Pop quiz: what’s the most important website metrics you could ever track? Hands up if you said traffic. Or search engine rankings. Or conversion rate.
A lot of you probably said one of the above (myself included). These metrics are ones that can be concretely linked to better website success. More traffic = more money. Better SEO = more traffic = more money. More conversions = more customers/clients = more money.
But what if I was to tell you that there’s one particular website metric that a lot of you probably aren’t already tracking … even though this highly important metric has a big impact on each of the statistics mentioned above?
No prizes for guessing what metric I’m talking about (after all, it’s in the title). That’s right: I’m talking about website speed.
What is Website Speed?
Website speed is a measurement of how fast pages on your website load
Website speed is one of those things that everybody thinks about from time to time (I guarantee you’ll find a post about speed on just about every WordPress or web development related blog), but few really act on.
Sure, you might install a caching or an image compression plugin, but real speed optimization goes far beyond just a couple plugins.
If all you’re doing is downloading and activating a couple plugins from the WordPress.org repository, then you’re not truly taking page load speed seriously.
Don’t worry – I was the exact same way, until I saw the cold, hard statistics that showed me the true importance of speed.
In this post, I’m going to try to convince you to start increasing website speed today, using results from three case studies of popular websites that saw a hugely positive impact when they decreased their page load times.
Quick Sprout Gets 2,000 More Visitors Per Day
Quick Sprout is run by Neil Patel, serial entrepreneur and online marketing extraordinaire. It’s a hugely popular blog, with hundreds of thousands of visitors every week.
Back in 2013, Neil did a quick audit of his website’s development. Because six different developers had worked in stages to build the website, the code was bloated, messy, and his page load time wasn’t optimal at just under two seconds.
Neil sought to rectify this and other optimization gaffes.
Neil also invested in a CDN (content delivery network); a service that hosts your website files on multiple data centers so that users visiting the website access the data center closest to their geo-location.
He also optimized his MySQL and minified database queries.
The very same month, Quick Sprout’s traffic jumped by 2000 visitors per day, from ~1500 visitors per day to 3500+. Coincidence? I think not.
List25 Decreases Bounce Rate by 7%
List25 is a unique magazine-style website with unique content: they create list posts on 25 XXX (e.g. 25 Highest-Paid Athletes or 25 Google Tricks, etc.).
The site is owned by Awesome Motive Inc, which also founded the popular WordPress blog many people know to be WP Beginner.
Even with the technical background and expertise of their founders, List25 was still experiencing some speed problems not too long ago.
The site’s pages took approximately 2.2 seconds to load.
The webmasters were able to bring load time down to a much more user-friendly 1.2 seconds. Here’s how they did it and the results they saw.
Like most websites, List25 started out using an entry-level hosting platform: HostGator. While HostGator is no doubt a terrific hosting platform for beginner webmasters (I use it myself).
List25 simply outgrew HostGator’s target niche (small websites with low to moderate traffic levels).
They switched over to SiteGround, and immediately saw a 256% improvement in server response time.
They also started using SiteGround’s built-in SuperCacher plugin (available only to SiteGround customers) and, like Neil Patel, invested in a CDN.
As a direct result of the higher website speeds, the bounce rate on List25 decreased by over 7%. Now, this might not sound like much at first glance, but keep in mind that at the time the site had over 1.5 million subscribers.
That translates into a ton of traffic, so a 7% bounce rate decrease is pretty noteworthy.
Furthermore, the average time on site also increased by 30 seconds. Because everything on the website loaded faster, visitors became much more engaged and decided to hang around for significantly longer.
Radware Doubles Completed Transactions for an eCommerce Website
Radware is an award-winning technology firm that’s helped several websites to boost page load speed. One of Radware’s clients had an eCommerce website that needed optimizing, so optimize they did; page load times decreased by over two seconds.
The first step Radware took was to eliminate unnecessary pages in the checkout process. This doesn’t directly factor into website speed, but it does help prospective customers to get through buying the website’s product faster, which is important for all eCommerce websites.
Secondly, Radware enabled browser caching Next, they took out all of the non-essential images that plagued the pages of the checkout process.
This decreased page size, which is one of the biggest factors in load speed.
Finally, Radware also optimized all third-party service calls. This includes services like credit card authentication, site analytics tracking, form field validation, etc.
They went over each integration to ensure that it was working properly and there were no hidden snags or issues slowing down the pages’ load times.
After implementing these speed optimization tactics, Radware’s client started seeing a meaningful decrease in cart abandonment rate. Abandonment went all the way down from 87% to 67%.
Considering that website speed isn’t typically thought of as having that big of an effect on cart abandonment, this was a very appreciable result.
Shortly after these speed changes began to take effect, the client also saw a doubling of completed transactions.
Assuming that each transaction is of approximately the same value, decreasing page load time by two seconds basically doubled the digital store’s revenue.
Let’s quickly go back over a few of the most significant results the companies in each of the three case studies we just looked at:
- 2000 more visitors for QuickSprout – every single day
- 30 seconds more per visitor and a 7% lower bounce rate for List25
- twice as many completed transactions for Radware
If the above benefits of higher page load speeds (like 2x revenue!) haven’t convinced you to start taking your website’s speed seriously, I don’t know what will.
How do you plan to optimize your website for speed? Got any tips you’d like to share? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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