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23Jul
2014

Slow and Steady Wins the Race? Not According to Google.

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(image source: http://bit.ly/VU2dPX)

Contrary to the popular adage, “patience is a virtue,” website loading times are an exception to the rule. In today’s fast-paced world, subpar speed just won’t cut it. In order to compete against the big boy browsers within your industry, your site requires a rapid connection to drive leads and conversions.

Let’s face it: no one likes to be kept waiting – especially when it comes to website speed. Think back on how often you’ve groaned in exasperation, waiting for a finicky page to load after a few ticks of the clock’s second hand (no judgment here, we’re just as guilty). The truth is, rapid developments across the tech industry have spoiled consumers rotten. Like Eve to the beckoning apple, consumers have acquired an appetite for instant gratification – and nowadays, lagging websites are guaranteed to leave an aftertaste.

Recent statistics show us that back in 2000, the average attention span of adults waned after 12 seconds. Flash forward to 2013, and us humans sport a whopping 8-second attention span, before moving onto something shiny. All jokes aside, slow loading times are actually no laughing matter. In fact, it can prove downright detrimental to your cause.

How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line

Website speed is one of the most important elements that not only impact user experience, but also drives (or discourages) their buying decisions. Though it’s pretty wild to think something as trivial as ‘impatience’ can affect ROIs, it’s important to note that when it comes to consumer engagement, time is always of the essence.

Your website speed plays a crucial role in how consumers respond to your brand. While I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, it doesn’t matter if your site is loaded with killer graphics, or your marketing vision rivals a young Seth Godin. When it comes down to it, the second your website fails to satisfy consumer interest, that startup dream of yours can easily segue towards a financial deficit.

If you think about it, making a name for yourself within this cutthroat cyber world is really no different from the Domino Effect: every strategic move you make impacts the outcome of the whole sequence. With the right positioning, each piece successfully falls in line with the next. However, one wrong calibration and the entire structure falls short. In matters of your online presence, a miscalculation as simple as site lag can cost you much more than revenue loss; it can cost your entire reputation.

Optimization Achieves Ranking

Just a few years back, Google announced on their Webmaster blog just how influential site speed was in relation to website rankings:

“Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.”

Just four years later, optimized websites built for speed are reaping the benefits of a 15 percent increase in traffic across Google, Yahoo! and Bing search engines. On the flip side? Sites that lag by just 1-second have gotten hit with a 7 percent loss in potential conversions! Ouch.

Still not convinced that your loading time has an impact on ROIs? Take some time to mull over these eye-opening facts:

  • The 2-Second Rule: 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
  • Jump Ship: 40 percent of consumers will completely abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
  • Skewed Memory: Online consumers are convinced that loading times are 35 percent longer than they actually are.
  • Uneasy Spenders: 44 percent of online shoppers say that slow online transactions make them anxious about the outcome of their purchase.
  • Loading-Time Loyalty: 52 percent of online shoppers claim that rapid loading times play an important role in their loyalty to a site.
  • Fickle Shoppers: 75 percent of consumers will abandon a page and start shopping on a competitor’s site, rather than waiting out the delay.
  • Never Again: 88 percent of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after one bad experience.
  • Judgment Call: Nearly 1/2 of online shoppers form a negative opinion of a brand, simply based on slow loading times.

Keeping up with Competitors

Want to know what lightning-fast looks like? These popular brands have been ranked by Alexa.com as the top 10 retail sites with accelerated loading times. Burning rubber at the #1 spot is Ikea, an impressive victor with a site speed of 1.8 seconds.


(image source: http://bit.ly/1qu7VWh)

Where Would Your Site Rank?

Are loading times slowing your business down? If so, it may be time to revamp your online focus in order to stay afloat in this virtual rat race. Optimize the efficacy of your website; utilize analytic tools to measure loading times, bounce rates and other performance metrics. Once you enhance your site’s speed, you can start to reap the benefits of consumer engagement and conversion rates.

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