You’re sitting in rush hour, bumper to bumper with surrounding vehicles all waiting to move in the same direction as you. Right when you’ve come to terms with the fact you’re not going to make it home in time for the start of Downton Abbey, Google Maps notifies you of a detour approaching on your left, with significantly less traffic. It’s undeniable that for the majority of us, we wouldn’t hesitate to cut time and ditch our initial route home. Coincidently, the same applies for the online traffic as well. When a website’s performance is suffering, up to 79% say they’re less likely to buy from the same site again. For merchants who have yet to make page speed a priority, multiple studies have shown the significance it has in consumer behaviour. Luckily, we’ve provided insight into some reasons your website’s performance may be lagging.

 

The Proof

Since 2010, Google has officially been using page speed as a signal to rank websites in search results. Today, this ranking factor is used across the board no matter the language, browser or device. This means that not only should your website be optimized for best rendering performance on desktop, but also mobile and tablet, among others.

Google algorithms aside, there are numerous other reasons why page speed and performance should be at the forefront of your optimization efforts. To put things in a larger perspective, Amazon crunched the numbers and calculated that a page load slowdown of a single second could cost the company $1.6 billion in sales each year.

This extreme reduction is directly associated with customer satisfaction and their expectations. 52% of online shoppers state that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty. A 1 second delay (or 3 seconds of waiting) has proven to decrease customer satisfaction by 16%. These, among other statistics have proven that page speed and website performance are not factors that can be neglected by online merchants.

 

What’s Going Wrong?

So what is slowing your site down? There are a number of factors that contribute to poor page performance. Some of the most common include:

 

  • Unoptimized Images: Reducing your image file sizes by 5-10% can noticeably speed up the performance of an image-heavy webpage.
  • Ad Network Code: Unfortunately, most ad network code is JavaScript-based which can drastically slow down page speed. If you haven’t already implemented delivery methods that keep JavaScripts from resource blocking, you’re adding to unnecessary load times.
  • JavaScript-Based Functionality: Incorporating a JavaScript-based functionality (such as commenting) through 3rd party sites like Facebook can not only slow down page speed, but can easily be swapped out for a more efficient server-side functionality.
  • Flash and Java: In fact, let’s just get rid of these all together.
  • No Text Compression: Failing to configure your server to enable GZIP compression could be leaving CSS, JavaScript and HTML files 70-90% larger than they need to be.
  • Public Networks for Private Data Transfer: Forgetting to connect web and database servers through private networks creates a massive bottleneck that heavily impacts page speed and overall website performance.

 

These factors, along with bloated HTML, amateur iQuery, too many domains, poorly-written code, shared web hosts, inefficient server-side caching and more all contribute to those extra 4 seconds it takes your page to load.

If you are facing website performance issues it’s probably time to conduct an audit of all the inefficiencies that are contributing to your slow page speeds. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool has proven itself as an effective resource for webmasters and online merchants looking to find ways to optimize. It has become evident that no matter what vertical you’re in, page speed has a direct correlation with conversions and can lead to checkout abandonment, if slow. Don’t sacrifice customer satisfaction with slow page performance due to online roadblocks like unoptimized images and bloated HTML, or else the detour they take may be to a competitor’s website.