It's amazing how much information we all process on a daily basis when we spend time online. There is a deluge of notifications, advertisements and promotions all trying to get our attention. It's a little wonder really that we find it hard to get things done and feel distracted much of the time. This is perhaps the root of the phenomenon of website visitors being incredibly impatient.
But how much does the speed of your website really affect its performance in terms of conversions? We've all heard that Google and other search engines are now factoring in website speed in their algorithms, and it's certainly important there. But does faster load time and rendering actually lead to higher engagement? The simple answer is, yes. The more you work on the speed of your website the better engagement is likely to be.
Web Hosting and Speed
When someone browses the internet they are accessing files that are stored in web servers, normally on virtual machines. The faster the computer that has those files the faster it can respond to the requests made upon it. Your web hosting company choices, therefore, is extremely important, as is the package that you go for. There are thousands of executions every time a website is loaded and a single webpage can be very complex. The fact that all of this goes on behind the scenes explains why your website host performance and the server/servers your site is presented from is so crucial.
With content management based websites, such as WordPress websites, there can be an additional level of database queries that need to be executed for pages to load. A typical WordPress website page could take a hundred and fifty database queries. This all takes time and 'effort.'
Let’s Take a Look at Some Statistics to Show the Importance of Website Speed
- Statistics suggest that there is a 7% reduction in conversions for every one-second page load delay.
- 53% of mobile website visitors will click the back button if the page takes longer than three seconds to load.
- 47% of website visitors state that two seconds is their expected time for websites to load.
- 73% of mobile internet users have stated that they have encountered websites that are too slow and they have left as a result.
- It's estimated that one hour of hosting downtime could cost over $100,000 to a company.
- An e-commerce company that generates $100,000 daily could lose $2.5 million a year just by reducing page performance by one second per load.
- Customer satisfaction scores go down by 16% when there is a one second delay in load time.
- 78% of those that experience website performance issues say they won’t come back.
- Page speed has a significant effect on website rankings when all other things are equal.
It's clear that the statistics demonstrate the importance of website page speed, and there are plenty of things that you can do to improve the speed of your website
Web Hosting Packages and Important Factors
So what makes some website packages faster than others? Many web hosting packages are actually rather similar, but performance related issues that we also akin to those you experience on your computer when processing information at home or in the office. The speed of the machine and the amount of load upon it will be crucial to how well the website performs.
Web server factors include the speed of the hard drive, where the website loading process is faster when solid state drives are faster. The location of the server and resources can also play a role, with the speed of websites being better when server resources are in the same geographical region, although this factor is decreasing over time with speedier internet routes around the world. The type of hosting is also important to the performance of your website.
Shared hosting tends to be at the mercy of how many users a web host is willing to cram onto its servers, and traffic spikes of one user can affect another on the same server. As far as possible, you want to have control of your resources and that probably means having cloud hosting or a VPS.
The processing power of the servers you use, including the number of calls and the RAM, make a big difference to the speed and performance of your website. Imagine having to process 350 requests in a linear fashion, and then being able to process them in parallel. The more processing power you have the more you can process at the same time and the speedier the website will be.
What Can You Do as a User to Speed Up Your Web Experience?
As well as there being factors on the website side such as SEO, it's important to know that there are things that happen on the user side that can affect the way your website performs.
The Browser the Visitor Is Using
If the browser your website visitor is using becomes clogged with cookies, extensions and begins to fall slowly, your website will load more slowly. Websites are packed with interactive elements, images, audio and video. If a website visitor is saying they are getting poor performance, you may suggest that they clear their browser cache in order to speed up performance.
How the Visitor Is Browsing
If your visitor is using wireless internet connectivity and is browsing at a distance away from their router their connectivity will decrease and they will experience slower website performance. Ideally, browsing should be done within line of sight of the router but not within 1 m of it. People with extremely fast Internet connections shouldn't be affected by a little distance, but people in more and more rural locations or with poor quality fibre broadband may struggle. Similarly, the quality of mobile data connectivity will affect the speed of performance of your website.
It's important to consider whether other people are having performance issues with your website, and whether it is server-side, or whether the issues are particular to the user that is seeing the issue.
If you have to have a particularly heavy website it may be worth explaining that the website is a high definition environment and that you suggest strong internet connectivity. There are certain applications, such as WGT Golf, that are massively popular and make it very clear that they consume resources and need good connectivity to work properly.
So what should you do next? There are a number of things that you can do to improve your website speed. Obviously, it's encouraged that you use a good website host and you choose resources that are capable of delivering the performance your website visitors require.
If you need any help understanding and improving the performance of your website then get in touch today and we’ll be more than happy to help.