How Speed Impacts User Experience

Steven Brown

Steven Brown

You fire up your computer or mobile device ready to browse the internet for the latest and greatest news, products, and information.

You head on over to your favourite small-business website because it has content you’re interested in and is always up to date. After you type in the URL, the page sits there, not loading anything. What went wrong? 

When consumers are on the internet, they don’t have the patience to wait for a slow page to load, and will often leave the site before the site even fully loads if the delay is long enough. In the world of online success, just a few seconds can mean all the difference between your website traffic growing and your site getting no valuable traffic at all.

At Digita Comms, we help small and large businesses alike master their online presence. From page load optimisation to social media profiles, our team can turn your slow, outdated website into a go-to resource for your readers. Here’s why speed is so important for the end-user experience and what you can do to improve your website speed.

What is Bounce?

According to Google, the world-leading website traffic analytics company, bounce is defined as “a single page session on your site.” A single page session means that the user doesn’t take action on any other pages of your site. Bounce rate is an important indicator of the overall success and performance of your site.

Maybe you have a high bounce rate because of slow page load times, or maybe you have a high bounce rate because your content hasn’t been updated? Regardless of the reason for a high bounce rate, it’s a metric that you can’t ignore.

Google calculates your bounce rate by taking your total single rate sessions and dividing them into the number of total sessions on your site. Bounce sessions are calculated at 0 seconds in length as well, which can cause your average session length to take a major hit.

Why is bounce important to your business? It’s an indication of how successful your website is in the online marketplace. A high bounce rate is a clear indication that something isn’t quite right. 

There are also multiple bounce rates that you can review, from overall traffic bounce rate to specific page bounce rate for specific consumer channels. It’s important to review all of your bounce rate data to discover any underlying issues with your page load, content, and customer engagement on your site.

Average Speeds On Common Devices

Google’s recent bounce rate benchmark gave us some interesting data that we can leverage to help your site perform better. The short version? The longer your site takes to load, the higher the chance of a bounce, meaning that customer doesn’t even interact with your page before deciding to leave.

More specifically, Google benchmarked the following in regards to page load times:

Page loads from one to three seconds increased the likelihood of a bounce by more than 30%.

Page loads at five seconds increased the likelihood of a bounce by more than 90%.

Page loads at six seconds increased the likelihood of a bounce by more than 100%.

Page loads at ten seconds increased the likelihood of a bounce by more than 120%.

You can read the full benchmark report here.

As you can see, just a few seconds can make all the difference in the overall traffic that stays on your site. While ten seconds is an extreme delay, it does happen. Site developers that don’t have a full grasp on page optimisation can make some common mistakes that drastically slow down site load times.

These benchmarks were performed across a wide range of devices on both wired internet, Wi-Fi, and mobile data connections in order to ensure consistent, robust results. Your website is more than just a mobile site – you should consider the user experience across all devices.

Mobile pages load differently than stagnant desktop pages, so even though you may have a fast desktop load time, your mobile load time may need some work. A majority of top websites have average load times of three seconds or less. Anything over three seconds will quickly increase your overall bounce rate.

Optimising Speed and Performance

If you don’t have a site that loads in under three seconds, there’s no need to panic. Fortunately, there are some simple, streamlined methods that are proven to speed up your site and improve your end-user experience.

The highlights? Keep your site simple and clutter-free. The fewer elements you have on your landing page, the faster your page will load. In addition to cutting down load times, consumers don’t want to be overwhelmed with information.

Having less on your home page can create a more visually appealing page as well. Rather than getting as much information above the fold of your landing page as possible, focus on targeted content that’s relevant to your audience. In fact, Google recommends less than 50 individual elements on a landing page in order for the site to look streamlined and load faster based on file sizes.

Heavy images are the top culprits of slow web pages. The smaller your landing page file size is, the faster your site will load. If you think about optimising your page for the user with the slowest internet connection, you’ll start to think of ways you can trim down your site files to meet those needs. While 1MB of images might load up quickly for someone with high-speed internet, it’s not going to be like that for everyone.

Just because images can slow your site down, doesn’t mean that you have to stop using images altogether. Simply compressing your images and text can boost the overall load times for your site. According to Google, compression can help sites save at least 250KB of file space, and some even 1MB or more. While that may not seem like a lot, when a mere second can triple the likelihood of a bounce, every effort helps.

Testing Your Speed

Every site developer should constantly test their page load speeds. From the first initial design to the finished site, checking your speed is an important step in making your website successful. If your website is stunning, easy to use, and relevant to your audience, but has a 15 second load time, you’re going to experience some issues generating valuable online traffic.

An overwhelming majority of sites lose most of their traffic due to slow load times. Internet connection speeds are one thing, but your site load benchmarks are the foundation to your online success. If consumers can’t quickly browse your site, read information, or purchase your products, your business growth may struggle in our digital age.

When you test your page load speeds with Google, you’ll be able to test the mobile version of your website for performance and optimisation. As internet traffic shifts from laptops and desktops to mobile devices, it’s crucial to focus on your mobile site and provide an exceptional end-user experience.

After scanning your site, you’ll get a detailed report of your speed benchmarks, including your overall page speed load and your estimated visitor loss. You’ll also get industry comparisons and suggestions on how you can improve your site speed, all for free. Take advantage of this incredible resource to help improve your site and draw in more online visitors.

How Digita Comms Can Help

Digita Comms is a leading digital marketing firm that helps you optimise your site, transform your online presence, increase your traffic, and grow your business revenues. We start by assessing your site and making the necessary updates to optimise speed and performance. Without the right speeds, your site isn’t going anywhere.

We’ve partnered with hundreds of businesses to help them reach their online goals and objectives, from increased engagement on social media to lower bounce rates and increased high-value traffic online. There’s a lot that goes into optimising page load speeds, and we have the team that can get the job done right the first time.

Recapping the Highlights

We’ve thrown a lot of information at you in this article, but here’s what you need to know about page load speeds, optimisation, and the impact on your online consumers.

Consumers value information at lightning speeds, and if your site isn’t optimised for load times, you’re missing out on traffic and conversions. The slower your page loads, the more likely the impact to your online traffic. When customers reach your page and leave due to slow load times, you’re seeing reduced engagement on the rest of your website.

By focusing on bounce rate, or the rate at which users only interact with one page on your site, you can develop key strategies to optimise your page, reduce load times, and create a better experience for your customers. 

At the end of the day, your customers don’t want to wait, so why make them?

For more information on ways that you can boost your online presence through page load times, contact the team at Digita Comms today.

Want to know more?

Sign up to our insights via email and receive monthly tips delivered straight to your inbox.