If you have ever visited a website which took ages to load (and there are tons of such sites on the internet), you surely know how frustrating the whole experience can be. And in all probability, you would have just bounced off to another website that catered to what you needed but was much quicker.
This is basically how the internet works – it thrives on speed.
There are several sites that will cater to your requirements, and so a website's speed becomes an integral part of the decision to choose and stay on a site or abandon the current site in favor of a faster one.
And this is exactly how your customers think too. Your site's speed is one of the most basic factors impacting its user experience quotient. No matter how rich the content or service your website has, if your pages take forever to load, your customers are bound to be left unimpressed.
Here's a quick guide that brings you all the information you need about how loading speed affects your website, and why you should make it a top priority.
What Are the Repercussions of a Slow Website?
Think of it this way – while content is still king, the speed at which your site loads is the emerging knight in shining armor! Here are the top 5 ways slow speed affects your website:
It's All About the First Impression
When your site refuses to load quickly for new visitors, they are very likely to feel that you are not going to give them the best service or product.
Consequently, you end up losing potential customers even before they've seen your content and services. A fast website scores high on user-friendliness, and psychologically reassures them that your website is legitimate, secure, and trustworthy.
For returning visitors, slow page speed damages the credibility you've worked so hard to build over time.
Unhappy Customers Won't Come Back
If your site began dealing with slow speed issues only recently, it will put your most loyal audiences off because they expect the same speed, or maybe an even quicker response as they've experienced before.
A Sharp Dip in Conversion Rate
It is a well-known fact that people tend to avoid slow websites and prefer faster ones to fulfil their needs instantaneously. Thus, you will almost always experience reduced conversion rates when your site's speed takes a hit, impacting the overall sales and revenues from your business.
Google Won't Like You All That Much
A slow site will also rank low on Google search, even if your website has good quality content that is tailored to enhance your SEO ranking. Without good loading speed, Google will not think much of your high-quality content, and your site will see a substantial decrease in the ranking, which directly impacts the number of people who visit your site based on search results.
So, your website might not be living up its own true potential.
Hurts Your Brand in the Long Run
The overall impact of slow speed would eventually be a detrimental decline in how your audience perceives your brand. You will not only miss out on new potential customers, but your existing ones will flock to your rivals while your ranking on Google goes down.
In many cases, prolonged slow site-related damage is difficult to reverse, and can damage your brand's reputation – one that you spent years cultivating – significantly.
Here's How You Can Check If Your Site Is Slow
There are several easy-to-use tools available on the internet that can help you assess not only your website's overall performance in terms of speed, but also break down the results to show you exactly what aspect is slow, what is doing well, and what aspects are fast and need no improvements.
Now, bear in mind that the 'ideal' loading speed most visitors expect is less than 2 seconds, and a substantial percentage of visitors think more than 3 seconds to load a website is unacceptable! You can use these numbers as a benchmark to see how fast, or slow, your website loads.
Here are two of the most popular speed-analysis tools that can help experts and novices alike.
Using this tool is really simple. All you have to do is head to their website, enter the URL of your website, and wait for a complete analysis once you hit 'start test'. The comprehensive results with amazing insights allow you to see your website's overall performance, as well as pressing issues that are making your site slow.
Google PageSpeed Insights
This tool is rather easy to use. On entering your site's URL into the PageSpeed Insights tool, you get detailed analysis about its performance, and what might be causing speed issues. The tool gives you marks on 100, and the more you score, the more your website is optimized.
What Is Causing Your Site to Slow Down
While there are innumerable reasons as to why your site may be experiencing speed issues, the speed-analysis tools we've listed above might help you zero in on exact ones. Based on the analysis, you could then choose the best course to take corrective action that will ensure a fast website, all the time.
However, this is not a comprehensive list by any means, here are a few issues that are very common, and could be the reason why your site is slowing down.
If your images are high-resolution, chances are that they are large in size, and therefore not optimized. You could use plugins to reduce image size without losing quality or image details, which helps in speeding up your website considerably. Alternately, you can also scale down the image to suitable dimensions, making them optimized for quick loading on the site.
Not Using Browser Cache
Browser caching can have a massive impact on your page speed. It works by 'remembering' the resources required to load your website from previous instances, thereby reducing the time required to reload during a new visit. Again, several plugins can help you implement a browser cache.
Presence of Malware
There is a high probability that malicious software is leveraging your site's weaknesses, and slowing it down. It is known to affect the overall performance of the site, including user experience, web server and SEO. Also, it is imperative to eliminate malware from your site as it could have several harmful and irreversible effects on your site.
You can use a plugin to scan and remove malware from your site.
Other Relevant Reason
Other reasons affecting speed include the lack of indemnified HTML, not using AMP (accelerated mobile pages), slow web hosting, server performance or location, code density, text graphics, outdated CMS, too many plugins, etc.
As mentioned before, there could be a massive bunch of reasons, and pinpointing the exact reason affecting your site is the surest way of rectifying it, and improving your site's speed.
As we sign off, we would strongly recommend that you priorities analysis and monitoring of your site's speed in order to do justice to all the effort you've put into creating the perfect website. Be very careful to not make common mistakes.
To make things even better, there are tons of resources, often free, available on the internet to help you do so, and help you avoid undermining your site's true potential due to something as seemingly trivial but immensely imperative as speed.