Websites and the need for speed

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As web development and implementation has advanced, new concepts have arisen that have enabled higher conversion rates and greater success.

But as we strive to generate the greatest return, the question becomes, what is really the best avenue? More traffic, better plans, improving usability — or one of many other options?

Without doubt, all of these options are more than worthy of our attention and will help to increase our ROI.

Currently, in web development and implementation circles, the real priority focus point is usability. User-centred design and human experience strategy are held in the highest regard, and developers give significant focus to first listening to consumers and then using the information gained to ensure responding to the call to action, whatever it may be, is as simple as possible.

With years of experience in usability now under our belts — and an equal amount of time to iron out any bugs — our ROI focus should potentially shift to something else.

In the face of the 2015 National Broadband Network installation, our minds are firmly fixed on internet speed and what we can potentially do with it. But what we often forget, is that the speed of our website is volumes more important — and this is something very much within our own control.

In 2012, Amazon research showed that for every 100 milliseconds your website is slow, you lose 1% of transactions. And while 1% seems insignificant, if your business success rests on your eCommerce site results, 1% may be more than you can afford to lose.

If this still doesn’t put things in perspective, further research shows that by the eighth second of a page loading, 40% of users have already bounced out of your site. So is website speed really something you want to ignore?

Other than cutting your users by 40%, what impact does website speed really have?

  • With more than 50% of Australians now using smart phones to access the internet, the speed of your site has never been more important. Mobile internet access is generally slower to start with, so making sure your site is as efficient as possible will ensure you retain more users.
  • Your search engine results are also impacted by speed. Search engines like Google, use various sets of rules to send users to the best sites that match their queries. Unfortunately, Google does not rate a slow site as a good site and will penalise you for it!

Improving your site speed means understanding what is impacting it. Three of the main influential factors include:

  • The design and front-end code.
  • Poor hosting and server infrastructure (or ineffective overseas hosting).
  • The lack of concern many web development and implementation teams have for site speed in comparison to other factors such as usability.

Many development teams keep a firm focus on usability. And while this is definitely of value as your website is constructed, forgetting site speed can mean customers don’t even experience your very user-friendly site because they haven’t waited for it to open. Once your site is built and in use, optimising for speed presents difficult challenges and can’t be done to the same degree as it can during development.

For more information about web development and implementation with a focus on site speed, please contact Platform on (02) 9911 7788.

Better Online Experiences™