How fast does your website need to be? It’s a very common question. And we’ll get to the answer. But first, let’s look at why your site needs to be fast.
It’s all about serving content. If you want to get traffic, leads and sales from the internet, your website has to be full of information, or content, relevant to what your customers are searching for online.
People don’t find you, they find your content. To turn those people into customers, your website needs to help them understand how you can help them, and why they should choose to deal with you.
But if your website is too slow, your content is wasted. People are not going to stick around to see what you have to say. Because nobody likes a slow website. Not customers, not Google. And definitely not me!
Why you need a Fast Website
Why is slowness a problem? Well, what do you do when you are browsing the internet and a page takes more than a few seconds to load? You hit the back button, and look for another one, right? That’s what I do.
And it’s not just you and me. According to surveys done by global IT giant Akamai, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. And if it’s not loaded in 3 seconds, they’re already on their way to another site!
The survey also found that people don’t just avoid slow sites, they complain about them. 79 percent of online shoppers who hit a slow website say they won’t go back there again. And 44 percent of them say they’ll tell their friends to avoid sites that are slow.
That’s the bad news. Now for the good: With so many slow websites out there, by building yourself a fast one, you can enjoy a significant advantage over your slower competitors. That’s why we help our customers to build the fastest possible websites for their businesses.
Faster websites help maximise reader engagement. That means more people reading more of your content. This can boost leads and sales for your business. Show your customers that you respect them and value their time. They’ll appreciate it. Everyone loves a faster service!
Slower website drive readers away. When someone comes to your site, then leaves immediately, that’s called a bounce. Google sees that happening, and they hold it against you. The faster your site loads, the lower the bounce rate.
This creates opportunity. You have a better chance of ranking on Google over slow sites that suffer from high bounce rates.
That’s why page speed is so important. It’s a key factor in when it comes to ranking your website higher on Google’s search engine results.
The importance of top rankings
A site with little content or poor content interest no one. No matter how fast it loads. Good content that people find helpful is the key to better traffic.
But you still have to be fast. Even with top quality content, if your website speed isn’t as fast as the top 10 pages in your niche, your site won’t rank on the first page of Google. And the vast majority of people browsing the internet just don’t click to the second page of search results.
The first page of search results will always generate the most clicks. So on page speed is vital if you want to have a website that gets more traffic, leads and sales for your business.
A recent study proved all this. The SEO experts at Backlinko analysed over a million search engine results pages on Google. They wanted to find out what the top 10 results in the search results of any niche had in common.
The found that page loading speeds are a huge factor in ranking higher. The top-ranking positions on Google all shared a common trait: Fast page speeds on their websites. They all had well-optimized sites that had clearly been designed for speed.
The top-ranking sites also had very low bounce rates. So given that page speed influences your search ranking, it’s obvious that websites need to pick up the pace, but how fast is fast enough?
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How fast is fast enough?
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller says:
“Make sure they load fast, for your users. I often check http://webpagetest.org and aim for <2-3 secs”.
[efn_note]John Mueller, Twitter[/efn_note]
When Google gives SEO advice, it pays to listen. But you may be asking yourself, why that number? Let’s try putting it in the context of how fast we need to be to minimise bounces, and how fast we need to be to beat the competition.
Reasearch proves that slower sites turn readers off. The Technology Department of the Financial Times
did a study on how people reacted to slower page loading times, and found out that:
- The first-second delay resulted in a 4.9% drop in the number of articles a visitor read
- The three-second delay resulted in a 7.9% drop; and
- Visitors read less when delays occurred
Comparative speed is also important. It may help to look at the stats compiled by Online Marketing & SEO Expert Geoff Kenyon
[efn_note]Site Speed – Are You Fast? Does it Matter for SEO? – February 20th, 2011[/efn_note]
, which say that:
- if your site loads in 5 seconds, it is faster than 25% of the web
- if your site loads in 2.9 seconds, it is faster than 50% of the web
- if your site loads in 1.7 seconds, it is faster than 75% of the web
- if your site loads in 0.8 seconds, it is faster than 94% of the web
Now that’s fast. But why stop there? We build websites for our customers that load in 0.5 seconds, or faster. WDHK consistently loads in around 0.3 seconds. Not Many Websites Are Faster Than That!
How are fast sites made?
How do we do make websites load so fast? It wasn’t easy. But now we know how we just stick to the process. There are lots of steps involved, but it all breaks down to three main steps.
Firstly, we use the lightest WordPress softwares. That means, the ones with the least amount of code per function they need to perform.
Secondly, we use the fastest and best value kit we can find. We use virtual private servers running Nginx, with all caching functions done by the server, not by some WordPress plugin.
Finally, we test the performance of all sites we build. We us services like GTmetrix.com, Google Lighthouse, WebPageTest.org. There are many more, and each has different recommendations.
We follow recommendations, and check the results. We test and tweak, and test again. We keep at it until we achieve optimal settings and times.
But a great desktop experience is not enough. As your customers use their mobile phones more and more to look for businesses that can help them, it is very important that your website loads fast on a mobile browser too. In fact, Google demands it!
Mobile Speed is Important Too
The speed your site loads on mobile is now a crucial rankings factor. Google used to use the desktop version of a page’s content. But starting in July 2018, Google started to use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking.
This is why every site we build is made with mobile browsing in mind. It has to look good, be easy to use and load fast for your customers who are out and about on their mobiles, browsing the web to find out who can help them.
We are also conversion-focused, because results are what matters. This means every site we build is custom made to help our customers achieve their goals – whether it’s getting more leads and sales for your business, or signing up more subscribers.
How do we do it?
So how do we go about Building Websites? The Answer: Different Than Most! We will detail our methods in later articles.
Of course if speed is not a concern for you, there are plenty of cheap and easy options. With a pagebuilder a cheap shared hosting, you can build a nice looking site quickly and easily. But what page builders give in speed of design, they take away in speed of browsing.
If you want a very fast site, it must be built with speed in mind.
We can help you with that.