The speed of a website may be one of the most overlooked factors which could drive additional leads, revenues and search engine rankings for your organization.
The exponential increase in the Internet as a lead and revenue source in the last few years means it’s more important than ever to ensure your pages load fast. But few marketing professionals have focused on driving page load times down to the one or two seconds that the best websites are able to achieve. Perhaps that’s because there were few tools to assess benchmark and monitor website performance? Maybe it was because making websites faster is technically challenging?
As technology and marketing teams become more closely aligned, there will be more budget, projects and vendors to assist in this important aspect of a successful website. To add some arguments in favor and kick off any business case/ROI studies for web performance optimization projects for you and your team, I wanted to list some of the benefits of a faster website here.
For many of your prospects the first exposure to your brand is your website. It is the first time a user is able to interact with your brand. If your website is slow, say for example it loads in three seconds or longer, your prospect begins building the impression that it may not be easy to buy from, or interact with, your company. With broadband connections being almost ubiquitous and website visitors conscious of the speed of sites like Google and Amazon, a slow loading site may result in the prospect becoming frustrated or to establish a lack of trust in your messaging – regardless of the market you are serving. In addition, a study published in January 2010, by Forrester Research suggests that users remember slow sites – and consciously remember not to return. Brand managers take note – slow websites are bad for the brand.
Website Metrics: Page Views, Bounce Rates, Time on Site
Most marketers watch over their website analytics in an almost obsessive way. How many of you track these key metrics on a daily basis for at least your home page and other key landing pages? We all analyze these metrics and test different tactics looking for some way to improve performance. We look at design, copy and call to action messaging, but few of us have been looking at page load times. Think about it for a moment, if your pages load very fast (say in two seconds compared to the average of about five seconds) will your visitors be more likely to digest more information? Will your bounce rate be lower? Because web site speed is a critical business success factor, with a faster website the answer to all these questions is “yes.”