Published on by Pat Ramsey, Director of Technology
Website speed is crucial in creating a good user experience, and positively impacting the conversation rate for your website. The digital experience your website provides is vital to your brand. It is responsible for driving traffic, engaging customers, and ultimately, increasing conversion rates. A site that quickly engages and satisfies new or returning customers is more likely to perform better than a site that does not. How fast a page loads in a visitor’s browser is a critical factor in delivering a good user experience.
Today’s internet audience is an increasingly mobile audience, experiencing the web through their phone or tablet, away from desks and offices. At least 50% of web traffic worldwide is on mobile devices using cellular data connections or wifi, not fiber or ethernet. The internet can be reached from anywhere at any time. Ticket purchases can be made on a smartphone by a mother in Central Park. Dinner can be ordered on a phone while in the back of an Uber. Product information can be researched by an engineer at a job site, using their phone. These are use cases that scratch the surface of how the internet is being used on the go, and websites need to be updated to meet that expectation.
Now more than ever, we see the importance of mobile speed, website performance and user experience. With the shutdowns in the spring of 2020, due to COVID-19, brands are forced to rely on their digital presence to interact and engage with customers. Buying habits shifted dramatically, as people moved from traditional shopping to buying online. And it’s not just shopping that moved to the web. Government and other services shut down their physical offices putting more importance than ever on their web pages. Slow web pages do not do well in this time, when there is no “in-person” alternative.
Evaluating Site Speed
Regardless of the technology used for a website, if the combination of features results in pages loading slowly, the site will be a poor-performing one. A simple example - look at the images being served in your pages. If your workflow allows page authors to upload and use images without any optimization or resizing, odds are that very large images will be served to your audience. As it takes longer to load larger images, this negatively impacts page load times. Another example - your content workflow requires the use of visual page builders. While these are immensely helpful to a non-technical page author, if done wrong they can add several additional assets (scripts and CSS) to a page, slowing down performance.
Understanding what loads in your site's pages is crucial. A tool such as Google's Page Speed Insights or Web Page Test's speed tools can create a detailed view of what loads in your pages. Armed with this information, you can engage your development team or agency partners to begin making improvements. Increasing the speed in which your pages load, will allow for a seamless transition from page to page and create a better overall user experience.
Steps to Improve Website Performance
Making an impact starts with an understanding of your site, your audience, and your competitive landscape. How long does your site take to load? What is loading in your pages? Who is your audience? Who are your competitors? This information holds the pieces you need to get started.
Next, make a plan of action that lays out what changes should be made, in what order, and what the impact of those changes are to your workflows and your site’s designs and functionality. Measure the impact, gather data, and run comparisons. Repeat this process - measure, and make changes. Site performance is an ongoing process and should be factored into your regular site operations budgets because there are always changes to the technology and competitive landscape.
Digital Transformation is important for every industry and can positively affect the user experience for your customers. If you’d like help with getting started or need a partner to work alongside you through this process, reach out to us. Crowd Favorite has worked with partners in many industries as they’ve modernized their online presence, and improved their user experience.