If you are the owner of a website, chances are that you are juggling a wide range of tasks. Those tasks include ensuring that your website’s copy is compelling, that all website updates are going out on time, and that you are doing everything possible to secure user data on your site. It can be a never-ending list that requires you to put out the most severe fires first, even if there are less urgent, but extremely important tasks.
But having said this, one of the most important tasks on your plate is making sure that your web application is fast and stable. Web application performance is one of the key factors in determining whether your website users have a positive experience or not. Ignoring this task or putting it aside in favor of others can truly impact user engagement and the profitability of your website.
Your website is your first impression to the world. Regardless of the size of your organization or the type of work that you do, your potential customers are, in all likelihood, going to first visit your website. As referenced above, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. In the best case scenario, a prospective customer types your website into their browser, the web page loads extremely quickly, and the customer interacts with the website (and ultimately purchases a product or service). In the worst case scenario, a potential customer tries to access your website on their device but can’t do so, either because the website is extremely slow or your website is down entirely. That customer, who is busy enough in their own life, fails to return to your website, meaning that you have already lost a sale even though you haven’t been able to pitch this customer on your website.
This is a very dark scenario that you undoubtedly want to avoid. And just to be clear, there are other extremely important elements of your website. For instance, the design of your website is a critical part in making your website engaging and easy-to-use. It can even make your website more profitable. Undoubtedly, the copy of your website is also relevant. The words you use and even the length of your text can make a difference in whether a user purchases a product or service from your website.
All of these factors are important. Yet we would argue that the speed and stability of your website is the most critical task that you should take on for the good of your website. Without paying attention to how your website is performing, you are putting future sales and profits at risk. It is as simple as that.
Why Website Speeds Matters
So considering the above, the problem is fairly clear. Yet it is worth investigating further, particularly how a slow or poorly performing website will affect your organization’s bottom line. There are some eye-popping statistics and figures. Google has provided some interesting case studies to illustrate how website performance affects the success of any online venture.
Let’s start with the bad news. A website that is slow and buggy can lead to users abandoning your website en mass. For example, the BBC found that for every additional second that it took their site to load, they would lose an additional 10 percent of users. Also, DoubleClick found that 53 percent of mobile of mobile site visits were abandoned if one page took longer than only three seconds to load. Clearly, users are impatient. They are all too eager to abandon your website if it doesn’t load quickly enough for them.
That said, there isn’t all bad news. Even making a minor change can significantly impact the user experience on your website. For instance, Pinterest increased search engine traffic and sign-ups by 15 percent after they reduced perceived wait times to their website by 40 percent. By reducing average page load time by a mere 850 milliseconds, COOK was able to increase conversions by seven percent, decrease bounce rates by seven percent, and increase pages per session by ten percent.
What does this all mean? It’s relatively simple. A slow website leads to users (and potential customers) to visit the websites of your competitors. In other words, slow websites have a negative effect on your company’s revenue. A study by Mobify even found that a 100 millisecond decrease in checkout page load speed led to a 1.55 percent increase in session-based conversion, which ultimately led to an average annual revenue increase of approximately $380,000.
As you can see, you and your organization can lose some serious revenue if your website is performing poorly or isn’t performing at all. Even if you think that your website performance is adequate, focusing on the speed and performance of your website can lead to more sales and higher profits.
The Importance of Performance Testing
So what can be done? Knowing that the speed and performance of your website are absolutely critical, how can you and your team ensure that your website is performing to the best of its ability?
The answer is encompassed in two words: performance testing. Performance testing can greatly improve your website’s performance, can improve your website’s stability, and can potentially find bugs in your existing code base. It can ultimately give you an objective look at how your website performs to the outside world. In other words, it is an extremely effective sanity check that you can use to challenge your assumptions and make the appropriate changes.
Considering the importance of performance testing, you may be wondering how you can start analyzing your website. There are many resources that you can use with this task, but there are a few essential ones that you can leverage immediately. To start, we recommend you check out a tool like Pingdom. Pingdom tests the speed of any URL that you choose. Ultimately, Pingdom uses more than 70 global polling locations to test websites throughout the year. After you insert your URL into Pingdom, you will receive a report (typically within several seconds) that summarizes the test. You will see that you receive a performance grade, the load time, and suggestions that you can implement in order to improve page performance. It is a free and easy-to-use tool that you can use to audit your website’s performance.
Besides Pingdom, you can leverage several tools from Google to improve your website’s performance. For instance, Google’s PageSpeed Insights can offer suggestions on how to improve the speed of certain pages of your website. Google Analytics can also provide some helpful site speed suggestions. While you may need to do some digging, rest assured that there are helpful solutions on the internet that can help you improve your website’s performance.
Get Started Today
Website performance and stability are some of the most critical tasks on your plate. Failing to address these tasks will result in dissatisfied users and lower profits. By contrast, improving your website performance and speed by using the wealth of tools on the internet can lead to more sales and happier users. Luckily, you can avoid the dark scenario by gathering your team, prioritizing website speed and performance, and leveraging available tools to fix your website.