The faster your site loads, the greater is the probability that you will be able to attract and engage more users.
When it comes to website loading, virtually every second counts. 47 percent of users expect a website to load within 2 seconds. And 40 percent of your potential users will typically abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
For businesses, bloggers, publishers and webmasters, this means that every second you can trim from your website’s loading time translates to precious traffic and conversions. On the other hand, every additional second can lead to erosion of users over time and a decline in search ranking.
User experience is, of course, one of the most important reasons why you should optimize your website’s speed. Here are five other reasons why your site should load as quickly as possible:
# Google Favors Faster Websites
Google loves speedy websites, and so you should also make sure that the Google bots that crawl to find new content will not have a hard time navigating through your website. Website loading speed can be a big factor in determining its ranking on search engine results. You might find your website losing ground on search result pages if it takes more than a few seconds to load the site.
This is even truer for websites meant for a mobile audience. Google will soon start ranking mobile search results according to page load speeds. Slow blogs and websites will therefore lose visibility and traffic.
# You Have a Global Audience
The fact that your blog exists means that you intend to have a global reach and appeal. Your visitors may come from all corners of the world. And while some of them will have fast broadband connections, other will access your website through slower infrastructure. In particular, website traffic goes through several “hops”—meaning it passes through several points such as service providers, undersea cables, satellite uplinks, and the like.
The good news is that it’s not that complicated (or event expensive) to deploy a content delivery network (CDN) to help speed up access from distant places. A CDN uses servers located all around the world to cache website content and deliver it based on users’ geographical location. By using the server closest to the user, a CDN can boost load speeds by up to 50 percent – significantly boosts the user experience of all visitors regardless their country of origin.
# People Have Short Attention Spans
The sheer amount of content available online today means that users’ attention spans are declining rapidly. According to studies, the attention span of an online user was 8 seconds back in 2013. Today, however, your website has a mere 3 to 5 seconds to make an impression on a user. If the impression is positive, the user will tend to stay and come back for more. If the impression is poor, the user is likely never to return again. And speed is a decisive factor here.
Your blog needs to load within this tiny bracket of attention span and display relevant content to sufficiently interest a user. Unlike what many publishers think, users are not attracted by an instant overload of content. Rather, a rapidly loading site balanced with a small, but relevant, amount of data will hit the sweet spot in building an audience.
# Conversion is More Important Than Raw Traffic
No matter how great is your marketing, if it doesn’t translate to new regular readers, you are not doing a good job of it. Similarly, if you have a blog with a large readership but are unable to persuade sufficient users to come back regularly, you are doing something wrong. Whether you are an online retailer, publisher, blogger or simply a webmaster managing a business website, conversion is absolutely critical for success.
# The Future of the Internet is Mobile
A critical part of mobile-optimization is to design your website with user experience in mind—this will involve loading speed, too. Mobile users are notoriously demanding when it comes to site speeds. About 43 percent will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So if you plan to build up your site over coming months and years, you will have to plan for the mobile audience in terms of optimal page load speeds.
# The Takeaway
Improving website speed isn’t rocket science. It simply takes good planning and a proper infrastructure to ensure that you can shave away all unnecessary milliseconds to minimize loading time at the user’s end.