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You Lost Me at Lag: Why Website Speed Matters

9/40

People hate the wait.

It’s true. Long lines freak us out. We avoid lining up for anything as much as we can regardless if we are doing it for official business or to buy a burger from your favorite fast-food joints. That is why most businesses invest heavily in ensuring that efficient processes and other best practices are set in place in order to serve the needs of the customers in the shortest possible lines and to eliminate the long lines. This is true for traditional business. This will continue to be true as most enterprises bring the business from physical stores to the dot.com world.

This irrevocable truth is felt the most in the way businesses operate around the world. With most transactions being done online, it is imperative for entrepreneurs to ensure that they maintain a functioning website where customers can learn more about your product and services. It also gives them a way to interact with the public and keep their clients hooked to them by making all of their relevant services and other key features of your offerings available and accessible at any given time.

But you also have to consider that all of your competitors are probably doing the same thing. It is therefore imperative that to make sure that your site has an edge over the rest. But more than the cool layout and fancy features, this game is spelled RELIABILITY — and reliability starts with fast website speeds.

You Lost Me… after the first three seconds

The technology may be new, but the principles of customer service that has been true for ages still applies with how websites and their functions should be designed and maintained.

There are studies1 abound stating that majority website visitors are only willing to stick around for about 3 seconds to wait for a page to load. After that, around 53% of users report that they leave the site after. Worse is that in most cases they never come back to check out the site ever again.

In spite of this, most reports by IT experts show that most websites have an average site load speed of 4 to 12 seconds. Not only does the delay tell the customer about the kind of effort you placed on creating the website, it also gives them a bad omen about the kind of experience they will have once they choose your product or service.

(Im)Patience is a Virtue

In the age of telemarketing, there were studies2 that indicate that most customer’s patience, when put on hold, will only last for 90 seconds.  The wait for most of them are so uncomfortable they end up terminating the call if made to wait for that long. Most also try to limit the length of the call from the opening spiel through the resolution as a gauge of efficiency. In the call center industry, it is widely accepted that customer-agent interaction should be around 5-6 minutes for the call to be successful.

For websites though, then numbers are unforgiving. Multiple studies show that most website visitors no more than a measly 15 seconds in a site before leaving. This means that in that short period of time, the website should provide whatever information or service the visitor needs or at least should have done enough to keep them engaged and stay longer. This is a very tall order. That is why any lag on the website could be fatal for the business.

All Efforts Go Down the Drain

After its rollout in 2018, Google’s Mobile-First Index3 has started to include website speeds in the rankings. This means any lags not only affect the customer experience of potential customers while in your pages, it also denies you, potential customers, because of the low rankings you get.

Low scores in these rankings have damaging effects in all of your marketing efforts. Both Google and Facebook’s new algorithms prioritize the ads and paid searches of websites with fast loading speeds. This means that your SEO efforts may suffer a blow because your entries will be relegated at the middle or even bottom of the search results and your Social Media ads will be seen less frequently by your target audience.

Bottom line is, the low scores diminish the effects of your paid efforts to advertise your product or services. By failing to address this minor detail, not only will your conversion rates go down, your advertising efforts become futile after being branded as an unreliable site by most search engines due to slow speeds.

While it is true that there are many other things to consider to establish your online presence, this one crucial element should not be overlooked in order to ensure that both potential customers are introduced to your business in the most satisfactory way and for loyal customers to continue to see you as a reliable partner in delivering their needs. It is therefore wise to regularly check the performance of your site using different tools available in the market and to consult an expert so that you can optimize your online efforts.


References:

  1. How Fast Should my Website Load
  2. How Long will Retail Customers Wait and What You can Do to Help
  3. Your Website Should Load in 4 Seconds

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