A Poor Load Speed Affects Your Conversion Rate – Here are 3 Easy Ways to Improve Yours
We all spend a large portion of our digital marketing budgets on driving as much traffic to our websites as possible each month. Logically, more users mean more leads or sales, but if your bounce rate is growing larger every month or your conversion rate isn’t up to scratch, we are leaving huge amounts of revenue on the table. An often-overlooked statistic is website speed performance, with a study by Google reporting that up to 50% of mobile users will bounce from a website that takes longer than three seconds to load.
That’s right, up to half of that expensive, qualified traffic you drove from AdWords last month left your site because they wanted answers right away. A great user experience will always do more for your conversion rate than that auto-play video you really want on your homepage.
Image source: Google Partners
Let’s take a moment to analyse the average e-commerce website. Herein, there are typically four steps from Add-To-Cart to Checkout Complete. If each step along the way takes six seconds to load, that’s 24 seconds spent staring at a blank screen and four opportunities to abandon the transaction. Plainly put, any opportunity we give users to leave, the door is wide open. The risk of displeasing visitors inevitably further increases, dangerously becoming a symptom of long-term pain – in fact, studies show that up to 79% of those dissatisfied with a website will be less likely to return.
Fun fact: Improving your load speed time by one second can improve your conversion rate by up to 7%
Image source: Google Partners
How Can We Improve?
1. Optimise images
Having high-quality, crisp images on our site is aesthetically pleasing, but under-optimised images are one of the most common attributors to a slow website. If you are using PNG or JPG file types, make sure you re-size images to the width of the web page (eg. 570px) so that they are not uploaded larger than needed. Running all images through a compressor like Optizilla means you’ll have images with small file sizes without losing much in the way of quality.
2. Reduce server response time
This is how long it takes for your host to return the request for the web page, and ideally should be 300ms or less (you can test your site’s speed at Pingdom). If your site is hosted overseas and the majority of your traffic is from Australia, then the sheer distance that the data has to travel can add an additional one to two seconds to your load speed time alone (remember, one second can be a 7% difference in your conversion rate). Sites such as Hosting Australia, an Australian hosting provider, offer the most effective path to improving your site speed.
3. Enable compression and caching
Enabling compression helps reduce the bandwidth of your web page, therefore making it easier to load. For a WordPress site, this can be as easy as installing the Gzip plugin. If you are not sure how best to tackle this, have a chat to your hosting provider – a good one should be able to set this up for you.
Caching is the process of a website browser storing website elements in a ‘cache’ (i.e. temporary storage), so that the next time a user visits your site the information is pre-loaded. For WordPress sites, look to install the plugin WP Super Cache – this plugin is incredibly user-friendly and can be installed and set up in a matter of clicks.
Making the most out of your traffic is equally as profitable as growing your monthly visitors. Set yourself some realistic speed improvement targets for the next quarter and watch your conversion rate grow.