Why speed matters
People are impatient, and with the increase in mobile web traffic (As of February 2021, 55.56 percent of all web traffic comes through mobile phones), we want everything instantly. Faster page speed gives better user experience, can increase page views, increase conversions rate, reduce bounce rate and impact Google website ranking:
- Page load time directly impacts bounce rate.
(Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who enter your site and then leave, or ‘bounce’ rather than clicking through to any other pages on your site).
A study on e-commerce websites by Pingdom shows that pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that load in five seconds see their bounce rates skyrocket to 38%. Most reasons for why a visitor bounces from a page can be traced down to the poor page performance, or poor page content.
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Study by Akamai.
- 40% of shoppers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a retail or travel site. Study by Akamai.
- 23% of dissatisfied online shoppers attributed their dissatisfaction to the web site being too slow or taking too long to load. Study by Akamai.57% of online shoppers insist on a rapid checkout process. Study by Akamai.
- One-third of shoppers who abandoned a recent shopping session were dissatisfied with a retail or travel site’s performance. Study by Akamai.
- Core Web Vitals are Google’s new standards for evaluating whether a page provides a good user experience. This means your site’s page speed and page loading time will impact your rankings.
- Three of the top four SEO UX signals show the strongest correlation with top placement in Google rankings are factors dependent on page speed: Bounce rate, time on site and pages per session. Study by Social Media Explorer.
We all know that having a fast website is something important for any online business. For every extra second, you’re estimated to lose 11% traffic and 7% conversion rates. This translates into quite significant profit losses on the long term. Page load Best Practice for e-commerce websites is max 2 seconds and for general website the max is 3 seconds. Two seconds is the new threshold in terms of an average online shopper’s expectation for a web page to load. These results demonstrate that a poorly performing web site can be damaging to retailer’s brand and reputation.
Mobile vs Desktop
One analysis of 5 million desktop and mobile pages found that the average time it takes to fully load a webpage is 10.3 seconds on desktop, and 27.3 seconds on mobile.
But it’s important to optimize your mobile page speeds as much as possible, because it’s still the preferred method of browsing. Indeed, mobile minutes accounted for 77% of online time in the US in 2019.
In a 2018 study of US web traffic, mobile devices accounted for 58% of site visits and 42.3% of total time spent online. More people browse on smartphones than on desktops, even though the user experience is still better on the latter.
Sources: Statista, Pew Research Center
In fact, 46% of people say waiting for pages to load is what they dislike most about browsing the web on mobile, while 73% of mobile users have encountered websites that take too long to load.
How do users’ expectations differ on mobile vs desktop?
When it comes to waiting for pages to load, most consumers think they’re more patient than they actually are.
85% of mobile users expect pages to load as fast or faster than they do on desktop, while one study of UK consumers even found that 14% of shoppers expect pages to load instantly on mobile.
If you’re looking for an easier goal: 64% of smartphone users expect pages to load in under four seconds, while 74% of mobile users in the US would abandon mobile sites that don’t load within five seconds.
What are the most common problems on mobile?
60% of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered at least one problem while browsing within the last 12 months. Of those mobile users, how many have encountered a website that…
Was too slow to load? 73%.
Crashed, froze, or received an error? 51%.
Had formatting that was difficult to read? 48%.
Didn’t function as expected? 45%.
Simply wasn’t available? 38%.
So, what can be done about these issues? Some site owners turn to Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP. AMP is a project rolled out by Google and Twitter, and it’s basically a stripped-down version of HTML that allows mobile pages to load much faster.
AMP pages are meant to be “so fast they appear to load instantly,” which could help manage those pesky customer expectations we talked about earlier. That said, 32% of marketers have shied away from AMP because they don’t have the developer capacity to implement it.
What is Page Load Time (or Webpage Speed) and how is it measured?
Generally speaking, a website page load time is the time it takes for someone to see the content after they’ve landed on a webpage.
However, the answer isn’t really as cut and dry as that. Saying “my website loads in X.X seconds” is distorted from reality. Why? Website speed is a fluid concept, for two reasons:
- Webpages don’t load all at once—they load piece by piece
- Website speed varies from webpage to webpage and user to user, depending on each page’s attributes and the user’s browser, device, and internet speedIf you want to get more detailed, webpage speed can be divided into two different categories: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOMContent Loaded (DCL).
First Contentful Paint (FCP)
First Contentful Paint (FCP) is the time it takes for you to see the first piece on content on a webpage after you’ve landed there.
Typically, webpages load each element individually, but not all at the same time. Have you ever clicked on a webpage to find that the top half has loaded, but the bottom half is still working on it? Or have you landed on a webpage where some parts appear first, and then more detailed parts appear second? Then you’ve experienced First Contentful Paint (FCP).
DomContent Loaded (DCL)
The various parts of a webpage don’t load all at once. DOMContent Loaded (DCL) is the time it takes for every bit of code on the top and bottom of a webpage to load. That includes everything in the First Contentful Paint (FCP) and everything else that comes after.
How is webpage speed measured?
You need to stop thinking of your website speed as a fixed number. Why? Because there’s a difference in what objective data tells you and how it’s actually experienced in the real world.
Google said it best:
…load is not a single moment in time—it’s an experience that no one metric can fully capture. There are multiple moments during the load experience that can affect whether a user perceives it as ‘fast’, and if you just focus on one you might miss bad experiences that happen during the rest of the time.
Here’s an example: Let’s say two people go to the same webpage from different devices and with different internet speeds. During both visits, the webpage takes the same amount of time to load completely. However, the first user can see the images loading immediately, if not all at once. The second user is presented with a blank white screen until the entire page has loaded, leaving the user to wonder if it’s even working.
What affects website speed?
What is a good speed for website?
If you want a quick answer, the Google recommended page load time is under two seconds: “Two seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.” Fast matters, especially when it comes to customer service.
GTmetrix now measures your page performance based on user-centric metrics in addition to how well it’s constructed. To improve your mobile site use the Think with Google tool. It gives insights on speed, how to optimise, compare with competitors, improved the shopping experience and conversions.
|GTmetrix Performance Score
|Loading performance (55%):
|First Contentful Paint (FCP)
Measures how quickly content like text or images are painted onto your page.
Measures how quickly the contents of your page are visibly populated.
|≤ 1.3 s
|Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Measures how long it takes for the largest content element on your page to become visible within your visitors’ viewport.
|≤ 2.5 s
|First Input Delay (FID)
Measures your user’s first impression of your site’s interactivity and responsiveness.
|≤ 100 ms
|100 ms ≥ 300 ms
|Time to Interactive
How long it takes for your page to become fully interactive.
|≤ 2.5 s
|Total Blocking Time
How much time is blocked by scripts during your page loading process.
|≤ 150 ms
|Visual Stability (5%):
|Cumulative Layout Shift
How much your page’s layout shifts as it loads.
|Page Load aim:
|Page Load actual:
|Page Load (Fully Loaded Time)
This is the maximum time after FCP and Onload have triggered, and there has been network and CPU idle (5.25 s each) after the last request has been captured.
|0-2 s ideal
3 s acceptable
Total Page Size – 341KB
When it comes to mobile pages, speed and size matter. Marketers must keep people engaged on mobile and focus on building mobile-first experiences. Check out the charts below for a global perspective on mobile across industry sectors, including guidelines for speed, webpage size, and the number of content pieces per page.
How to speed up your WordPress site
Speed up the website with plugins such as W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache or WP Rocket. These plugins enables caching on WordPress websites with the goal of improving their loading times. Learn more about: W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache or WP Rocket.
Page Speed Booster
The Asset CleanUp plugin offers even more page speed. It scans your page and detects all the assets that are loaded. All you have to do when editing a page/post is just to select the CSS/JS that are not necessary to load, this way reducing the bloat. The plugin works best in combination with a cache plugin (e.g. WP Rocket, WP Fastest Cache, W3 Total Cache), a hosting company that offers packages with server-level caching available (e.g. WP Engine, Kinsta) or a service like Cloudflare that has page caching enabled. Learn more about Asset CleanUp here.
Website Speed Test
A website speed test tool can be used to evaluate the performance of your website and see where improvements can be made. Some test tools also gives recommendation on how to optimize issues. Google PageSpeed Insights test for all devices. Learn more about: GTmetrix, PageSpeed Insights, KeyCDN, Pingdom, or Catchpoint.
Use a plugin like Imagify to dramatically reduce image file sizes without losing quality. This will make your website load faster and boost your SEO. Learn more about Imagify here.
Search Engine Optimization
Yoast SEO Free plugin is an all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, it contains everything that you need to manage your SEO, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. The Yoast SEO Premium plugin and its extensions unlock even more tools and functionality. Learn more about Yoast SEO here.
To improve your mobile site use the Think with Google tool. It gives insights on speed, how to optimise, compare with competitors, improved the shopping experience and conversions. Learn more about the Think with Google tool here.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a highly-distributed platform of servers that helps minimize delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. CDNs not only ensure a faster experience to your users, but they also help to prevent site crashes in the event of traffic surges – CDNs help to distribute bandwidth across multiple servers, instead of allowing one server to handle all traffic. Learn more about StackPath, Cloudflare, Hostry, Akamai and KeyCDN.
In short, speed equals revenue.. No matter what, faster is better and less is more.
A 2 second load time might not be a feasible goal for your page, but to ensuring that 70% of your visitors are satisfied with your site experience might be.
A trade-off between Many factors affect a page’s bounce rate. The majority of these can be categorized into either performance-related or content-related factors.
Technical page performance is still vital to delivering a good visitor experience, as is making sure your content is relevant to your visitors. That’s why site optimization should be focused on delivering great content as quickly, even if quickly is over 2 seconds.
Our Visitor Insights end-user monitoring takes out the guesswork from understanding how your visitors experience your site, who your most important visitors are, what’s causing bottlenecks in your site’s performance and much more.
Many factors affect a page’s bounce rate. The majority of these can be categorized into either performance-related or content-related factors.
Simply, most reasons for why a visitor bounces from a page can be traced down to the poor page performance, or poor page content.
End-user experience monitoring like Visitor Insights helps you identify what is affecting your bounce rate by identifying which pages experiencing performance bottlenecks and what’s causing them.
By identifying how you can optimize your page’s performance, you can minimize load time and the chances that your bounce rate is performance related.
Speed Related Articles:
Think with Google: Find out how you stack up to new industry benchmarks for mobile page speed
Social Media Explorer: How much does page speed matter as an SEO factor in 2019?
Speed Analytic Tools:
Pingdom: Visitor Insights
Visitor Insights shows you how many of your site visitors are satisfied and how many are frustrated with your page’s load time.
WordPress Speed Plugins:
How to Increase Page Speed:
How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line
Website Load Time Statistics: Why Speed Matters in 2021
How fast should a website load?
How To Speed Up Your WordPress Site