Website performance—how fast your website loads—is one of the most important indicators of online success. Even if you have great content and perfect Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a slow website will drive away visitors and make Google think twice about including your site in its results. Here’s why:
1—Website Performance Affects Your Bounce Rate
Visitors to your site who only view one page (or a page which didn’t finish loading) are called bounces, and the percentage of visitors who bounce is your bounce rate. It’s hard to make a profit online if people don’t stay on your site, so a high bounce rate is bad for business.
Why do visitors bounce? The two main reasons are unexpected content and slow page loads. If a visitor clicks a search results link and sees something they don’t expect—or if they have to wait too long to see anything at all—they will go back to the search results.
Fast-loading websites give visitors instant gratification so they stick around longer.
2—Website Performance Can Reveal Problems
Why does your website take a long time to load? Is your server overloaded, your database misconfigured, or is someone trying to hack your website?
Slow-loading websites have a problem, and the longer you leave the problem untreated, the greater the chance it will cause more problems later. This is especially true of websites which suddenly slowed down—sudden changes in website performance often indicate an attack or major misconfiguration which could take down your website or (if your website gets hacked) get you blocked by search engines.
Even if you don’t plan to do anything about your website performance, you should figure out exactly why your website is loading slowly.
3—Website Performance Affects Your Productivity
The speed of your website can significantly affect your productivity. I hate every second I have to wait for pages to load as I add new content to sites. I don’t get paid to wait for pages to load, so poor website performance robs me of some of the most productive time of my day.
If for no other reason, consider improving your website performance to improve your productivity.
4—Website Performance Can Turn Victory Into Defeat
Appearing on Reddit or another popular website is the dream of many webmasters—but what happens when an already slow website gets inundated with traffic? It typically crashes.
Instead of getting 10,000 to 200,000 new visitors from Reddit, you will get only a headache from contacting your hosting company’s customer support.
Don’t miss out on your chance to go viral by ignoring website performance issues. Fix them now while you still have a chance.
5—Website Performance Affects Your Search Ranking
The Google Website Optimization guide specifically says that page load times affect your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rank. Faster loading pages rank higher than equivalent slower loading pages. You can even see this in your Google Webmaster Tools webpages listing—Google tells you how long it took Googlebot to download pages on your site.
Google’s search business is based on connecting searchers to websites the searchers want to read—and nobody wants to read a slow-loading website. If you want more visitors and higher-ranking pages, make sure you have good website performance.