What Are WebP Images? Should You Be Using Them?
For those readers who are not familiar with the term: WebP is a relatively new image format developed by Google to hel...
With all the new web technologies that have made their appearance over the last ten years, it’s very tempting to build a home page crammed with bells and whistles and brimming with images. How much difference can a few seconds make, after all? The answer is simple: Website Speed makes a huge difference. Keep on reading if you want to know why.
1. Search engine rankings
Without decent search engine rankings, your website might never get a lot of visitors, and sales will probably remain lacklustre. In this regard, you should be aware that Google revealed in 2010 that page loading speed was now one of the factors it considered when ranking websites. And in 2017 the company announced that the ranking of both your desktop and your mobile site would in the future be partly determined by the loading speed of your mobile site.
2. Abandonment rate
People nowadays have access to super-fast internet. They pay for speed, and they expect speed. Research shows that around 10 percent of users already start abandoning a site after two seconds. Add another 2 seconds, and your abandonment rate will increase to 25 percent (Kissmetrics). And a BBC study showed that for every additional second it took for a particular page to load, they lost another 10 percent of visitors.
3. Conversion rate
This rate refers to the percentage of visitors who complete a specific action, for example, buy a product or sign up for a newsletter. Now, if a user abandons your site after a few seconds there is no chance that he or she will do any of these. In fact, they often never come back.
Several major online businesses have discovered that improving page load time by only a few milliseconds already boosted their conversion rate. One of them is Walmart, who found that a one-second improvement in load time improved conversions by 2 percent. Mobify had a similar experience, where a homepage loading 100 milliseconds faster resulted in a 1.11 percent increase in session-based conversions. And AutoAnything reported a nearly 13 percent sales increase after a 50 percent reduction in page load time.
4. Return rate
This refers to the percentage of visitors that will return to the site at a later stage. According to the latest research around 75 percent of visitors will never come back to a website once they’ve experienced problems with its load time, i.e. the site took more than three or four seconds to load. This of course has a compound effect on your conversion rate: someone who never returns will also never become a buyer or sign up for your newsletter.
5. Long-term effects
By now you should understand that slow loading speeds can and will scare away potential customers. After five seconds your site will lose up to 50 percent of potential visitors. That is not the end either. A slow load time gradually kills word-of-mouth referrals and with that also the growth of your visitor base over time.
Visitors who have a bad experience with load time will stop referring your site to others. And chances of websites that are well established in your industry linking to your site become increasingly unlikely the slower your site loads. In short, you start losing credibility, visitors, referrals, and sales.
6. The number of mobile users is increasing rapidly
According to research, no less than 94 percent of internet users living in the Middle East accessed the internet from their mobile devices in 2014. The same trend can be seen throughout the world. A recent Statista report shows that in the second quarter of this year (2020), mobile users generated around 51 percent of all website traffic on earth – and this figure excluded tablets. These people want information on the go, which typically means as quickly as possible. And they are a powerful buying force: In 2015 nearly 50 percent of online shoppers were shopping from a mobile device.
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