Why Slow Websites are a Silent Business Killer

Steve Grant

Managing Director

Steve is a founder of Figment, a multi award-winning UK-based SEO agency helping clients connect with new customers online to achieve healthy and sustainable business growth. Having advised over 200 business owners, Steve combines a strong commercial background with Figment’s innovative SearchRank 360™ approach and specialist team to deliver simple, cost-effective results. His ability to lead by example and inspire his team is a testament to his unwavering commitment to excellence. As a former Apple consultant and first-class Brunel graduate in Multimedia Technology and Design, Steve brings a unique blend of technical knowledge and marketing strategy to create tailored SEO campaigns that deliver results. Outside of work, Steve is a devoted family man, accomplished jazz pianist, and talented artist. With his friendly and professional approach, Figment's founder is not only an industry expert but also a true asset to any business seeking to make its mark in the online world.

In one of our posts last month, we looked at the true cost of cheap website hosting. One of the key messages in this post was that fast and reliable websites equal happy customers. And not only that; speed of page loading is also a significant ranking factor for the search engines. Let’s take a more in-depth look at why website speed is crucial if you want to stay ahead of your competitors.

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Slow website? It could lose you three quarters of your customers.

According to new research undertaken by Eggplant, a slow running website is more detrimental to business than one that is not working at all. The research, resulting from a poll of 3,200 UK and US adults on attitudes to website performance and speed, revealed that businesses with slow or underperforming websites are likely to lose 73 per cent of their customers to competitors. Let’s take a closer look at what the respondents had to say.

70 per cent of UK adults say that website speed is important, with almost half of those classing it as ‘very important’. Only 2 per cent overall didn’t rank speed as important.

60 per cent said they would feel negativity towards a brand if its website was consistently slow loading. Compare this to just 23 per cent who would feel the same in coming across a website that is not working at all and it’s clear to see that slow websites have the potential to damage brand reputation.

The Eggplant global online study revealed that 75 per cent of British website users would decamp to a competitor website if the one they were using was frustratingly slow.

It is therefore vital for brands to focus their efforts on website speed and availability. Dr John Bates is CEO of Eggplant. Reviewing the survey results, he said: “This goes to show that when it comes to business performance, slow websites are a silent killer. This is especially true in an age of instant gratification — the two-second attention span and quick social media retaliation at anything less than full performance. Today, speed, connectivity, and an outstanding user experience are critical to ongoing business success, and while customers will forgive and forget the odd bug, crash, or period of site maintenance, they will not tolerate a site that doesn’t move at the speed they’ve become accustomed to.” 

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Faster web pages rank higher in mobile search results

In July, the Google Speed Update was introduced, making page speed a ranking factor in mobile search. Pages delivering the slowest user experience will now find it pretty much impossible to rank.

Research undertaken by Searchmetrics shows that fast loading mobile pages will dominate the top five positions in search results.

Speed has a major influence on whether visitors stay put on a site. We’ve already seen from the Eggplant survey results above that 75 per cent of web visitors will not hesitate to move on to another website if the one they are on is slow. And Google takes this seriously too. Its own research suggests that the likelihood of a user bouncing off a page increases by 32 per cent as page speed slows from one to three seconds, and that 53 per cent of mobile site visitors are likely to leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load.

How to speed up your website?

Good question. The answer is actually quite a complex one. We don’t want to get too technical or start firing out jargon, so let’s keep it simple. For a website that loads fast enough to avoid losing page rank AND customers, you need quality website hosting and expert optimisation of your web pages, content and code.

How fast is your website? Even just a one-second delay can lead to reduced page views, less conversions, damage to brand reputation and lost business opportunities. If your site could do with a speed boost, why not talk to Figment? It’s something we’re known to get results in.

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