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It can be easy to focus on perfecting the details of your website – in fact, a sleek, attention grabbing website, with intuitive navigation, clean design, backlinks, and attentive search engine optimization may seem nearly perfect. However, if your website is slow, none of those things matter. No one wants to stick around on a website that takes three minutes to load.

It’s just a fact that people like speed. Many potential customers abandon slow e-commerce sites – 79% of online shoppers say they won’t go back to a website if it had load speed problems. People who use the internet have a very short attention span. In fact, the attention span in 2013 is infamously shorter than the memory of a goldfish (less than 9 seconds), and people will quickly click out of a website that simply takes too long to load.

Here are a few reasons why you should increase your website’s speed today!

Google’s Search Rankings Correlate to Page Speed

For Google, rankings correlate to fast page load rates. The faster your website loads, the higher your ranking may be on Google’s search algorithm, and the higher your ranking, the more traffic your website will score. Although page speed is just one of the nearly 200 signals Google considers to determine a website’s rank in search results, it does not mean it’s any less important. In fact, one of the other aspects Google determines in website rankings is the amount of time spent loading a page from the user’s perspective – if your website is relatively complicated and running too many plugins and add-ons, it will take a while to load, and harm your SEO.

A Slow Website is Harmful for Conversion

Several studies have shown that a website’s loading rate has a profound impact on sales conversions, almost directly impacting profit margins – even seconds make a difference in loading pages! In a 2012 study by BrandPerfect, which surveyed 2500 online shoppers in the UK and US, it was found that a slow website is the top reason for abandoning an online purchase – nearly two-thirds (67%) cited it as the main reason in the UK, and more than half (51%) in the US.

How long is too long? The answer could be even a blink of an eye – research has shown that too long of a wait for e-commerce shoppers can be as much as 250 milliseconds, and web-surfers expect pages to load as quickly as two seconds or less for online shopping, with even a second delay leading to a 7% drop in conversions. Needless to say, a fast-loading website is beneficial for your business, and may even be vital to maintaining not only traffic, but actual conversion rates from your website.

When a potential customer abandons your website because of lethargic page-loading and videos that take eons to buffer, they take their money, and potential referrals away with them.

Big Companies Have Proof

The proof is in the pudding – case studies gathered from large, successful corporations like Amazon and Mozilla have shown that an increased website speed leads to increased profit margins and revenue. Amazon has found that its revenue increased 1% for every 100 milliseconds of speed improvement on their website, and Mozilla experienced a whopping 15.4% download conversion when it shaved 2.2 seconds off its landing pages, meaning 60 million more Firefox downloads per year. Shopzilla additionally saw a 12% increase in revenue and 25% increase in pageviews when it improved its landing page loading time from 6 seconds to 1.2 seconds, and Yahoo increases its website traffic 9% for every 400 milliseconds of faster page loading.

Website Speed is Your First Impression

The speed of your website is the first impression you make on a potential customer, and on the Internet, first impressions are everything. People tend to equate speed with professionality. Fast websites command reliability, user-friendliness, efficiency, and confidence. A slow website will strike someone as clunky, unsafe, and insecure, and will likely not return.

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