You've heard and read this hundreds of times: website speed matters. Now more than ever, perhaps. With almost two decades in the web industry, I've seen many trends and best practices come and go. But website speed was never a trend, it was always a best practice. The problem is that many designers and developers have chosen to ignore it, for one reason or another.
But why? If website speed is so important, why would any web professional treat it with anything but the utmost importance? There are many answers, and here are a few:
There are many more to that list, but those few points demonstrate that speed is not automatic. Design, interactive elements, content, and functionality being added to a website will all eat away at the speed of a site. The question is, does your designer pay attention? If not, your business goals could be suffering because of it.
These days, attention spans are at an all time low. Imagine if you will, a mother taking her baby for a walk in the stroller, down to the corner coffee shop. She has her earbuds in, on a call with a friend as she walks. Over the mile journey, she writes or answers a dozen texts, switches over to another call from her husband for a moment, checks the price of a toy on Amazon, and views 3 Facebook notifications about some friend or another's posts on the network. This is all very typical and common. If she was also hitting up your website because her friend on the phone just referred her to your services, how long do you think she will wait to skim your site before moving on to the next "thing"? Studies show that about 40% of surfers will move on in less than 3 seconds. Waiting is not an option in today's connected world. She may never remember to look you up again. There goes your sale.
Stats from gomez.com and akamai.com
For those of you who just had your site redesigned, did your designer speak at all about page speed or weight during your project? If not, your brand new site may not be optimized for speed, and your potential customers may not be using your site the way you'd hoped. For those with an older site, I can almost guarantee that you could use a tune up.
At Swish, we give each page a performance budget, and build to meet or beat that budget. If we overshoot it, we'll work on it until its performing according to our standards. What standards, you ask? There aren't any, but search engines have begun to penalize slower sites in search rankings, and provide tools to measure performance for websites. We pay attention to what Google and Bing say, because their algorithms can help or hinder a site's ability to be successful.
So, if you rely on your website for growing your mailing list, for signups, for customer interaction, for sales, speed absolutely matters. A great user experience is vital to build trust online, and one of the most vital pieces of the user experience puzzle is site speed. Its not hard to improve, and we're experts at auditing site speed, making recommendations, and implementing those recommendations. If you are concerned that your website isn't performing up to it's potential, let's chat.
Chad is a 19 year veteran of the web industry. A developer by trade, he is now at the helm of his 3rd digital agency.