Every Second Counts
In this day and age where speed and immediateness are in such high demand, think Amazon Prime, it should be no surprise that the same is expected from websites. If the website built for your business office is slow your users will bounce and search for another more responsive alternative. So you might be wondering, well, how fast does it need to be and what can be done to get it there.
To shed some light on this Google/SOASTA Research in 2017 produced the following statistics:
- 1-3 Second Page Load Time – 32% bounce rate increase
- 1-5 Second Page Load Time – 90% bounce rate increase
- 1-6 Second Page Load Time – 106% bounce rate increase
- 1-10 Second Page Load Time – 123% bounce rate increase
This clearly shows that for your small business website to be performing optimally and hence provide a good user experience, at least when it comes to speed, it needs to load in under 3 seconds.
Website Speed and Your Google Rankings
In fact, Google, with the constant push for increased user experience levels has included page speed as a ranking factor on desktop websites since 2010 and mobile sites as of July 2018.
- “As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.” (Google Blog)
- “Using page speed in mobile search ranking Wednesday, January 17, 2018…Update July 9, 2018: The Speed Update is now rolling out for all users.” (Google Blog)
Effective website speed management should begin in the planning of your website to keep its size as close to a maximum of 500k as possible.
Aside from the size of the page, there are numerous variables that are factors of your website’s speed such as its hosting environment, caching, minimizing, image optimization, file requests, plugin usage, CDN usage, etc.
Great small business websites have their speed effectively optimized, as a part of their SEO strategy, to help them be seen by more potential customers. It also helps avoid users potentially bouncing to the competition due to their frustration.
Free Tools to Test Your Website’s Speed
So how do you check your website’s speed? I’ve added two of the tools I personally enjoy using and find particularly useful:
GTmetrix is a free tool that analyzes your page’s speed performance. Using PageSpeed and YSlow, GTmetrix generates scores for your pages and offers actionable recommendations on how to fix them.
While you can simply run a speed test from the homepage of their site, if you create a free account you can also enjoy the following which are two features I find particularly useful:
- Saved speed reports to easily monitor your progress
- Easily create a report comparing the speed of multiple sites side-by-side
A sample report is shown below. Note how it tells you the areas you need to optimize to improve your site’s performance.
Of course, if you don’t mind spending they also offer a full-featured paid version that starts at $14.95/mth.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster. It offers both a mobile and a desktop speed report and includes recommended areas to work on for improved performance.
While on the streets, speed kills, with websites speed is essential to compete for top rankings in the search engines and to provide your users with a good user experience.