When speaking to website prospects, by far the most important consideration for them is…design. But in reality, design is one of the least important components of a business website for the purpose of lead generation and business growth.
Speed is by far the most important component of your site. Not design, not branding, not anything else—just flat out speed.
Steve Jobs touched on this point with his quote:
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
If your site doesn’t load fast, literally nothing else matters because your visitors will bounce back to the search results before even seeing it!
Google brought all this attention to speed back in April of 2010 when they made site speed a ranking factor.
In 2008 Amazon reported that each 100ms increase in loading times translated to a 6% drop in sales.
Later, in 2017, Akamai conducted a study which found that each 100ms increase in loading times translated to a 7% drop in conversion rates.
Here are some more eye-popping stats concerning page speed and visitor behavior:
- Between 2000 and 2016, the average human attention span has dropped from 12 to just 8 seconds
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load within two seconds or less
- 40% abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load
- 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance are less likely to return
- One second delay reduces conversions by 7%, page views by 11% and customer satisfaction by 16%
All these figures highlight the extreme importance of site speed, but even more importantly, that internet users are becoming more and more sensitive to site speed.
Here are the results:
As you can see, these results are ruthless—people simply refuse to wait around for a slow, clunky website to load.
It doesn’t matter how compelling your story, sales message or content is. If your website can’t deliver that information quickly and clearly, your hard earned visitors will leave without requesting a quote.
I get that speed is important, but how do I test it?
You can use these tools to test your website performance, and to assess your website developer/provider—the vast majority of them know very little about website performance optimization, which is why the average WordPress site takes 7 seconds to load.
Simply type your website address/URL into the website field and test your site’s loading speed.
Don’t pay much attention to the performance grades or scores on your performance report. Those are just arbitrary figures based on the technical recommendation checklist, usually shown below the scores in the report. The important metrics are:
- Fully loaded time
- Total page size
- Number of requests (page elements the browser must load)
A word about this site
As you can see from the GTmetrix screenshot at the top of this post, this site loads in half a second (0.5s) with a minuscule page size of only 92kb and only 7 requests. That is head snapping fast with a super small digital footprint.
According to GTmetrix, the average site loads in 7.4 seconds. So this site loads 14.8 times faster than average—a significant advantage for nearly every website success metric there is.
Of course, that is partly due to the extreme minimal design I opted for. I wanted it as clean and distraction free as possible while maximizing performance, speed and ease of reading. I don’t suggest this level of minimalism for a local business site, but the more design elements and functionality your website contains (images, code, scripts, etc), the higher the page size and browser requests, and consequently, the slower it will load.
Bottom line—when it comes to your digital marketing and lead generation success, site speed is crucial.