Feel the need for speed…
We’ve come a long way since 56k dial-up connections and webpages that gave you time to make a cup of tea while they loaded. But far from being grateful for the increased ease and rapidity with which they can shop and engage in other activities online, today’s Internet audience is in fact more impatient than ever.
According to research by KISSmetrics (http://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/), 47% of web users expect a web page to load within two seconds, while 50% of people will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to download. So for e-commerce websites, it’s clear that every second counts.
Summit have recently suggested in a report (http://www.summit.co.uk/slow-ecommerce-website-speed-costs-sales/) that over 2013, UK online retailers will lose out on around £8.5billion in sales due to slow websites. After testing 230 leading retail websites, the firm found that more than 92% are failing to load within that vital three-second window. Some even took as long as eight seconds to load.
Avoiding life in the digital slow lane
Further compelling evidence for speeding up your website is provided by research from Econsultancy (http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/63735-understanding-the-traits-of-online-shoppers-to-drive-conversions). This suggests that ‘speedy shoppers’ – those who – “make a purchase with no messing around and seemingly little consideration,” – generate 10% of total revenue for websites, second only to the ‘big spenders.’ These people are in a hurry and may well already have in mind what they want to buy, so it’s important not to frustrate them with a slow loading website before they can hand the dosh over.
If your website is stuck in the doldrums there are a few things you can do to speed it up and reap the benefits.
Some quick tips for decreasing page load times:
- Check the speed of your website using a free online tool such as http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/
- Use smaller, lower resolution images. It’s also important not to use larger images than necessary and then scale them down to size using HTML.
- Reduce HTTP requests by minimizing redirects
- Cache your website
- Eliminate auto-loading multimedia such as promotional videos or background music