There are at least 3 big reasons, why companies must work on speeding up their websites. Let us take a look at each one of them.
1. Search engines LOVE fast websites
“Today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.” (Google Webmaster Central Blog, 2010)
Google engineers are working hard on making their products faster, so they don’t want to spoil the user experience by advising them slow websites. In fact, Googlers went further and made an experiment by purposely slowing down the speed of the search.
“Users exposed to a 400 ms delay since the beginning of the experiment did 0.44% fewer searches during the first three weeks, but 0.76% fewer searches during the second three weeks. Even if the page returns to the faster state, users who saw the longer delay take time to return to their previous usage level. Users exposed to the 400 ms delay for six weeks did 0.21% fewer searches on average during the five week period after we stopped injecting the delay.
While these numbers may seem small, a daily impact of 0.5% is of real consequence at the scale of Google web search, or indeed at the scale of most Internet sites, because the cost of slower performance increases over time and persists.” (Google Research Blog, 2009)
2. Users LOVE fast websites
Metrics and statistics are nice, but at the end of the day those are users, who click the buttons and visit your website. It is not 1993 any more with just a few companies on the web. There are thousands of websites the customers can switch to if displeased with the experience. On the other hand they like to return to the ones which are fast and pleasant to use.
“That’s why [performance] is important and why we should be obsessed and not be discouraged when it doesn’t change the funnel. My theory here is when an interface is faster, you feel good. And ultimately what that comes down to is you feel in control. The web app isn’t controlling me, I’m controlling it. Ultimately that feeling of control translates to happiness in everyone. In order to increase the happiness in the world, we all have to keep working on this.” (Matt Mullenweg, 2009)
3. You will LOVE your fast website
It isn’t hard to guess, that happy customers generate more page views and greater revenue. This is a hard fact.
“Eric Schurman (Bing) and Jake Brutlag (Google Search) co-presented results from latency experiments conducted independently on each site. Bing found that a 2 second slowdown changed queries/user by -1.8% and revenue/user by -4.3%.” (O’Reilly, 2009)
Another study comes courtesy of Shopzilla.com. “A year-long performance redesign resulted in a 5 second speed up (from ~7 seconds to ~2 seconds). This resulted in a 25% increase in page views, a 7-12% increase in revenue, and a 50% reduction in hardware. This last point shows the win-win of performance improvements, increasing revenue while driving down operating costs.” (O’Reilly, 2009)
Speeding up a website is an activity worth investing your time in, because as more and more companies do so, your website will seem slow compared to others and will not be able to withstand competition. In fact, there are a number of ways to make your pages load faster. We will devote a whole blog post to describe them. The fastest and easiest one of them is using a CDN, since it takes less than 5 minutes to set up and brings amazing results. Check out our 14-day free trial and spread the LOVE.