Fast Websites are now more than just a nicety, they’re essential to businesses hoping for better Ad rates and organic directory listings. How fast is fast? Good question. How does one achieve this new performance threshold? Well, that depends on where exactly your website is bogging down. First, let’s tackle that first question: How fast is fast?
Speed = Attention
Beginning some years ago, KeyResults conducted some user testing as we developed some websites for large companies. Among the questions we wanted to answer was if people visiting the site would be able to navigate effectively to the information or products they were looking for using their desktop browser of choice. Another key item we needed to know was how long before they got impatient and hit the back button. It turns out the Human Factors testing proved invaluable, and it made our design choices successful out of the gate. On top of that, we determined that the page load times needed to be under 5 seconds or we risked losing some prospective customers. Now consider that 5 seconds was back before fast networks and the proliferation of smartphones.
Mobile Friendly Under 2 Seconds
Now, in 2016, everything has changed. Desktop browsers no longer drive web design and development, Smartphones do. Fast websites are the order of the day. Today, the new benchmark is mobile first and above the fold load time in two seconds or less. That’s the new number. That’s a tough number to achieve for the casual hacker business owner maintaining his or her own website. Especially if you want a modern look and feel and you want to incorporate some current content.
How 2 Second Web Page Achieved?
It turns out there are lots of ways to achieve the magic 2-second number. First, it’s important to recognize an incoming device type and size in an instant and tailor the page they see. This means optimizing your design specifically to recognize and respond to various mobile devices. Most think that just making the page smaller is sufficient, it’s not. For one thing, the photo and graphic bits tend to stay the same size which wastes bandwidth. The modern website keeps several versions of content in various sizes and resolutions. Also, the modern website uses special programs to compress and remove unused information to lighten the network load. Additionally, good web design also minimizes the number of server “requests” in presenting a page to the browser before the user sees a usable page load. Is this easy? No. It’s not. But, it’s happening, and most businesses must consider this stuff soon.
Why Do Fast Websites Matter?
So, why should anybody care about mobile friendly fast websites? With few exceptions, you should take steps to optimize your web properties for three reasons:
- Your web visitors are increasingly on mobile devices including tablets and smartphones and you really should care about their experience on your website vs their experience on your competitor’s website. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to assess a website’s overall usability and performance on a smartphone or an iPad. So, how does yours measure up to an eager first-time smartphone visitor to your website?
- Google and other search engines are now grading websites based on mobile friendliness, security technology used, and performance on both mobile devices and desktop browsers. Better grades mean better rankings. Bad grades mean potential penalties that may cost positions in search listings.
- Google considers website performance in overall Adwords costs. A poor performing, non-optimized, landing page will cost more to an advertiser than an optimized page. Ouch.
Well, there it is. If you’re not already onboard with a great google web page quality score, for both mobile devices and desktop browsers, You should seriously consider adding that to your to do list for 2017. It’s important. Plus, it’s the right thing to do for your customers. If you would like some advice on this, or any other marketing related topic give KeyResults a shout and let their experts assess your situation and what to do about it.