Why Slow Page Loading Will Lose You Customers Fast

Image of Scott Baradell
Scott Baradell

Do you like waiting in line at the store? How about when you are standing at the front counter and the clerk is talking on the phone or sorting the cash in the register -- anything but putting you first?

Nobody likes to wait. It makes us feel like we're not a company's top priority.

Consumers have even less patience when shopping online. For every second it takes your website to load, your chance of losing a customer increases.

New research shows that 98 percent of visitors to e-commerce websites don't buy anything. Even among those who place an item in their shopping cart, about three out of four abandon their purchase. A big reason for cart abandonment is slow page loading. Nearly 60 percent of consumers will abandon a site if they experience more than three seconds of load time -- and the majority will not return.

This phenomenon is true not just of e-commerce websites, but of all business websites today. Studies show that your visitors associate the responsiveness of your site with your brand's responsiveness overall. A slow site, in other words, suggests slow customer service, slow product innovation, and slow everything else.

Making a Bad First Impression

A sluggish site is one of the fastest ways for your brand to make a bad first impression.

According to Google, the likelihood of users leaving your site increases by 32 percent when your page load time increases from one to three seconds. In another study, 79 percent of visitors who are dissatisfied with website performance say they won’t return to the site again. 

Even if your website is aesthetically pleasing, a well-rounded online experience requires more than visual appeal. Intuitiveness and ease of use play a far greater role in the way people perceive your business. If customers cannot find the information they need in the time they want, even the best-looking website is not going to help your bottom line.

Smartphones reinforce the need for speed. Today, more than  half of all organic searches in the U.S are from a mobile device, making mobile optimization a top priority for brands. In 2018, Google announced mobile site speed as a ranking factor in search as well.

Testing and Optimizing Page Load Times

OK, you're convinced your site needs to load quickly. Now what?

First, you should run a test. Google's PageSpeed Insights is the best resource for seeing where you stand, because Google's opinion is the one that matters most. 

Testing with Google will tell you how quickly your website pages load on a 100-point scale. Based on your results, Google will then make specific recommendations for improvement, such as removing unused JavaScript, avoiding multiple redirects and more.

By investing in a quality website platform like HubSpot CMS and working with an experienced developer, you can make improvements until your page load times are lightning fast.

The bottom line is that your website is arguably the most important representation of your brand -- online or off --and an underperforming site reduces trust. 

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