Your website’s loading speed is one of the most critical (and often overlooked) factors in determining the success of your website (and business!).
To understand the importance of something as technical as how fast your website loads to your business’s performance you have to understand what our mission is at Atilus.
Atilus’ Mission – Grow Your Organization
Atilus’ mission is to grow the businesses and organizations we work with. We don’t want to make a sale, build a site, or do any work for our clients – unless it’s providing them a return. To us that means…
money in < money out
With profit left over.
Hence our tagline “profit redesigned.” Every action we perform has us analyzing this in the background, and particularly when it comes to marketing – we always do analyses to determine the feasibility of a particular project, action, etc.
It’s with this in mind I wanted to write to you today about website speed. Truth be told I wasn’t planning on writing this article, but our friends over at Moz.com wrote a fantastic piece highlighting all of the technical details of How to Improve Your Conversion Rates With a Faster Website.
Before we get to conversion, what they are and how they impact your business and can be improved with a faster site. I want to connect the dots regarding website speed in general.
During the course of discussions with new clients (and re-iterated throughout our relationship) we refer to a website as a “store front.”
Your Website as Your (Physical) Store Front
I was having a discussion with a friend and potential client the other day and we were discussing this idea – your website as a store front. Coming from a marketing background and having built and run a couple of websites before – he was familiar with the idea and mentioned…
“Unlike the movie Field of Dreams… if you build it they will NOT come.”
I laughed and agreed. Your website can and will get some traffic when you launch. But when we build a site it’s a lot like we’re building it in a desert – no one will come to it, no one will know about it – unless you start building roads to it and putting up billboards directing passers by to stop.
Google as a Road Builder
From a technical perspective Google’s Search business is a lot like a librarian – on the consumer facing side you ask it for something, it tries to retrieve that something – and then it connects you to what it thinks is best. It’s this connection part that has me thinking I should extend my old analogy. When it comes to the business side of Google – how your business is listed and appears I think it might be better to look at Google as an infrastructure company – Google builds roads.
It’s with this principal in mind that speed should be considered. First – there’s this idea – if you look at Google as the largest (potential) road into your website, it’s important to consider “what is google thinking about when it’s evaluating building ‘roads’ into my site” and speed is one of them. They’re not going to build as many roads, if you have a slow website. You’re going to have one, lonely desert road directing traffic to your business if your site is slow. But let’s first look at the other factors look at:
Content – is it high quality, well written, and related to the audience? This is like building a store and populating it with great stuff, or crap. Or worse – populating it with a ton of unrelated items. A physical shopper is going to be frustrated if the store is dirty, smells like it hasn’t been cleaned – and signs are misspelled. A similar principal is being employed by google when it’s evaluating your site for its search engines and your use of content. Keep your content fresh, take time to craft it with care, and you’ll be good.
Links – This is basically the popularity of your site. Like any shop owner knows – the more people know about you – the more customers you’ll have. Links work the same way – if you get other sites, newspapers, magazines, etc. to write about you – google will but you that much higher on its listing.
HTML/Coding – this one is overlooked, but look at it this way – imagine if you had an automatic sliding door (think supermarkets). And, upon first visit – a visitor stepped up to the door and it open a little bit, slowed, stopped and reversed – slamming shut. At that point what is a person to do? Are they going to try to pry the door open? Break a window and bust through? Are you wares worth it? Particularly when a similar shop is just a short search away? No of course they won’t take the time. But, this is the kind of problem you’re presenting users when your site doesn’t “technically” work – when there’s a problem with functionality or code.
And it’s in this light we look at SPEED…
Your Website’s Speed And Its Effect on Sales
I’ll refrain from actually going through the technical details of how to tweak this and make your website faster (there’s a host of things a company can do) but I wanted to highlight some key points from the aforementioned Moz article that are so important to realize:
- 3% increased conversions for every second reduced from 15 seconds to 7 seconds
- 2% increased conversions for every second reduced from seconds 7 to 5
- 1% increased conversions for every second reduced from seconds 4 to 2
- 3-second page time reduction improves donations by 14%
A client of ours is selling a $200 product. We’re expecting thousands of sales this Christmas season (estimating 1mil visitors, and 50,000 sales). Using the top line as an example we can INCREASE unit sales by 1500 or roughly $300,000 in revenue. Keep in mind this is an INCREASE. Not to mention that, because the 3% increase is at the end of the sales funnel (it’s the purchase) it makes every single action, dollar invested, etc. 3% more effective.
It’s important to remember all of the factors that go into the success of your website while you’re building it, and while you’re marketing. We are constantly moving back and forth between the intricacies of the “store” (the website) up through the initial marketing and touches our clients’ clients receive to make sure everything