How Your Site Speed Could Be Slowing Your Business Growth

Site speed not only hurts conversions, but it can also hold back your search engine optimization efforts. Learn how to identify and fix site speed issues that may be slowing your business growth.

Imagine that you are casually browsing through a clothing store and something catches your eye. You are interested in buying the item, but all the lines are backed up in the store. Not wanting to wait around, you put the item back on the shelf and move on to a different store.

That same scenario can happen on your website if your site speed is too slow. And the end result is the same — lost sales.

The Impacts of a Slow Site

Your website should be capable of allowing visitors to quickly answer questions that inform their decisions on making a purchase or using your business’s services. They do not want to wait around forever to read a product description or to go through checkout with items in their online cart. Every second your visitors waits around is a potentially lost conversion.

Fifty-three percent of mobile users abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Here are other ways a slow website can impact your business prospects.

  1. Lower Search Engine Rankings — Google began using site speed as one of its criteria for organic search rankings back in 2010. It updated the algorithm in July 2018, making speed an even more critical factor. That means your best SEO efforts could go to waste if the pace of your site causes high bounce rates.
  2. Poor User Experience — Slow load times discourage users from revisiting your site. Seventy-nine percent of web shoppers won’t return to a slow-moving website. (Opens as a PDF)
  3. Bad Word of Mouth  — The impacts of slow load times extend beyond a single visit. Forty percent of visitors let others know about the bad experience they had, which keeps other potential customers from paying a visit. (This PDF shows that percentage is higher)

You can see a lot of money spent on advertising and other digital marketing go down the drain, thanks to slow website speeds.

Testing Your Site Speed

Speed tests on your website will tell you how fast your website moves for visitors and how search engine algorithms would rank you.

Speed Tool Options

  • PageSpeed Insights — PageSpeed Insights from Google measures your site speed and gives you details on improving your load time. The tool can also be accessed from Google Analytics under Site Speed in the Behavior section.
  • GTmetrix —  GTmetrix provides you with feedback on your site loading times and makes recommendations on improvements and optimizations. It also offers a guide full of suggestions on optimizing your WordPress pages.
  • WebPage Test — Use WebPage Test to find out what’s happening behind the scenes of your site. One great feature offered is the ability to test loading from different devices and server locations.
  • TestMySite — This Think With Google tool informs you of areas around your website where you have an opportunity to improve your page load time on mobile devices.

Many of these tools do not require administrative access to a website, meaning they can be run on both your own and competitor sites. You can gain insight into rankings for both yourself and rivals in search engines.

Improving Your Site Speed

Once you have a good idea on where your site ranks speed-wise, you can opt for a variety of tools to improve your page loading. One thing you can start doing is tracking any alerts Google puts out around changes to its speed algorithm, which usually happens six months before they go into effect. Use that time to make some of the following updates to improve your site-load time.

  1. Utilize Website Cache — If you’re not already using cache, then this is a quick way to improve your site speed. Think of cache as a copy of your webpages that can be served much faster to visitors.
  2. Use AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) — AMPs point your standard HTML web page to a stripped-down version for mobile devices. They load much more quickly, cutting load times by as much as 85 percent.
  3. Watch Your Image Size — As much as you might love the header image on your site, the size of it might be impacting your page speed. It is recommended that you keep web pages under 500 KB in size.
  4. Think About User Intent — Because so many users issue voice commands, it is essential that your site accounts for conversational queries vs. static keyword phrases, which can make searches faster for visitors. Localizing your content can also speed up searches issued by users in your area.
  5. Review Your Site Construct — Take the time to have your page documentation reviewed. Unwieldy JavaScript and CSS can add to your page load times.

Summing It Up

Slow site speed can stunt the impact of any digital marketing plan. Use the recommended tools above to measure your site speed and get insight on how to improve your site speed on web and mobile. Lastly, review your site content for ways to reduce your page size and improve page loading.

Investing the time to improve your site speed will improve the user experience and ultimately boost your conversion rates.

Do you want more tips to improve your SEO? You can  grab a copy of the “Ultimate SEO Checklist.”

Why Page Speed Matters for Google Ads

Don’t let slow loading pages cost you money in Google Ads. Use these two tools to test your landing pages and then follow the instructions to improve landing page speed.

google adwordsImagine for a moment your friend just told you about an amazing supplement that boosts productivity because it helps you stay alert and focused. You can’t wait to get your hands on it because you’ve been struggling for a few weeks with your concentration, which has caused your productivity to plummet.

The problem is that you don’t remember the name of the supplement. You type into Google’s search bar, “supplement for productivity.”

You still don’t recognize any of the names, but decide to click on the first result to see if it could be the one. The landing page for that brand’s supplement loads excruciatingly slowly.

You can’t stand waiting, so you hit the back button and decide to click on the second result. Bam. The landing page loads nearly instantly and you decide to go ahead with the purchase.

What you may not have realized is that the first two links you clicked were Google ads. The first click made the advertiser lose money, while the second one made that advertiser money.

Missed Opportunities With Slow Landing Pages

This is an example of how landing page speed is incredibly important to the success of your Google ads.

Google Ads continues to be an effective way to promote products and services. Billions of searches are performed each day on Google, which means there are billions of opportunities to sell your products and services.

Every click someone makes on one of your Google ads is an opportunity for you to make or lose money.

Don’t let your landing page speed be the reason you lose money.

How to Know if Your Landing Page Speed Is a Problem

There are many tools available that you can use to test the speed of your landing page.  One is GTMetrix.

This tool not only gives you a letter grade for your page, but it will then tell you how to fix it.

For example, when I entered in a page URL, I discovered I could improve the site speed by doing the following:

  • Add Expires headers
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Make fewer HTTP requests
  • Reduce DNS lookups
  • Use cookie-free domains

These fixes are to load your page faster on desktop devices.  But what about mobile devices?

Mobile Site Speed Is Just as Important

As the title states, mobile site speed matters for Google Ads. The reason is many people are more likely to use a mobile device rather than a desktop to search Google. You may be surprised to know that mobile device searches surpassed desktop searches 3 years ago, and the number of searches performed on smartphones and tablets are just increasing.

Chances are, many people clicking on your Google Ads are on a mobile device.  That brings me to the next tool to use – PageSpeed Insights.

PageSpeed Insights by Google provides information on the speed of your page for mobile and desktop as well as what needs to be fixed to boost the speed.

Some of the recommendations from this tool are to:

  • Reduce server response time
  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
  • Leverage browser caching
  • Optimize images

Plus, this tool shows how to fix these issues. All you have to do is click on the “Show how to fix” hyperlink.

Conclusion

People don’t want to wait for a website page to load. If they do have to wait, they will likely go back to Google’s search results and click on the next one. This costs you money because with Google ads you pay each time someone clicks on your ad.  Plus, over time Google will lower your quality score due to slow loading pages, which means you’ll have to pay more and more per click to keep advertising.

To make sure your landing page loads at an adequate speed, use GTMetrix and PageSpeed Insights. Then follow the instructions to fix the issues slowing down your pages.

Want more Google AdWords tips to improve your performance? Click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.