Poor page speed = poor e-commerce sales

Turn switch with different speed dials on

Having a fantastically designed site is a great start to your online business. If your page speed isn’t up to scratch though, you may have wasted the time and money you’ve invested in it.

Why page speed matters

A slow loading speed has two major implications for your business – user experience and Google ranking.

User experience

If they have to wait too long, users lose patience and go elsewhere, rather than taking the time to explore your site further. That means they won’t be buying anything from you or even join your mailing list. They probably won’t bother coming back to try again either, and they may even tell others about their bad experience.

According to the Aberdeen Group, for every 1 second increase in load time for an e-commerce site, the result is:

  • A 7% loss in conversions;
  • 11% fewer page views; and
  • A 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

Google ranking

Google’s algorithms have been penalising sites that load slowly on desktops for years. From mid-2018, the same will apply to mobile site speed. When your website is not up to speed (and responsive too), there’s a good chance your business may drop down the search rankings, making it that much harder for potential customers to find you.

Case studies: Page speed vs sales figures

In case you need any further convincing, these case studies should do it:

Case-studies page speed

Source: Created by Comalytics, data taken from here and here

As an e-commerce business, it’s clear that both user experience and Google ranking will affect your bottom line. The good news is that page speed can be optimised – but first you need to know what you’re working with.

Poor page speed – what does it mean exactly?

Page speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your page loads.

There are three types of page speed, of which the first two can be measured by various tools. The third one comes down to perception and great website design.

  1. Loading time: This is how long it takes for the page’s information to download onto the device being used to view it. It depends on file size and internet connection speed.
  2. Processing time: Once the download is complete, the user’s internet browser needs to process and render it for display. This depends on efficient website code, as well as what else is happening on the user’s device.
  3. Perceived website speed or performance: When a website is cleverly designed to match the needs of the user, with simple and intuitive navigation, a slow website can seem faster. In contrast, a fast site can seem very slow if bad design makes navigating it feel like hard work.

So how fast is fast enough?

The ideal page loading time is under 2 seconds. After 2.5 seconds, users start to click away.

Quote from Google

According to Kissmetrics:

  • After 3 seconds, 40% of potential visitors using a desktop will give up and go elsewhere.
  • Mobile users are slightly more forgiving, and will give your website 5 seconds before 18% abandon it.

With so many factors affecting it, including your web host, the coding and design of your site, and internet line speed, page speed changes all the time. Luckily you and your developer are in control of at least some of these factors. It’s well worth doing regular testing on your (hopefully responsive) site so you can quickly sort out any issues.

How to test your site speed

There are many tools available to do this yourself:

  • Google Page Insights: Google’s tool checks the compliance of both the desktop and mobile view of your site. Note: Google recently changed its method for this and, depending on the amount of traffic they receive, some sites may now display an ‘unavailable’ result.
  • Pingdom: See how your site compares with others Pingdom has tested
  • GTmetrix: This handy tool tells you how to optimise your webpage
  • WebPageTest: Test your website across different platforms using data from around the world
  • Old-fashioned stop watch: With your website open on your screen, do a hard refresh and measure the loading time with a stop watch. Note: Google can tell you how to do a hard refresh for your operating system/browser combination.

Note: Testing page speed is not an exact science and your test results may differ across these tools. It’s also worth mentioning that the tools’ servers are situated mostly outside of South Africa, possibly skewing the results. Despite this, they are very useful as a starting point to optimise your page speed and fix errors. To truly understand how your customers experience your site though, you may well find that the very simple, albeit not very scientific, ‘old fashioned’ method works best.

Why not test your site speed on one of these right now?

Alternatively, we are always happy to do a site speed audit for you on request. We use Google Page Insights, GTmetrix and our own custom profiler, which is embedded in our software.

We take your need for page speed seriously

At Comalytics our B2C software is based on the nopCommerce platform. With over 1.800.000 downloads, nopCommerce is a world-class e-commerce platform that compares favourably with Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce. In fact, nopCommerce won the CMS Critic’s Best eCommerce for SMB award in 2015 and in 2017, they were the runners-up in the Best eCommerce Solution category.

The latest version of nopCommerce (4.0) includes many enhancements in speed and performance. And with speed becoming increasingly more important, further enhancements are planned for version 4.10, which is due for release later this year. For the more technical details on this, see here.

Although optimising site speed is an ongoing process that requires continual monitoring, it’s completely worth it. Imagine the results if you could reduce your page load times by 1 or 2 seconds.

Contact us to do a site speed audit and/or migrate your site to our B2C platform.

Bottom line

Page speed matters. A fast-loading site positively impacts your bottom line by boosting both conversions and your Google ranking. With every second you shave off your load time, you’re boosting potential customers’ confidence in your business. They’re likely to tell others, who will tell others, and so the circle of trust grows, along with your business. A few seconds really can make all the difference.

Tell us about your experiences with site speed below. How does an especially slow or fast site influence your opinion about a business?

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