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Here’s a simple question for you – how long do you personally wait for a website to load? If you’re like 47% of consumers, you’re expecting the magic to happen in 2 seconds or less. This tells us that we’re an impatient bunch, but what’s really concerning for businesses is that once your page load speed hits the 3 second mark, visitors start to bounce at an alarming rate.

A second or two seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but when it concerns page load speed, those few seconds become the lifeline for your business. Customers expect your pages to load fast, and when you don’t meet their expectations there’s less of a reason for them to stick around.

In a world where every fraction of a second counts, it’s important to understand why page load speed matters so much, and the role that web design plays in it all.

Google’s Speed Update

Earlier this year, Google announced that its Speed Update, which officially makes page speed a ranking factor for mobile searches, is set to go live this summer. While the search engine has confessed that page speed has been among their ranking factors for some time, it was confined primarily to desktop site indexing.

As they’ve been working towards an eventual full rollout of mobile first indexing, it makes sense that mobile speed has become a priority. The magic number that Google is looking at is 2 seconds, and if your site server can’t keep up then you can expect to have less crawlers sent your way.

They also claim that the Speed Update will affect only the slowest pages – meaning it shouldn’t affect most websites. But, who’s willing to take the chance?

Not us.

Speed, on both desktop and mobile sites, is important. It affects search ranking which directly impacts traffic, lead generation and conversions.

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

When a visitor lands on a page of your site they immediately form an opinion of your brand. Once they form a first impression, it typically stays with them, which means that what happens on their first encounter sets the standards for their relationship with your brand.

There’s a certain psychology that’s associated with how fast your pages load. Not only are users expecting to see results quickly, and become disappointed when they don’t, but page speed also immediately affects their professional opinion of you.

When a page loads slow, it places an obstacle in the path connecting them to you. It makes them stop and think about what’s going on. Slow loading pages send a signal that something isn’t right and make them question your authority and professionalism.

This is a bad way to start a relationship.

On the other hand, when pages load quickly, they might not even notice – this is a good thing. There’s nothing to interfere with their ability to learn more about you, browse your site and base their first impression on something other than the fact that they were inconvenienced, however shortly, by a slow loading page.

User Experience Is Huge

Going back to Google for a second, the search engine is really big into focusing on elements that provide their users with a great user experience (UX). UX is a term used to describe an end user’s complete experience. There’s more to it than initially meets the eye, but website design elements that increase usability and allow visitors to feel good about their experience while on your site are major measurements of UX.

Given our need for speed, and the comfort it provides, page load speed is crucial for providing a great UX, and SEO.

You see, Google doesn’t want to provide the person behind a search query with just any results. They want to provide them with the best results, meaning that it isn’t just about producing search results that answer their question or need, but also results that provide a quality experience in the process.

Signals that are common with slow loading pages, like a higher than average bounce rate, indicate that you haven’t invested in UX web development that minimizes points of frustration for your visitors. If the search engine keeps sending traffic your way it will eventually look bad on them.

You can trust that they’re not having any part of that.

You Care About Conversions

There’s some pretty solid evidence that supports the theory that page speed directly impacts conversions. For starters, we can look at the fact that for each 1 second delay in page load, you potentially lose 7% of your conversions. If visitors are waiting 5 seconds – just a mere 3 seconds beyond their expectations – conversion rates flatline at less than 1%.

If revenue doesn’t matter to the success of your business, then you have nothing to worry about. However, for the rest of us this type of drop off in conversion is the stuff that “Closed for Business” signs are made of.

A few years back, before the need for speed was even such an issue, Amazon calculated that just a 1 second slow down in page speed could cost them an astounding $1.6 billion a year. People love their Amazon, and if the e-commerce mega giant isn’t immune to the damaging effects of a slow loading pages, then none of us are.

You Have Plans for the Future

While attracting new traffic to your website is important, the bottom line is that it costs more to acquire new customers than to keep the ones you already. Nurturing your existing customers and providing them with an exceptional experience is key to thriving in the digital business world.

Slow loading pages hinder customer loyalty and prevent your business from growing and thriving. You don’t want this for the brand you’ve worked so hard to build and neither do we.

Maybe you notice when other sites are slow to load, but when was the last time you did a checkup on your own? If you don’t want to worry about page load speed being a deterrent to your success, then it’s time to connect with a website design company that can ensure your web pages are optimized for speed on any device.

We’re the web design company that can make this happen with our team of expert web developers that can do amazing things for your site. Contact Knowmad Digital Marketing today to learn more.

Diona Kidd

Diona Kidd

Diona is a senior Internet marketing consultant at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.

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