Why your page load speed matters

Some statistics and data to demonstrate why it is important to get your website loading as quickly as possible.

Posted on 23 August 2016 - Hosting
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We’ve been discussing the importance of page load speed on this blog in recent weeks. That has mainly taken the form of advice on how to make your website faster. In this article, we are going to take a step back to reestablish just why it is so important that your website loads quickly.

The importance of page load has been on the agenda for several years now. A study by Akamai in 2009 found the 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds of less.

And it’s not just a case of annoying customers by not adequately meeting their expectations; there can also be a very tangible effect on your bottom line. Research by the Aberdeen Group found that a 1-second delay in page response can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions. For an ecommerce website making £10,000-a-day, that equates to £250,000 in lost sales every year.

The stats keep coming thick and fast. Econsultancy’s Internet Statistics Compendium found that 38% of UK online shoppers will abandon a website or app if it takes more than 10 seconds to load.

It’s not only sales that drop. If you run a blog or another website that depends on pageviews to drive revenue, slow page load will also hit you in the pocket.

The team at A/B testing tool Optimizely were tasked with improving page load speed on the Daily Telegraph’s website. En route to achieving that, they first made things worse in order to quantify the effect slow page load had on the site.

The testing programme found that a delay of 4 seconds would result in the loss of 11.02% of page views. There was a direct correlation between length of page load and loss of pageviews, going right through to a delay of 20 seconds resulting in 44.19% of pageviews being lost.

How long it takes your website to load is also important for SEO. Google has acknowledged that page load speed is a factor in its search engine results and has been since 2010. The slower your page, the less likely it is to appear on the first page of Google and the harder it will be to attract search engine traffic. That means SEO and web hosting are closely linked.

Google’s Ilya Grigorik says websites have 1000 milliseconds to present consumers with the information they need in order to keep them engaged, so there's a target for you to work towards.

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