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In this great article we take a look at website loading time, and why there’s a need for speed in respect of search engine rankings and user experience.
One of the fundamental causes of a slow loading website is the server and traffic of where the website is hosted.
So to get an overview, we looked into the home page speed analysis of the top 100 companies to work for. Now of course these high profile companies have things sorted when it comes to taking care of their employees, however when it comes to their company’s website page load speeds, the results may surprise you…
Please note for this website speed analysis, we used 2 top rated website speed test tools.
Average loading time across all 100 websites: 7.4 seconds
True average: 6.78
Expected loading time by the user: 2 seconds
Today’s users don’t hope for instant gratification they expect it, so if your website takes longer than 2 seconds to load, a user will have already started to loose interest in your business. However if it takes longer than 7 seconds, a potential customer will more than likely given up waiting and started searching for other alternative website results.
Due to this instant gratification consumer behaviour, a number of studies have been conducted however Jacob Neilson in his book “Usability Engineering” claims “People live to be in control of their destiny and not subjected to the computer’s whims”, therefore Nielson believed there was a fragile relationship between the delay after a users action and the users reaction at three important time limits…
Nielsen believed that if the given application responds instantaneously to the users commands, it gives an impression of direct manipulation. This therefore gives the user the impression that the result was generated by their command and not by the computer itself. Nielsen quoted “This phenomenon of direct manipulation is believed to be a great key to increase user engagement.”
If the response interval time reaches up to 1 second, then they will acknowledge the delay, however small, and feel like the system is generating the website rather than them. However as this is only brief they will focus more on their train of thought , in which they retain their own sense of control. Nielsen stated that web pages should ideally take no more than one second to load to give the users the comfortable feeling that they can navigate more freely and retain a sense of control over the computers whims.
Due to the prolonged period the user will acknowledge the delay and will no longer feel in control, and instead feel manipulated. Often during this time, the user’s mind will wander from their train of thought and they will, most likely, abandon the website. Many people consider it important to notify the users (whether it is via progress bar or percent indicators) as to approximately how long they would have to wait if the programme is deemed to take more than 10 seconds to load. This way the user will know what to expect and therefore gain a sense of comfort.
Of course, we also have to factor in Google and how fast is fast enough for the search engine giant.
Understandably Google has high expectations for website load speed and according to Maile Ohje, a well respected Google representative acknowledged “two-seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under half a second.” So basically they are looking for a blink of an eye webpage load speed.
To help websites achieve their best possible speed, the search engine has developed a programme entitled PageSpeed Insights which measures the performance of a page on both mobile and desktop devices. It does this by twice locating the appropriate URL, once with a mobile user agent and then again via a desktop user agent. The programme then checks (using updates and recommendations made by Google) to see if your web page has applied best practice and then gives your website a score from between 0-100 points. Then taking the results into consideration, Google will advise what action is needed in order to increase your score; as higher the score, the faster the user experience.
The short answer is yes. Google, as part of their search ranking algorithm, will check your website load speed along with how this translates into user experience. The reason for this according to the search engine giant is “Speeding up websites is important, not just to site owners, but all internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our international studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience, recent data confirms that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed, that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.”
To help you improve website loading speed and improve user experience, here are our top 8 tips…
By taking a good look at how and why you should improve website speed, we hope this article will help you achieve the best possible speed results and help your business in respect of search engine rankings and user experience. However for more ways we can help, please do not hesitate to get in touch.