Speed is the most important factor of a website. Fast-loading websites do better on every aspect: they get higher search engine ranking, they get more visitor engagement, and they provide a superior user experience. Perhaps most importantly though, quick-loading websites provide higher revenue and quicker conversion rates.
A slow website inhibits mobile traffic. If mobile traffic is part of your target demographics, your website speed becomes even more important. A 4MB website may load quickly on a PC, but very poorly on a mobile phone relying on mobile data. Many websites load very slowly on a mobile phone, so you can be the one that stands out in the crowd if you improve your mobile rendering speed.
Optimal Website Speed
It is fantastic if you can get your website to load in a second or less, but even under three seconds is a good time frame for it to load. Seven seconds is alright but you’ll need to do better. You will definitely lose a noticeable amount of traffic though if it loads in ten seconds or more.
Strangeloops did a study on the page rendering times of the best 2,000 e-commerce websites. The conclusion was that web pages are getting bigger, and it is taking up to ten seconds to load them. The e-commerce websites that were at the very top though only took 4.9 seconds to load on average.
Intriguing Facts About Web Page Rendering Times and User Behaviors
Here are some intriguing facts to think about when you consider whether you should speed up your website:
- 47% of visitors expect your website to render in two seconds
- 57% of visitors will leave the page if it takes more than three seconds to load
- During peak traffic, 75% of viewers went to a competitor’s website instead of staying on the delayed page
- The University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that the most tolerated web page rendering time was two seconds. You can make it as high as 38 more seconds if you offer some form of feedback like a loading symbol or progress bar.
- Websites that load in three seconds have a 50% higher bounce rate, 22% less page views, and 22% less conversions when compared to websites that load in one second. Websites that load in five seconds have a 105% higher bounce rate, 35% fewer page views, and 38% less page conversions.
- 8% of customers report slow websites as the main reason they abandon their purchase.
What Google Recommends
In the past several years, internet technology has advanced enough to significantly speed up web page rendering times. Google recommends that webmasters get their pages to load in a second or less on mobile devices. This helps ensure that visitors don’t abandon a web page due to waiting for it to load.
Google has made a tool called Pagespeed as part of their Insights toolkit which examines websites to determine the issues related to web page rendering times. It takes about seven seconds for a mobile web page to load according to Google Analytics and other studies. This is just too long of a time for mobile users to wait. This wait seems like forever to them since they are used to getting broadband speeds at home. Mobile speeds plummet even more on 3G and 4G networks compared to broadband. Because mobile networks cannot be made to go any faster, it is important to make sure you speed up your mobile website.
Critical Rendering Path
The average user’s critical rendering path is 100 milliseconds — this is the maximum time for something to seem like an instant to the average person. Since we can definitely notice delays that take between 100 and 300 milliseconds, we tend to start leaving web pages that take over one second to load. This is even more noticeable when a mobile website takes seven seconds to load. This is why 75% of viewers will leave a website that takes four seconds to load.
Google helps solve the critical rendering path issue with some suggestions for mobile websites. There are five steps that a mobile device goes through in order to render a website. Google recommends that none of these steps take up more time than 200 milliseconds to achieve a successful one-second page rendering time.
Factors That Limit Page Rendering Speed
Here are some more statistics on why page rendering speed is so important:
- Mobile phone users tend to leave your business website if it doesn’t load in under three seconds
- 75% of viewers agree that they will leave a website, never to return, if that website doesn’t load in under four seconds
- Google factors in page rendering speed heavily as part of its search engine rankings
So having a fast website is absolutely vital in this day and age. Slow websites will simply die out.
Three of the most limiting factors in page rendering speed are lack of a content delivery network, large images, and inefficient hosting.
The total demand placed on your server is directly related to how long your website will take to load. Rendering images, which requires an HTTP request to the server, can slow down your page rendering times substantially. Large, high-resolution images take ten times more time to load than normal images. This of course will affect how long it takes your web page to render.
If you’re serious about your page rendering time, make sure you are optimizing all of your images to load quickly. You can do this by compressing their image size using any photo editing software. This eliminates any unnecessary white space. Also, important, make sure your images are scaled correctly to your website so no time is wasted resizing them for the page. Making efficient use of browser caching can significantly help speed up the time it takes the browser to render images as well. Last but not least, CSS Sprites may help you speed up your image’s rendering time by combining them all into one large image.
If you find that you need to utilize a large image, try dicing it up using web designing software. This cuts up the image into smaller sized chunks so the browser doesn’t have to struggle to render the entire image at once.
Content Delivery Network
Content delivery networks (CDNs) provide web pages instantaneously by storing a copy of them on multiple servers throughout the world, then rendering the web page to the viewer by utilizing the server closest to the viewer’s geographical location. Internet service providers also use CDNs to serve static and dynamic web pages. CDN technology also is great for TV programming streaming as well as streaming audio and video.
CDNs are great for speeding up the rendering time of a web page, but they’re also good to handle peak traffic times and times that your web server may be down. CDNs can help compensate for this by continuing to serve your web pages even though their server of origin is overloaded or down.
Inefficient web hosts slow down your page rendering times and can kill your business. Make sure that you’re choosing an outstanding web hosting provider that can ensure your website is capable of loading in one second or less. Currently, web hosting has become a very inexpensive resource. Unfortunately this has resulted in a slew of inefficient web hosting providers.
Signs of Inefficient Hosting
Your website takes a long time to load — Chances are high that your web hosting provider lacks the bandwidth to handle everything in their system. Sufficient bandwidth is what sets great hosting providers apart from the crowd. Some web hosting providers offer you steeply discounted rates by sharing bandwidth across all their users. If the users are using more than they can support, this will result in slow loading times.
Your website is down for long periods of time — A good web hosting provider will guarantee you a 99% or higher uptime, and back that guarantee by offering your money back or hosting credits if they don’t meet that standard. Excessive downtime can rob you of revenue, new visitors, and return visitors. If your website is down a lot, don’t waste any time in seeking a new web hosting provider.Hosting reviews is an excellent resource to check if you are in the market for a new web hosting provider.
Poor customer support — Most web hosting providers promise 24/7 support, but they may not hold up to this standard when things go awry. If your web hosting provider disappears when you need their support, or they are unable to answer your questions effectively, avoid the needless frustration. Look for a new web hosting provider.
Your website gets hacked a lot — If you are running an e-commerce website, you need all the security you can get. Getting your website hacked frequently will severely dampen your visitor’s trust in your company, and can lose your valuable business. It is part of a web hosting provider’s responsibility to you to provide good security to keep your website safe from hackers. If you find your website is getting hacked frequently, it’s a sign it’s time to find a new web hosting provider.
You lose website data — Another responsibility of a web hosting provider is to make regular backups of your website data so if there is a problem that causes you to lose your website, they can restore it. If you find you are losing website data time and time again, it’s time to shop for a new web hosting provider that makes regular daily backups of all their customer’s data.
Speed Makes a Difference
A speedier website can be the difference between you placing on the third page in a Google search and placing on the first page. A faster page rendering time can also be the difference between you gaining 100 new customers or losing 75% of them to a competitor. Success on the web hangs on your ability to create a website that loads in a second or less. So do everything you can to ensure your website is the speediest possible, and you will be met with success on the web.