Why Website Speed Matters on Mobile

fast_sites_slowIn this era of 3 and 4G, free WiFi hotspots, ramping smartphone penetration and ubiquitous connectivity, it can be easy to forget that limitless bandwidth is not always at the disposal of your website visitors. As the proportion of traffic on cellular connections continues to rise,  website owners need to consider website speed ever more carefully in their choice of web solution. This article describes why  the speed and performance of your website is an important metric especially for visitors on mobile devices.

UX and Website Speed

User Experience (UX) suffers considerably when a site is slow to load. It has often been shown that users just wont wait around for a slow site. They will simply move on to something, or someone else. Probably your nearest and faster competitor.

Several pieces of research over the years have shown the impact of wait times on website abandonment and conversion rates:

  • Number of web searches corresponds with speed of site loading time – Google 
  • Shoppers that buy online, do so on faster pages – Walmart 
  • Every 100 ms increase in load times decreases sales by 1% – Amazon

Heavier equals Slower

While today’s smartphones are inherently capable of loading resource intensive sites, with lots of images, CSS and JavaScript,  real world connection conditions will rarely match your super fast office LAN or home WiFi network. Available connectivity is not the same as theoretical connectivity. Conditions will vary. Do not assume your visitors will have a high end device with a fast connection. Website speed and performance should be rigorously tested under a range of different connectivity conditions. When the difference of a few milliseconds load time means the difference between an engaged customer or a abandoned website or shopping cart,  its easy to see how much speed matters.

Anyone considering developing a new website should keep one simple mantra in mind:

The heavier a website is, the longer it will take to load

This is particularly true for mobile users.

Google penalizes slow sites

We already know that Google takes pageweight into account in search engine rankings. And we know Google are heightening mobile friendliness as a ranking factor from April 21st on. See our post here on the Mobile Apocalypse.

THE MOBILE APOCALYPSE

Major SEO updates are coming.

Are you ready?

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In addition to all this, even more radical changes are rumoured to be in store that focus on a website’s performance (or lack of) when it comes to search rankings. A recent report from India refers to Google testing a Slow label for mobile search results to warn potential visitors that a site may load slowly. It’s difficult to imagine anyone choosing a site marked slow when a faster alternative is presented, even if lower in the rankings.

 google-mobile-slow-label-1424870455

As your customers will likely pay for bandwidth, who would choose a heavier, slower and more expensive experience over a lighter, faster and ultimately cheaper (in terms of data costs) experience?

How to benchmark a website solution

Go directly to the Google Mobile Friendly test  to see how well a website page ranks for mobile search. You’ll want to see a ranking of Awesome here. If not, you’ll want to consider addressing that, while there is still some time left on the countdown clock.

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