to undertake a speed test and boost your website’s performance, both on desktop and mobile phones.
What is Page Load Speed (PLS)?
Page load speed refers to the average amount of time a web page takes to fully load, with faster page load speeds being desirable as it improves the user experience. It's calculated from when a user clicks on a link or types in a URL to when the page is fully loaded in the browser - including images, videos etc.
Why Does Your Page Load Speed Matter?
Time is money, money is time. We all know the age-old saying. But who would have thought that the precious commodity matters on the worldwide web, too? Surely we can agree that a website that is pretty and fast, is quite neat. But, as it turns out, loading speed is not just a matter of preference. It can make or break a business, particularly if it heavily relies on online sales or bookings. Check out the following statistics:
- 70 percent of consumers say page speed impacts their willingness to buy
- 1 in 4 visitors abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load
- 46 percent of users don’t come back to websites that perform poorly
- E-commerce sites with the highest conversion rates fully load in under 2 seconds
- Conversion rates of a website drop by 5% with each additional second of loading time
You can see here, this has a significant impact on user experience and satisfaction. But let’s take a closer look at why exactly page loading times have such a tremendous impact on your marketing efforts.
- PLS is a huge ranking factor for Google
Firstly, search engines favour websites with faster loading speed these days. It’s a simple fact no one can argue with. Google themselves confirmed it in 2018 when they made page speed a crucial ranking factor for mobile searches. This means Google uses your page loading times to determine how highly your website ranks on its search engine. And high rankings are crucial for driving traffic to your website in the first place.
- Conversions, conversions, conversions
Increasing conversions is the ultimate goal of every business website. But there are no conversions without people sticking around to make a purchase, enquiry or booking. Unfortunately (or luckily), having fast loading landing pages can directly impact this. Page loading speed is a deciding factor in purchasing decisions. In fact, the vast majority of internet users say that page load times directly affect their interest to buy.And whilst desktop loading times are normally faster than on mobile, we need to pay closer attention to improving mobile experiences. These days, everyone is always on the go. People are using their phones to make dinner reservations, book a holiday or purchase whatever item they’ve been eyeing on Instagram or Twitter for the past weeks. So, ignoring mobile when talking about the importance of page loading speeds would obviously be a grave mistake.
Why Is Mobile Page Speed So Important?
Google put a huge focus on mobile-first indexing. This means a website’s performance on mobile phones is more important to them than the performance on desktops. As page loading times are one of the determining factors, it is particularly important to optimise for fast mobile page speeds.In reality, most mobile experiences, however, can’t keep up with the desktop versions of websites. Oftentimes, mobile page loading times far exceed their counterparts. Due to the on-the-go nature of mobile devices, and our never-ending need for quick results, slow websites cause a great deal of frustration.
All too often, mobile users ‘bounce’ and leave a website after viewing only one page. If this happens to you, you’re losing out on a large number of potential customers. Since bounce rates are another important search engine ranking factor, it can also cause your search results ranking to suffer.Average page sizes have been increasing since 2011. Websites now send more data than ever before. As a result, sites that haven’t been optimised for mobile experiences, see their loading times go up. These days, even a 3-second increase can cut conversion rates in half and greatly increase bounce rates.
What is the Ideal Page Loading Speed?
Backlinko assessed over five million pages and found that the average loading time for a web page is currently at 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27.3 seconds on mobile. BUT - you knew there would be a ‘but’, didn’t you? - Google’s recommended page loading time is under two seconds and that’s what you should really aim for.
Here is how you can check your page loading speed!
If you want to quickly check where your website stands, we recommend the following three, free-to-use tools:
- PageSpeed Insights: Indicates how well your page performs and suggests optimisations
- Chrome User Experience Report: A public dataset of UX metrics for popular websites
- Lighthouse: A great tool for auditing performance, accessibility, and more of web pages
What are the factors that affect your page load speeds?
Your page loading speed can depend on a number of factors. Some examples include your web hosting and server types, the code and databases your website uses, choice of design elements, the number and size of images, videos and files on each page, browser versions, user behaviour etc. But we’ll take a deep dive into this topic in a separate article.
Wrapping it up
You now know what Page Loading Speed can have such a big impact on your marketing efforts. Here are some of the key points we’ve discussed:
- Page load speed refers to the average amount of time it takes a page to fully load on the screen.
- It is particularly important to optimise for fast mobile pages since Google puts a huge focus on mobile-first indexing.
- Page load speeds have a significant impact on user experience and satisfaction and with that, website conversions.
- The recommended page loading time is less than two seconds.
- You can check your website’s loading time via PageSpeed Insights, a free tool provided by Google.
Over to you! Your next steps are simple: Measure, optimise, monitor and repeat. And get help from the search engine optimisation and web design and development experts at Anchor Digital. For questions and inquiries, contact our team at 07 3036 0994.