Are you considering a new website for your business? If so, what are your non-negotiables that need to be present for you to be satisfied?
Most would mention some of these website elements:
- Looks great
- Is easy to navigate
- Represents our brand well
- Features high-quality content
- Optimized for search engines
- Is mobile-friendly
All of these are important qualities to have. But if you want your site to make you money, there’s one more thing you need to consider: page speed.
If your website isn’t fast enough, it’s like a Formula 1 driver caring about the look, sponsors, and amenities of their race car more than what’s under the hood and how fast it can go.
On the racetrack and online, speed kills. For better or worse. But before we learn exactly how you can kill or be killed, let’s define what we mean by page speed.
What Is Page Speed?
Page speed measures how fast content loads on a single webpage. Technically speaking, page speed is not the same as website speed, though most of us would use those terms interchangeably. While page speed refers to one page, site speed refers to a spread of page views across your website.
In any case, page speed can be measured in different ways. Here are a few:
- Page load time: How long it takes to fully display web content on a single page
- Time to first byte: How long it takes for your browser to receive initial data from the web server
Now that we’ve laid a foundation, we must ask the question: how important is page speed for business websites? Is it a “nice to have” luxury or something more essential?
It depends on your goals. Not everyone with a driver’s license needs a turbocharged engine. But if you own a business and are looking to get more online visibility, traffic, leads, and customers—good page speed is a must to get the leg up on your competition. Here are three reasons why you should care about the page speed of your website now and in the future.
1. Page speed matters to Google.
10 years ago, Google changed its algorithm forever. (Just like it does every few months!) The big difference on Friday, April 9, 2010? Google announced that it would be “including a new signal in [their] search ranking algorithms: site speed.” By extension, this means every business needs to monitor and optimize page speed if they want to rank well in Google’s SERPs (search engine result pages). Poor page speed means your other SEO efforts may not go as high as they could otherwise.
“Hold on!” someone asks. “Site speed isn’t as important a factor in Google’s algorithm compared to others.” While quality content and other factors are very important, you should be careful about kicking page speed to the curb. Did you know that earlier this year—a full decade after site speed officially entered the algorithm—Google announced its next big ranking factor?
It’s called Core Web Vitals, and guess what—page speed is going to become even more important. There are three main signals Google will calculate to help determine how to rank your website:
- Largest contentful paint (LCP) – “How fast does your page load?”
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS) – “How fast is your page stable?”
- First input delay (FID) – “How fast is your page interactive?”
What’s fascinating is that Google’s Core Web Vitals are designed to approximate user experience (UX). This leads us to our next reason why business owners should care about page speed.
2. Page speed matters to your audience.
We’ve discovered that page speed can affect how visible you’ll be on Google. But even if your target audience does click onto your website—what will they find once they get there? Or more accurately, how long will it take them to find what they’re looking for?
Extensive research has shown that slow-loading pages can lead to the following:
- Higher bounce rates (% of people who leave your website without engaging with more content)
- Lower average time on page (i.e. people getting frustrated or disengaging because of poor experience)
- Decreased conversions (people not taking your desired actions on the website, like filling out a contact form)
“Well, that’s just for some websites. Mine isn’t the fastest, but I doubt people have issues.” Hold your horses again. It’s one thing to browse your site using a desktop computer with quick Wi-Fi. But what about on a mobile device using 4G data? Consider these website speed statistics:
- 73% of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered a website that loaded too slowly.
- 47% of mobile internet users expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less.
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
That last point leads to the third reason why every business should care about page speed.
3. Page speed impacts your bottom line.
The connection between website speed and annual revenue may not be apparent. But studies have shown some surprising correlations. For example: If an ecommerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year. Just 1 second! Can you imagine bleeding even more revenue if this website was even slower?
This goes hand-in-hand with the conversion statistics mentioned earlier. The truth is, your target audience will never engage with you no matter how great your products or services are if they have a frustrating time trying to even learn about who you are and what you do.
Think about this: Would a rollercoaster fan wait in line 10 hours to ride the best new coaster at your theme park? Not if your reputation doesn’t precede you and no one knows about your ride. And not if it takes ages to even learn about what makes your coaster so great!
Small businesses aren’t the Walt Disney Company. Their reputation does not precede them. And when it comes to making a great first impression in a sea of competitors? To return to racing, sometimes it’s mere seconds that make all the difference.
Make speed a strength and not a weakness.
Not sure how your website measures up? Reach out! We offer a free website audit that identifies not just page speed, but also digital opportunities and weaknesses you should be aware of.
WISE Digital can also optimize your current website—or even better—design and develop a new one with our groundbreaking new website option for small and medium-sized businesses: nest. It’s considerably faster than common website platforms like WordPress and Squarespace. We design websites so that your speed becomes a strength and not a weakness—especially with Google’s Core Web Vitals set to impact rankings in 2021.
When it comes to online marketing, the race is to the swift. Leave your competitors in the dust as you greet them from the top of Google’s podium.
Contact WISE to get a free website audit and consultation today!