WHY IS LOAD SPEED IMPORTANT
Your website is undergoing a metamorphosis without you even knowing it. Speed has become king, even over content. Here are some basic facts that can effect your sites performance in 2021.
- 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.
- A 2-second delay in load time resulted in abandonment rates of up to 87%.
- 40 percent of consumers will wait no more than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site
- Google itself aims for under half-a-second load time
- A slow site can negative effect your Google Ranking.
- People would not return to websites that took longer than four seconds to load and formed a “negative perception” of a company with a badly put-together site or would tell their family and friends about their experiences.
- Two thirds of consumers (67%) cite slow loading times as the main reason they would abandon an online purchase.
- 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
STUDIES OF PAGE LOAD TIMES
Human viewers have expectations and no understanding that there is a difference between mobile devices and a wired desktop delivery. As such, sites need to be coded to reflect the difference in potential bandwidth, assuming the lowest common mobile delivery of 3G.
- Page Time Load goes from 1s to 3s : bounce probability increases 32%.
- Page Time Load goes from 1s to 5s : bounce probability increases 90%.
- Page Time Load goes from 1s to 6s : bounce probability increases 106%.
- Page Time Load goes from 1s to 10 : bounce probability increases 123%.
- The average page load time is 3.21s
LOADING VS BOUNCE VS EXIT
When discussing page loading speed vs bounce rates vs exit, the results are very similar, a human viewer leaves a website. The cause is what need to be determined.
- If a person lands on page 1 of your site and hits their browser’s back button to the referring page, that’s a bounce. But is the cause because of content or loading?
- If a person lands on page 1, go to page 2, and then quit their browser or jump to another site, that’s considered an exit. Because they clicked to another page from page 1, that can not be considered a bounce. Neither can page 2 since that’s not the first page the person landed on.
Behavior #1 is what is to be determined. Simplest way to determine is, decrease the load speed to under 3s. If the bounce rate still continues, then you have a content /iUx issue.
HOW TO IMPROVE LOADING SPEED
Loading speed is a mix set of factors.
- Decrease the number of photos and images on a page.
Carousels while visually beautiful, they also require that each image load into memory before the page becomes functional to the viewer. Be careful of the number of images shown.
- If using a CMS, like WordPress, reduce the number of plugins/extensions.
Every plugin/extension installed into your site, will be loaded on every single page of your site. The more plugins, the more to load, the slower the site.
- Upgrade your hosting.
Cheap hosting is cheap because you are sharing your hosting space with thousands of other websites. One server can only respond so fast with thousands of site and thus hundreds of users at the same time. Consider upgrading to a dedicated server, where your site is the only site that responds including a dedicated IP address.
- Make sure your pages reference only local scripts.
- Use only local images.
There is a trend to display images that are located on another domain, such as google drive. That IP/domain address must be resolved and the data transfer completed before your page becomes usable. Further, using other domain images, may cause a warning notice to your viewers as a security risk – it is a classic scam technique. That risk is the same for your site, as the photos can be changed, removed or moved without notice. Loading from a different domain, really does not increase speed as the browser only loads a certain number of assets concurrently no matter where they are coming from and each reference has to be resolved before loading can begin.
- Limit 3rd party external services. If you have a lot of external services, you need to load all of them and wait for information from them on each page load. The more calls you have, the more you wait, the higher the load on your own server and the higher chance you have of bumping into the second issue.
HOW EXTERNAL REFERENCES CAUSE PROBLEMS
External services typically bring with them two problems. One is brought about by sheer volume, the other has to do with waiting until they load.
- If you have a lot of external services, you need to load all of them and wait for information from them on each page load. The more calls you have, the more you wait, the higher the load on your own server and the higher chance you have of bumping into the second issue.
- In some cases, the page load will wait until the data transfer is completed between your site and the external service. If the service is called in the header and there is a service interruption your page will simply refuse to load.
Some of the commonly used 3rd party services are:
- 2 Google AdSense Ads
- Facebook Like box
- Instagram Widget
- Disqus comments
- Facebook conversion tracking pixel
- Google Analytics
Of course, there are things that can be done to speed things up, however in most cases, the sheer volume of websites using those same services, is one of the biggest issues that you will have to deal with when debugging 3rd party performance issues.
CEO & Technical Director of Multimedia Designs, LLC, System Designer, Developer, Producer with 15+ years in the internet design and development space and 25+ years in the Software Development for the entertainment industry. Winner of the prestigious International Themed Entertainment Association award for interactive design. She holds a degree in Computer Engineering & Mathematics from California State University, Long Beach.