The simple truth is this: a faster website generates more revenue. Just like a high-speed train between two cities can be great for the economy – boosting business and productivity – a faster website can help you grow your business faster.
Benefits of fast-loading websites
In terms of the digital user experience, there are few things as important as a fast-loading website. Just as your car needs to be started quickly when you’re in a hurry, your website has to respond to the demands of the modern-day consumer.
A fast website for the time-conscious 21st-century customer
The faster the loading speed of your website, the faster your customers can find the products and services they want and make a purchase. Interestingly, Greg Linden, a former employee of Amazon, reported that for every 100 minutes it takes for the online retail giant’s website to load, it loses about 1 percent of its sales.
Faster loading speeds help your customers buy your products quickly
The faster your customers can purchase one item, the more time they will have (in theory) to buy another. For example, if someone had a 10-minute break at work and decided they wanted to buy a new photo frame as quickly as possible, perhaps it might take them three minutes to choose the frame, one minute to confirm the order and enter their credit card details, and another minute to receive e-mail confirmation.
In that e-mail, perhaps the customer receives a special offer entitling them to a 20% discount on their next order, presumably as a special thank-you for making the purchase.
Satisfied customers may spend more money
That customer feels satisfied that they got what they wanted – when they wanted – and quickly, without delays. Therefore, they’ve had a positive user experience. Because the customer still has five minutes of their break left, they could (again, in theory) decide to make a second purchase, even if they only intended to make one purchase in the beginning. Let’s assume that the customer did make the second purchase, which means they ended up buying two frames during their work break.
There are two elements that affected the customer’s decision here: one is that the customer had a positive website experience, and the second is that the business used a clever marketing technique to entice the customer to purchase more products than they originally intended.
But just imagine if the website pages had taken too long to load and the customer had felt frustrated? They may have managed to make their first purchase (unless the website crashed or was very slow to load), but they wouldn’t have had time to make another purchase. The impact of the 20% next-order discount in reinforcing the positive perception of the business would not have been as great.
Each second counts
Online, every second matters. There is a substantial body of data showing that slow loading time is one of the key factors that encourages someone to abandon a web page and go elsewhere. This applies to all devices – from mobile-friendly WordPress websites to desktop- and tablet-optimised websites, where responsive web design and fast loading speeds play important roles in the user experience.
Sam Johnson is the editor of the Essex Business Hub, which is the newest business support network in Essex.