Slow websites are irritating, let’s face it.
And they’re harmful to user experience, conversion, and trust – but there’s nothing that focusses the mind like a Google algorithm.
So in a bid to stop the increasing plodding onslaught of gloopy websites, Google is penalising the slowest ones with lower search rankings.
Google’s research has shown that 53% of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. And shockingly, it noted the average mobile site took 15 seconds to load.
That was back in 2018, but site speed seems to be getting worse rather than better, but that will change when Google rolls out its Core Web Vitals algorithm later this year.
Part of the problem is that owners don’t always aware their site is slow because it seems fast enough when they test it.
Here’s the rub… Testing on your own mobile device doesn’t give the true picture, due to browser caching. And people are seemingly very patient when it comes to loading their own site, but not so when they’re trying to get something done on somebody else’s.
So a site which loads in three seconds may seems acceptable to its owner, but in reality, could actually be taking 15 seconds to load for a first-time visitor who hasn’t got the benefit of a cached version in their browser.
Why does it matter?
Speed matters because it’s directly related to user experience and that is related to conversion, you know, that thing that makes people spend money with you.
Slow sites turn people away, there’s no doubt about that, and that’s why it matters. You could be literally leaving money on the table and it could go on for years if you don’t do something about it.
So how to measure
If you browse through an optimised site like this one, you’ll see the pages load instantly when you click a link, no waiting at all. That’s a good test, but you can also measure using an online tool such as GT Metrix.
This provides a good benchmark of speed from an independent first-time visitor perspective.
I won’t go int the detail of the measurement because it’s fairly complex, but briefly, the service will return a measurement using traffic light symbolism. If you’re all green you’ve nothing to worry about, if you’ve got some reds in there, or even oranges, you should do something about it.
Try out the tool and if you need any help, get in touch.