I’d wager that you are familiar with the marketing truism of the digital age: content is king. While true in itself, this principle needs to be expanded considerably if it is to serve a real meaning in the fast paced world of today.
Content is only as good as the speed at which it is served and retrieved. Even the most valuable page would be of use to no one if it takes a whole minute to load. A minute, you may think, is not that much. Thousands of them pass by us each day without much of a notice.
When our minds are occupied in any semi-interesting activity, time tends to fly by. While waiting for a white screen to be populated with meaning, though, with text, pictures, and videos, then time all but stops. Saturated to the brim with boredom and anxious anticipation, each second stretches tantalizingly toward infinity.
The cold hard numbers from the infographic below support this sentiment. Here are a few statistics about the effect slow pages have on the bounce rates.
- 74% of users leave a site that takes longer than 5 seconds to load on desktop devices. Three-fourths of all traffic would bail.
- A separate survey found out that 39% of users would navigate away if the images are slow to render, regardless of whether other meaningful content like text loads fine.
Things look equally gloomy for slow e-commerce web pages; possibly, even gloomier because making an e-store quick and nimble is considerably harder than achieving good speeds with a blog.
Regardless, the fact remains that 51% of online shoppers quote slow website loading as the main reason to not complete a transaction. That’s just over half of all sales, potentially, gone for good. These customers quiet possibly, went to a competitor’s site that loads a couple of seconds faster.
This last stat puts into perspective how precious a second or two could be. Achieving speeds under 3 seconds helps increase the chance that the customer will go through with the transaction. Go to 5 or more and you will see the bulk of visitors bouncing away almost instantly.
Missed direct revenue is only half the story, though.
The main impact high bounce rates have is upon search engine ranking. Speed optimization is a main part of any proper SEO strategy because a high bounce rate tells to the search engines: “I was looking for <keyword> and this site seemed to be mostly about <keyword> but the site wasn’t good and I navigated away.”
Now, search engines as a whole, and Google in particular, take into consideration user data. (That’s one of the main useful reasons behind harvesting all possible bits of information about us.)
High bounce rate is a particularly worrisome signal for the search engines. It can mean (typically) two things: the site had content that was irrelevant to <keyword> or the user experience was too poor to bear.
You can probably imagine that neither of these scenarios are particularly flattering for your site and its position in the SERP. Irrelevant content and bad user experience means that the site has no right to be in the top results for said keyword.
And if all that weren’t enough trouble already, about 44% of surveyed internet users said that they are quick to share negative experiences with their peers and family over the social media channel. In other words, the disaster becomes less and less mitigated, purely because your website takes too long to load.
If you want to have loyal customers who return for more of your goods and services, make sure to provide them with the seamless experience. Speed is an essential part of this.