Short answer: Yep.
Long answer: Buckle up, we’re taking you on a data-filled ride! Learn more about page speed, how it affects sales, and how you can optimize loading time. Then pick up a few additional tips for converting online sales, because having the fastest page on the planet can only take you so far without a more comprehensive strategy.
What is page speed?
Page speed is a measurement of how long it takes your page to load. There are two common measurements of page speed: page load time and time to first byte.
Page load time is the time it takes for the content of your page to fully load. That means pictures, copy, buttons, everything.
Time to first byte is how long it takes a browser to receive the first byte of page data from the server.
How does page speed impact user experience?
Do you ever find yourself longing to return to the days of dial-up modems? Wishing a page would load a little slower so you’d have more time to stare at an empty screen? Of course not.
According to Moz, pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. This makes sense because we’re all busy, and we all want to waste less time finding the information, services, and products we need.
A faster page speed means a better user experience. Basically, the quicker a page loads, the more likely a website user is to be happy. And when a customer is happy and satisfied with a website, they’re more likely to make a purchase.
What does the data say about page load time and sales?
Put simply: faster is better.
Akamai’s Online Retail Performance Report looked at the data from approximately 10 billion users visits to top online retailers over the course of a month and found that:
- Even a 100-millisecond delay in website load time can hurt conversion rates by 7%
- A two-second delay in web page load time increases bounce rates by 103%
- More than half (53%) of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load
A slow loading time was shown to dramatically increase bounce rates and decrease conversions. To have the best chance of capturing sales, your page should load in three seconds or less. Anything longer than that and your bounce rate will jump dramatically.
Slow page speed leads to cart abandonment. Once someone has abandoned their cart, your chance for a sale is effectively lost, unless you have extent-intent popups in place or a smart remarketing strategy.
Did you know that page speed also affects your SEO?
That’s right. Page speed has long been a ranking factor in desktop searches. More recently, in the summer of 2018, Google added mobile page speed as a ranking factor in their mobile search results as well. So no matter where you’re hoping to catch your customers, you had better be quick.
“Slow is always bad, especially in mobile. It hurts performance, in terms of site abandonment, bounce rates, conversation rates, and retention. It also slows the Google crawler, which hurts crawl efficiency and leads to fewer pages being indexed. That’s terrible for the site owner and for consumers.”
How can you measure your page speed?
Just Google it (essentially). Google’s PageSpeed Insights will assess the page speed of any URL. Just enter your page’s address and wait – somewhat ironically – a few seconds to learn whether your page speed is considered fast, average, or slow.
This free tool will also give you additional information specific to your page, including diagnostics and opportunities for page speed optimization. Basically, it will tell you what is slowing your page down and how you can fix it.
So if your page speed is fast, conversions will be high, right?
Um, not exactly. Speed definitely helps, but the “if you build it, they will come” theory doesn’t apply to websites. You can have the fastest website on earth, but unless you’re easy to find, selling something people actually want, and have the ability to process payments, you won’t make a dime.
In addition to a fast page load time, you need a desirable product, smooth user experience, and seamless payment processing system to make sure that everyone with the intent to buy can buy – ideally as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Once you master the search>load>choose>buy customer journey, there’s nothing to stop you from exceeding your sales goals.
What else do you need to know about selling online?
Let’s assume you’ve developed a killer product. And now that you’ve read this, you’ve used PageSpeed Insights to optimize your website pages for speed to the best of your abilities. What’s next? You need two things: a good marketing plan and a reliable ecommerce platform.
Your ecommerce solution should complement your marketing tools and be as efficient and agile as you are to meet the changing needs of today’s buyers. The buying experience on your website should align with your product.
- Does a standard shopping cart meet your needs or do you need something more flexible?
- Can you support different subscription models or levels of customer service?
- Are you equipped to scale to multiple countries and currencies?
To answer these questions and find out what else you should be asking yourself as you build your business, take the next step and download this comprehensive guide: What You Need To Know About Selling Online.