Loading Speed & Why It's Important
Just how long will you wait for a website to load? 1 second, 5 seconds, 10 seconds? Well, for approximately half of all web users, we won't wait longer than 3 seconds. If a site isn't loaded by then we simply give up and go elsewhere.
This is such an important factor that Google is highly aware of loading times and it plays a large part in the ranking of a website. As far back as 2010, Matt Cutts (from Google obviously) posted on the Google Webmaster Blog;
"We encourage you to start looking at your site's speed — not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone's experience on the Internet."
It's the visitors experience that matters most. Slow loading is guaranteed to annoy your visitor and you would likely lose the potential sale - especially on an eCommerce site. According to research from digital performance measurement firm Dynatrace, just a half second difference in page load times can make a 10% difference in sales for an online retailer.
PageSpeed Tools is a service that Google provides to developers and website owners. It is a test of loading time and it is the first place a developer should look to figure out if their site is fast enough:
The tool doesn't give you a specific loading time in seconds, rather a score out of 100 for mobile and desktop. The closer to 100 the better. It will also let you know what improvements can be made to increase your websites score.
On mobile devices it can be even more important. In a study published this month by Googles 'AMP' project, the analysis of 10,000+ mobile web domains resulted in an average loading time of 19 seconds over 3G connections - about as long as it takes to sing the entire alphabet song!
The study found that sites that load in 5 seconds vs 19 seconds observed:
25% higher ad viewability
70% longer average sessions
35% lower bounce rates
The study also explored the relationship between page speed and revenue. While there are several factors that impact revenue, the model projects that publishers whose mobile sites load in 5 seconds earn up to 2x more mobile ad revenue than those whose sites load in 19 seconds.
Ultimately, 1 out of 2 people expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds. How fast is yours?
1 - Akamai Technologies, “Consumer Web Performance Expectations Survey”, 2014
2 - NPR, “Keep Flu At Bay With A Song”, April 2009
3 - Webpagetest.org, Sampled 11.8K global mWeb homepage domains loaded using a fast 3G connection timing first view only (no cached resources), February 2016
4 - DoubleClick for Publishers, Google Active View ad viewability for 10.7K mWeb homepage domains with >70% measurable ad viewability, Global, February 2016
5 - Google Data, Aggregated, anonymized Google Analytics data from a sample of mWeb sites opted into sharing benchmark data, n=3.5K, Global, March 2016
6 - Google Data, Aggregated, anonymized Google Analytics data from a sample of mWeb sites opted into sharing benchmark data, n=2.8K, Global, March 2016
7 - Google Data, Aggregated, anonymized Google Analytics and DoubleClick AdExchange data from a sample of mWeb sites opted into sharing benchmark data, n=4.5K, Global, June 2015 - May 2016