When a website takes a long time to load, it can negatively impact the user experience, site traffic, and SEO. Performance-optimized websites have an advantage over slow websites.
What Exactly Is Site Speed?
When a customer sits down to eat at a restaurant, slow waiter service frequently results in poor Yelp reviews and fewer future customers. Slow site speed, on the other hand, can result in lower overall site traffic, lower search engine rankings, and negative user experiences.
Website speed, also known as website performance, is the rate at which a browser can load fully functional web pages from a particular site. Users may abandon websites that perform poorly or load slowly in their browsers. Sites that load quickly, on the other hand, typically receive more traffic and convert at a higher rate.
What is the Importance of Site Speed?
Conversion Rate: Several studies have found that site speed influences conversion rate (or, the rate at which users complete a desired action). Fast-loading sites not only retain more visitors but also convert at a higher rate than slower sites. Several companies have discovered that shortening page load time by a few milliseconds increases conversions:
Mobify discovered that shortening their homepage's load time by 100 milliseconds resulted in a 1.11% increase in session-based conversion.
AutoAnything saw a 12-13% increase in sales after cutting page load time in half.
Walmart discovered that increasing page load time by one second increased conversions by 2%.
As a result, improving site performance is an important part of conversion rate optimization.
Bounce Rate: The bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors who leave after only viewing one page. Users are more likely to close the window or click away if a page does not load within a few seconds. The BBC discovered that each extra second it took for their pages to load cost them 10% of their total users.
Best SEO Practices: Because Google prioritizes getting relevant information to users as quickly as possible, site performance is an important factor in Google search rankings. The performance of a site on mobile devices is crucial for SEO.
The User Experience: Long page load times and slow responses to user actions all contribute to a poor user experience. Users become irritated while waiting for content to load, and they may abandon the site or application entirely.
What Factors Affect Site Speed?
Network Situations: Even if a website is designed to be lightweight, network latency may cause it to take some time to load in browsers. The local networking equipment used and the quality of the ISP's services have an impact on network connectivity. Additionally, mobile devices that connect to the Internet via 3G or 4G rather than WiFi typically have slower network connections. Despite the fact that developers have little control over this, there are methods for delivering web resources quickly, even over slow connections. Minification, compression, and CDN hosting are examples of techniques.
Hosting Location: Network latency increases when content must travel a long distance to its destination. If a website's HTML and CSS files are hosted in Ohio and its images in Florida, a user on the west coast will have to wait for all of these files to travel thousands of miles to their device.
How Can Developers Determine the Speed of Their Website?
Website speed tests are available from a variety of businesses and organizations. Many speed tests can identify and provide performance metrics for individual elements of a webpage that are slowing it down.
What Are the Most Important Website Performance Metrics?
Load Time: Load time is the time it takes for an entire webpage to load in the browser, implying that each HTTP request must be fulfilled. Almost every page on the Internet will require multiple HTTP requests because multiple resources, in addition to the page's basic HTML, must be loaded.
Page Size: The page size is the total file size of all the resources that must be loaded for the page to function. Page size affects how long it takes a browser to load a page, and it can also have an impact on mobile users who may be paying for data as they load web pages.
Time To First Byte: The amount of time that elapses between a browser's request for a webpage and the arrival of the first byte of the response is referred to as Time To First Byte (TTFB). TTFB is still considered when evaluating website performance and may have an impact on SEO, even though overall load time is more important.
The Number Of Round Trips: The number of round trips represents the number of times a request/response must travel to and from an origin server. The more round trips a webpage requires, the higher the latency.
Round Trip Time: Round Trip Time (RTT) is the amount of time it takes for a request to complete a round trip, which means the request travels to the origin server and the response travels back to the device that initiated the request.
How Does Cloudflare Improve Website Performance?
Websites that use a content delivery network load much faster. Cloudflare CDN caches content in 275 cities around the world, bringing it closer to end users. Because user device requests do not have to travel all the way to the origin servers, latency is reduced, as are load time and RTT.
These studies teach us an important lesson: if we want to build great websites, we must prioritize website speed. Having a slow website will have a negative impact on SEO, revenue, conversion rates, usability, and UX. If your website is slow, I recommend troubleshooting to determine why.