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Your Website’s Load Time may be Affecting your Conversion Rates

December 22, 2020

In eCommerce, your products and marketing campaigns are not the only factors that can affect your business’ conversion rates. According to numerous marketing studies, the speed of your website’s load time also has a direct effect on conversions. 

As indicated in these studies, a slow loading time can cause visitors to leave your site, causing your business to miss out on potential sales. In this article, we’ll discuss how page load times can affect your site’s conversion and what you can do to solve this issue. 

Stats On Site Speed

A study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, a company that analyses data on buyer behaviour, revealed that about 20% of visitors immediately leave a website if they encounter a three-second delay in page load time. 

A similar study carried out by web analytics solution company Kissmetrics indicated that around 79% of online shoppers are less likely to purchase from the same site if they encounter slow load times during their first visit. 

Since each visitor could bring in a potential sale that’s valued at an average of $50 according to Aberdeen, an e-commerce site that receives about 10,000 unique monthly visitors might be missing out on the chance to earn an additional $1.2 million a year due to the slow load times of its pages. 

If the pages of your site take too long to load, it could create a snowball effect that can significantly hurt your website conversion rates. Aside from driving away your visitors, slow loading time also has a direct impact on your site’s search ranking on Google. 

Organic Click Thru Rate
Organic Click Thru Rate

Basically, the search engine giant rewards websites that are efficient and optimised with high-search rank positions. Studies have shown that websites that land on the first page of Google’s search results have significantly higher click-through rates than those with lower rankings. This means that high-ranking sites receive positive actions from their visitors, such as clicking on call-to-action (CTA) buttons or completing purchases. 

Factors Affecting Your Site’s Speed

There are a number of reasons why your site’s pages might be slow. Although checking every aspect and element of your website may sound intimidating, you can narrow down the potential causes behind slow loading times to these three main factors: 

Coding Issues

Sometimes, eCommerce sites are made using codes that were patched or compiled together. Unfortunately, this coding technique could lead to unnecessarily long codes that could affect your site’s responsiveness. This issue creates code bloat, which could lead to inadequacies in your site’s programming language. 

Images

Although using high-quality images is always good for business, these elements play a huge role in slowing down your site’s loading speed. Many e-commerce operators make the mistake of uploading large image files and scaling them down on their site. As a result, the unnecessary size of the images weigh down on the site’s responsiveness, affecting the page’s load times.

Page Requests

Whenever someone clicks on your site, each element on your page requires a request to load in order to open properly through the visitor’s browser. According to Pingdom, a website performance and availability monitoring company, many eCommerce sites require an average of 169 requests for page elements to load. Since more requests lead to slower load times, the company suggested optimising each element in order to keep requests below 150. 

Reducing Your Site’s Load Time

When it comes to streamlining and optimising your website to increase its responsiveness, the first thing you need to do is to run tests to see which elements and factors are slowing it down. There are a number of online tools that you can use to do this, such as Pingdom’s Website Speed Test. As its name suggests, this tool will analyse your site’s load time and identify bottlenecks that could be affecting its speed. 

Once you have pinpointed the causes of your site’s slow speed, begin optimising them. For example, when it comes to images, scale them down based on your needs before uploading them to your site. It would also help to compress the images to speed up your site’s load times. 

If your website receives a high volume of traffic each month, it will help to consider using a content delivery network (CDN) service. Basically, a CDN provider divides the server load across various locations depending on where your traffic is coming from. Since your site’s visitors will be accommodated by a local server that’s close to their location, they’ll be able to browse through your site without delays. After all, the geographical distance of a server can increase a website’s loading speed. 

As you are optimising the various elements of your website, aim to achieve a load time of around three seconds. According to Google, the probability of visitors leaving your site increases as loading delays run from one to 10 seconds.