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The Index: How Load Speed Influences User Experience and Brand Perception

Jul 13, 2022
Digital Marketing
by Sydney Frenkel
The Index: How Load Speed Influences User Experience and Brand Perception

What’s one of the leading causes of high bounce rates? Simple: load speed. Sure, a digital property should be both aesthetically pleasing and functional. But, if these elements are not properly optimized, website speed will suffer and damage users’ brand perception, especially for first-time visitors. 

Anyone who visits a website cares about how quickly it loads. According to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less. Kissmetrics’ analytics say that 40 percent of consumers will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Aaron Sines, Big Drop’s VP of Business Development, stated the following:

While most of us understand that poor load speeds have a negative effect on user experience, what many of our clients overlook is that website load speeds and overall performance affect so much more than UX alone. Website load speed is among the most important factors in the number of content users consumed per session while also serving as an influencer of conversion and bounce rates alike. Equally as critical, major search engines are placing an increased emphasis on page speeds when determining content placement across the search engine results page. For these reasons, we tell our clients that website speed is at the top of their mind both during a website redesign as well as post-launch.”

Speed is an essential part of the user experience. This article details three reasons why website speed is important and three tools to help optimize website speed. Check out our article on Bounce Rates to learn about how load speed factors into high bounce rates. 

User Experience

When a customer first visits a website, they expect it to load quickly. Keep in mind that first impressions are crucial for online businesses. Speed has a significant impact on how people perceive a brand online. It’s human nature to think of a faster website as more trustworthy and professional. A slow website, on the other hand, irritates users, and most leave in favor of other, faster sites to fulfill their needs. Overcoming a poor first impression can be very challenging.

SEO Rankings

According to Google, page load speed became a direct ranking factor for mobile searches as of July 2018, and became a ranking factor for all pages with the release of its Core Web Vitals update in June 2021. Like other search engines, Google places a high value on pages that provide positive user experiences and rewards sites with better ranking accordingly.

Conversions

Conversely, search engines like Google penalize websites that take too long to load. Inevitably, customers and visitors will stop returning to such sites or leave if pages take too long to load. As a result, the potential for customer acquisition, and therefore, revenue, is lost.

This is true, especially for e-commerce websites. According to Kissmetrics, A one-second delay leads to a 7% reduction in conversion. Put another way, if an e-commerce site makes $50,000 per day, a delay of one second could potentially result in approx. $1.28 million of lost revenue every year.

A fast website is a must for businesses to be successful on the web. A fast-loading website not only provides a preferable user experience but also helps to leave a positive impression on customers. As a result, optimizing page load speed is necessary for every website developer and tester, and must be at the top of their priority list from the start of any development lifecycle.

Tools for Measuring & Improving Site Speed

Pingdom Speed Test checks website speed in over 100 countries using a global network of testing centers. This tool accurately analyzes user experience from anywhere in the world and identifies localized issues that require further investigation.

Google Developers PageSpeed Insights (PSI) is used to report the performance of mobile and desktop devices. It also provides suggestions on how to improve pages. In addition, PSI can give advice on lab and field data. Lab data is useful for debugging performance issues, and field data is useful for capturing real-world user experience. 

Test My Site by Google is a tool provided by Google which assesses the speed of mobile sites and provides recommendations to enhance the site experience. The tool uses data from Google to offer custom recommendations that will help improve your page and site speed.

PageSpeed Module is a server add-on from Google. Its goal is to address any page speed issues at the source, directly on the server. This means that unoptimized images will become compressed, optimized, and converted to next-generation image formats.

Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a subset of HTML that has been stripped of heavy, slow-loading elements. Furthermore, as the user scrolls through the search results, AMP pages will preload in all major browsers, resulting in an instant load of the page when the user taps the title.

Summary

Because mobile browsing is taking over the web, having a high-performing mobile site is becoming increasingly more important. Mobile sites that load quickly receive higher engagement and conversion rates, as well as a boost in SEO. Set up a time to chat with Big Drop today to implement these strategies.

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