How a Slow Loading Speed Will Harm Your Blog

by - Wednesday, June 13, 2018


You’re probably already aware that there’s a direct correlation between the loading time of your website and the bounce rate, meaning the number of people that visit your site but then leave straight away, either before the page has loaded or once it has loaded to the home page. To better explain the term ‘bounce rate’ it can be good to picture a busy high street where there are many people walking around in search of a solution or item; just like how people use Google to search for a specific solution or item.

People will naturally browse a few different stores -- and as the store owner, or in this case, the website owner, your job is to engage them so they spend a reasonable amount of time in your environment; as the more time they spend with you the greater the chance is that they’ll spend money, and there’s often a correlation between the length of time spent in a store and the amount spent, which is why large retail brands invest so much in visual merchandising, in their physical locations. However, online, there’s less you can do in the way of visual merchandising which is why aspects such as navigation and load speed play such a fundamental role in driving engagement, increased average order, and customer loyalty.

Now, going back to the high street, if you picture a frustrated store owner that has great footfall in the sense that they have plenty of customers walking in their store, but as soon as they walk through the front door they turn around and leave - this is what is meant by bounce rate. In the digital world, this analogy would mean they have high traffic but low engagement, and due to this low level of engagement, people simply don’t buy anything. This would be a high bounce rate. Now think about how much easier it is to leave a website than a physical store, and how much less effort it took to visit the site versus driving to the store, and you’ll see why online shoppers or browsers are happy to click off a page that’s too slow to load without giving it much thought.

There’s no awkwardness or guilt in walking out of an online store, and there was certainly no effort to get there in the first place, meaning they are less personally invested in visiting the store than if they had driven all the way there, parked their car and walked into your store, whereas online, it’s simply a matter of clicking a mouse. Having a high bounce rate will cripple your online business success, and whilst a high bounce rate can be attributed to other factors such as a lack of engaging content, lack of relevance, lack of a clear user benefit, or difficult navigation… it has been found that 40% of potential customers will leave your website if the site takes more than 3 seconds to load. In an increasingly impatient world, particularly online, where people are bombarded with content choices and overwhelmed with options from a multitude of service providers, ensuring an optimum load speed of your website is just as important as branding.

User Experience (UX) design is however equally critical. Whilst it won’t technically improve the speed of your website it will increase the speed at which users navigate and therefore understand how to find information on your site. This will lead to an improvement in a number of key metrics one of which will be a reduction in bounce rate. When we think about user experience design, we often think to web design, however UX design isn’t just about aesthetic design - it is equally to do with functionality and good website designer knows this. In the early stages of web development, it can however, be hard to get the feedback necessary to consider the flow of how users will interact with your website which is where drawing on the expertise of web designers can be incredibly helpful, as can looking at several other websites in order to gauge common themes within their content architecture, aesthetic design and user experience.

Whilst it’s not okay to copy, it can be a good idea to model your site based on the patterns and principles of others that are more successful than you, into your own website. Perhaps, the most important thing in web development is to get as much feedback from as many different people as possible but ultimately you can have the most well researched and wonderfully executed user experience design, but if your site is too slow to load, nobody is going to wait around to appreciate it.

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