How Website Speed Affects Conversion Rates

December 14, 2012 Published in: Website Speed Author: Goran Čandrlić

Are you running an e-commerce on the web? The first rule of e-commerce says that if the customer cannot find your product/service, he cannot buy it. The number of web shoppers in US alone in 2011 was said to be 178,5 million and is to reach 200 million by 2015 (source: eMarketer) which will equal 90% of all internet users in US.

Now, to consider the patience of your customers. The majority of Americans are said to wait in line (in a real shop) for no longer than 15 minutes. However, on the web, 1 out of 4 customers will abandon a webpage that takes more than 4 seconds to load.

Recently, we discussed 10 reasons why you should speed up your website. Also, Google found out that slowing search results by just 4/10ths of a second would reduce the number of searches by 8,000,000 per day. (source: Getelastic)

Do you still think that if the product is on the web, your customers can find it quickly?

Amazing results – Being One Second Faster

Whether your customers are there for a pretty interface, clear privacy policies, for the best bargain, or simply because they have found exactly what they were looking for, they had to get there in the first place, and quickly. If you could cut that path to your website even shorter, and this is a matter of milliseconds, you could convert more visits to actual orders.

An advantage of 250 milliseconds of a page load time, according to recent research, is what keeps your customer from going to your competitor. Have you done research to compare your page load time with competitors?
Rate speedsource: WebPerformanceToday

Take an example of Walmart. When they found out they were not the fastest retail site on the internet, compared to EBay, Amazon etc., they have decided to overhaul their site speed. As a result:

  • For every 1 second of improvement they experienced up to a 2% increase in conversions
  • For every 100 ms of improvement, they grew incremental revenue by up to 1%

Giants like Amazon, Shopzilla, Yahoo, AoI and Mozilla all did the same, and made their results available (see the graph below).

Graphic
source: StrangeLoopNetworks

  • Shopzilla speeded up average page load time from 6 seconds to 1.2 seconds, and increased revenue by 12% and page views by 25%.
  • Amazon increased revenue by 1% for every 100ms of improvement (same as Walmart).
  • Yahoo increased traffic by 9% for every 400ms of improvement.
  • Finally, Mozilla got 60 million more Firefox downloads per year, by making their pages 2.2 seconds faster.

Or, to take a different turn on stats, a giant, such as Amazon can suffer a loss of $1.6 billion from a slowdown of page load time of just a single second.

What Can You Do To Overhaul Your Site Speed?

Use website speed testing tools, such as Pingdom, or Page Speed Online. In this way, you can continually make improvement to balance your conversion and bounce rate. You can precisely detect components that are slowing down your site.Reduce the number of components of your page. Make a simple design. This will immediately reduce the number of HTTP requests to download all the graphics, video, JavaScript files from your website. Don’t forget to optimize images and video in size and format.

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). You are deploying your content across different geographical regions, and the speed of this delivery does not need to rely on the proximity of this region to your web server. An implemented content delivery network (CDN) uses servers deployed in multiple data centers. By choosing a CDN hosting over a standard one, you ensure that the content is delivered from a server located closest to the end user. This will also save you money on buying additional hardware and software for the server.

Clean up your code. Many extra lines and tags in your code exist but are not necessary for the website to function. These ‘junk’ lines always mean extra work for browsers.

Goran Čandrlić

"I am an online marketing manager with experience in both B2B and B2C sectors. Before joining Danidin LLC to build GlobalDots brand and expand its marketing reach in performance / CDN industry, I worked with various clients in almost any niche. My previous experience includes managing online marketing for travel agency, managing an online publishing platform and co-founding a tech startup."

  • Pingback: Load testing tools explained: the server side - AppDynamics: The APM Blog

  • Muhammad Saeed

    Great Article.

  • http://process.st/ Vinay Patankar

    Awesome post, gave it a shout-out on a recent post I did:

    http://www.process.st/2014/06/website-launch-checklist/

    • globaldots

      Thanks!

  • http://www.pagewiz.com/ Iftekhar Inan

    It’s good to see that someone focused on the relation between conversion rate and technical factors of a landing page. Most of the posts on conversion are about headline or CTA or visual elements of the landing page. Marketers often ignore the importance of loadtime. In this world every second counts, and you clearly showed that, for conversion every milisecond counts. Thanks Goran.

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