When we surf the internet we love to see the information appear in our browser at high speed. We don’t like to wait in either real life or digital life. It is something so important that a discipline has been created within the digital world called WPO, ‘ Web Performance Optimization ‘. It encompasses all those techniques and processes that can be applied to each of the parts that intervene in a website, from the generation of the information to its presentation in the users’ browser, with the aim of optimizing them and thus obtaining the best speed possible load. In other words, it means that when a user requests a web page, it reaches them in the shortest possible time, within a reasonable margin.
I will dedicate this article and two more to website optimization. The scope of each article will be as follows:
- Importance of website optimization . Why it is important for a website to perform well.
- Optimization of a website focused on content . Measuring the performance of a website and techniques to improve performance focused on the content itself offered by the website.
- Optimization of a website focused on the infrastructures used . Improvement techniques focused on all those elements that intervene in a website that are not content, such as software technologies, their versions, type of web hosting and its geographical location, use of CDN (Content Delivery Network), etc.
IMPORTANCE OF HAVING AN OPTIMIZED WEBSITE
Various studies carried out on the consequences of offering or not an optimized website, which offers a good loading speed, leave no room for doubt:
- Many years ago, Amazon found that if they reduced the load of their web pages by a tenth of a second, they increased their sales by 1%.
- Walmart saw the same benefit as Amazon after completing a project to improve the loading speed of its web pages.
- Google was able to verify that if the results of its search engine took half a second longer to load, the searches were reduced by 25%.
- Firefox reduced the average loading time of its pages by 2.2 seconds and increased its downloads by 15.4%.
These examples highlight an increase in sales or greater utilization of the service offered, but they are not the only benefits. Let’s take a closer look at why it is important for a website to perform well for its users.
It represents the percentage of users of a website who leave it without using the service offered or without buying in the case of a store. The number one factor that contributes to website abandonment is the download speed of your pages , as you can see in this Kissmetrics infographic on web page load times.
This is especially relevant in online stores because for various reasons, not only the loading speed of its pages, its abandonment rate is high, of the order of 68%, according to this summary of abandonment statistics carried out since 2006. The abandonment of the purchase process with mobile devices reaches up to 97%
When we go to buy something in a physical store we usually go to a specific store, or, if we ‘go shopping’, we already have a generous margin of time to find what we are looking for. The digital world is different and when we want to buy something we want it at the moment, we are not here to waste time, we want to finish the purchase now. In addition, given the immediacy of the internet, we want to visit many stores in a very short time to find our ideal purchase. If we do not get quick answers we look for another store that will offer us the information we want quickly. In the online world, tenths of a second count, and that is why the loading speed of our website is so important .
If users have had a bad experience with a website they will not return. Regarding the optimization of our website, as seen in this SOASTA infographic , 22% of desktop users will not return to a website that is slow , and this figure reaches 46% for users who connect from devices mobiles. Other relevant data that appear in the infographic and that directly affect user loyalty are:
- Users expect web pages to load in 2-4 seconds .
- After 4 seconds, abandonments, lack of conversions and sales decline are affected very negatively.
- 74% of mobile device users abandon a website if it doesn’t load within 5 seconds.
SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)
Google and other search engines are considering the page loading speed of a website as one of the factors to position a website in search results. It is true that it is not the most important factor, but it should be taken into account that if our website scores in a similar way to another competitor website in many other aspects that search engines take into account, if our website is a little better in speed it will show before the other website. It may be a small factor, but it is a differentiating factor .
Something also important to take into account with regard to SEO is the experience that our website offers when it is displayed on mobile devices, because this factor is increasingly relevant for search engines, and the optimization of our website has a direct impact on it.
In the next article in this series I will talk about optimization techniques, but perhaps, related to SEO and image optimization, you might be interested in reading this article that we wrote in this blog: ‘ SEO Guide to Image Optimization for Marketers ‘.
When websites and the mobile world come together, projects must be given special care and affection, as we told you in our article on ‘ Responsive web design ‘. In addition to a design that offers users a good browsing experience, we must consider these points about website optimization and page loading speed:
- They have less resources and power than a desktop computer . It is not enough to optimize some aspects of our website and let the mobile device do some of the work that it should not do. An example: larger images are used on desktop computers. If the same image is served to mobile devices, they have to do the work of reducing it in size, wasting time and battery. The best thing to do is to serve images of the appropriate size to mobile devices.
- As I discussed earlier, mobile device users are much more demanding with 74% abandoning a website if a page doesn’t load within 5 seconds. 46% will not return to a website that they consider slow.
- In the mobile world, 3G and 4G traffic costs money , we don’t usually have unlimited data plans. A website that is not optimized, whose pages, images and other files are excessive in size, represents a cost for users. Although it is true that the browser can cache the files so as not to request them a second time, it is also true that if the user perceives a bad experience, the cache does not matter, because there will not be a second time.
So far this first article of three on website optimization. In the next one I will talk about how to measure, analyze and improve it. Do you have a website and your customers tell you that it is slow? Call us and we will help you. Behind website optimization there is a lot of technology, many times complicated, but deep down , website optimization is not about technology, it is about taking care of your customers and your business .