Your Website Speed Matters
Your website’s speed should be an important factor in many of your web design decisions. If your website is already up and running you need to be testing and tracking its performance and making adjustments. Why?
Your Website’s speed affects your bottom line
- SEO – Website load times are one of the factors used by search engines to decide your website’s rank.
- Customer Experience – A slow loading site will cause you to lose possible customers, or return customers.
How fast should your website load?
To determine an appropriate website load time, let’s look at the statistics second by second.
More than 2 seconds to load.
John Mueller says that if your website takes longer than 2 seconds to load, then Google will crawl (look at) fewer pages on your website. If Google or other search engines are looking at fewer pages then it can’t report as much about your site in search results. So, is John a credible source? Since he is a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, I would vote yes.
Aykira (a digital marketing firm) found that “47% of users expect your web page to load in under 2 seconds.”
More than 3 seconds to load.
Aykira reported that “57% of your website visitors will abandon your page if its load time is 3 seconds or more.”
More than 4 seconds to load.
In 2006 Akamai published research showing that “75% of the 1,058 people asked would not return to websites that took longer than four seconds to load.”
More than 6 seconds to load.
Radware reports that as of 2014 a website taking 6 seconds to load showed a decrease of 50% in their conversion rate. (Conversion rate is the percentage of users who take the action you want them to on your website. This may be purchasing products online or simply contacting you.)
From the statistics above the benefits of a fast-loading website should be obvious. But why does do search engines consider it a factor in ranking your site?
Search engines ultimately need to make money and to do that they need you to keep using their site. Fewer people would use search engines that send them to sites that they would ultimately be unhappy with.
If 50% fewer people take your desired action if a site takes over 6 seconds to load, then it is probably fair to say they are unhappy with slow sites.
So How Fast Should Your Site Load?
Determining an appropriate load time for your site isn’t a perfect science. You will have to make trade-offs between features you want on your website and how much it slows it down. For this site, we have worked to keep load times under 2 seconds.
The 4-second cutoff seems to be where there is the largest impact since 75% of people say they wouldn’t return to a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load. Because of this, we use 4 second load times as an absolute cutoff for our clients.
Three Sites You Can Use to Track Your Websites Loading Time.
is my go-to for monitoring my website speed. You can create a free account and track your performance from day to day. This can be very useful when you have been making a lot of changes to your site but forgot to check the speed along the way. You can go back and check what your website speed was the last time you checked it.
uses Google page speed, and Yslow to test your site. It returns your overall score for both systems, and give you generic feedback related to both scores. This can be a great place to find an area to start improving your website’s speed.
Pingdom does a lot of things, but one of my favorite is their website speed test. The most useful part of the Pingdom website speed test is that they show you each file along with its size and load time.
You can use this to see what specific files are taking the longest to load. The most fun part of Pingdom’s website speed test is seeing how your website ranks compared to the rest of the internet.
In the graphic above you can see that Pingdom says our site was faster than 91% of the sites tested. Seeing that makes me feel good about the hours we have put into optimizing for fast website load times.
Webpage Test is the site I use when I’m looking for a larger overview or trying to find specific information not offered in the other two tests. It will show you basic load times, but also gives you information on things like DNS.
It is the primary site I use if I’m trying to make sure a content delivery network like Cloudflare is working correctly.
If you have comments or questions about your website speed, we would love to hear about it. If you want to talk about options for your small business website you can call, email, or even text. Here is our contact information
We are a web design firm based in Northwest Arkansas, and our focus and passion is helping small businesses create an effective online presence.