Do you like to be stuck on a webpage that takes more than six seconds to load?
Stop. Go back and read that first sentence again, out loud.
OK, that probably took you about three seconds to read. And Google tells us that 53 percent of mobile users will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. That means between the time you read “Do” and “load,” more than half of your potential customers on mobile devices would have left your homepage if it was still loading.
It gets worse. It’s not just that half of your mobile visitors are really impatient. Google also says that, for ecommerce sites, every additional second a page takes to load decreases your conversion rate by up to 20 percent. Picture five people on their phones at the same time, looking at your site. For each second your page is loading, one of them disappears. Five seconds to load, five customers lost.
It might help you understand how costly that can be if you look at the big picture — the much bigger picture.
Amazon experienced a glitch that created a 0.1 second increase in page load times. That tenth of a second led to a full 1 percent drop in sales. Cost to Amazon: $1.3 billion.
Walmart did a refit to their site that decreased page load times by a second. Just one second. And their online sales increased by two percent, or $274 million.
At Yahoo, a 0.4 second decrease in load times brought a 9 percent increase in traffic. That’s 600 million extra users a month.
OK, maybe your company isn’t looking at Amazon or Walmart-sized sales figures. But page load speeds still matter to you, because they matter for SEO — search engine optimization. When a user searches for a business like yours and Google picks your page for their results, how high on the results page your listing shows up depends on a number of parameters. One of them is bounce rate, or how long the average viewer stays on your site. A low bounce rate tells Google your content is relevant, and that can move you up the search results page.
And what contributes to high bounce rates? Slow page load speeds.
There are a bunch of ways we can help you bring those load speeds down, but there’s one you can do on your own, and it’s easy and cheap. The number-one cause of slow page load speeds is images. Pictures. You may have great photography to show on your site, but if you’re using those high-resolution images the way they came out of your camera or even your phone, that’s slowing your pages way, way down. Those are enormous images — 2 or even 3 megabytes. They’re so big that your monitor can’t even show them at full resolution unless you’re seeing them full-screen. You want images for your pages that are 500 kilobytes or smaller.
There are a number of tools for testing page load speeds, but you don’t need them for that first step. You need to shrink those images.