How Important is Website Speed in 2021?

By Ten Squared, posted on the 12th of May, 2021 · 4 minute read

User Experience & First Impressions

Possibly the most obvious reason that website speed is important is that website speed is synonymous with a good user experience. Put simply, less time waiting leads to a more positive experience. However, just how important is it? Well according to current statistics, if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you have already lost around 40% of your traffic. You may say "well they probably weren't very interested in my product or service anyway" when in reality they went back to their search engine and clicked on another result.

Additionally, how your website loads and how quickly it does so often creates your brand's first impression on the consumer. Faster load times are associated with quality, representing the quality of your service and your product. Thus a slow website could even be hurting your brand image and defeating the entire purpose of the site.

More than ever, in 2021 users expect websites to be fast, stylish and user friendly.

Amazon found that they would lose 1.6 billion annually if their website was just a single second slower to load.

Page Load Content Shifting

Another concern is when your content shifts as it loads. For example, if the text on your page loads after 2 seconds, that's great a user begins to engage and begin to read about your product. However, after another 2 seconds, the first image loads causing your content to shift down. You originally had an engaged user, now they are trying to find where they were up to in the passage. 2 seconds later another image loads causing, you guessed it, your content has shifted again. That user has now decided that it is simply too difficult to read your content and is going to go read similar content on your competitor's site.

The good news is that good web designers and developers can help resolve these issues. These solutions are pretty straightforward to skilled developers and can be resolved with a few simple lines of code. For images and videos lazy loading where the image first appears blurred before it loads (like you experience on this page) as well as having a fixed width for images and videos so that space is "reserved" for them when they do load. Yes, improving your user's experience can be as simple as telling a website "remember an image needs to go here".

Search Engine Ranking

Since 2018, search engines like Google have placed increasing importance on website speed. They take into account things like page content shifting, largest contentful paint, and the number of time users spend browsing your site. This has all been done to improve user experience, encourage users to use their search engine by presenting them with quality websites and striving "to make the whole web faster".

Additionally, Google announced, "Google will reduce the number of crawlers it sends to [a website] if [the] server is slower than two seconds". Hence, indicating the significance of investing in a quality hosting platform such as WP Engine.

How Can You Make Your Website Faster?

If you haven't updated your website in a while and you are due for a new website anyway, the best way to improve your website speed is by hiring a trusted web developer and building your website on Gatsby JS. Newer software like Gatsby JS incorporates a range of techniques to improve page speed and also has a range of benefits outside of page speed in comparison to older WordPress websites. Hence, rebuilding your website on a next-generation platform is the best way to improve your page speed.

Your second option is to go through and make sure you are implementing best practices. Tools like PageSpeed Insights can help point out what is having the biggest effect on your page speed and the areas that are best for you to start. PageSpeed Insights will give your website a score from 0 to 100 on both mobile and desktop, 0 to 49 is considered poor, 50-89 is considered fair and above 90 is considered excellent, the gold standard. It will evaluate your image formats and sizes, elements causing page shifts, whether images have fixed highest and widths and more. The best part is that anyone can resolve some of these issues. However, an expert may be required to take your website to 100.

If you would like to discuss improving your website speed feel free to start the conversation by filling in our contact form.

Photo by Bill Jelen on Unsplash