The Need for Speed

While we often hear the phrase “content is king” on the web, and while that may be true, there is a fundamental need for your website to be fast. The reasons are numerous and they include:

Keeping your visitors engaged

It should be our number one priority, to delight our site visitors enough to want to do business with us. But the findings of various studies over the years have shown time and again that a slow site has an impact on the happiness of those visiting your site and can also cause a knock-on effect of your site gaining a poor reputation via word of mouth.

Aberdeen Group showed in their report from 2016 that a 3-second delay in site loading will cost you 20% of your audience. This window of time is likely to not have improved over the past few years. Imagine knowing that something you had the option to do something about was costing you 1 in 5 of your sales opportunities. You’d make the change right?

The rule of thumb here is to do what makes your visitors happy as it is needed in order to convert them from a visitor into a customer by fomenting trust.

Aiding your rankings on Search Engine Results Pages

Google is still the big player amongst search engines but all search engines are taking account of the speed of your site in one way or another (it is hard to tell exactly as their algorithms are their business so are closely guarded secrets like the 11 herbs and spices or the Coca Cola recipe which is reputed to be only known by two people, or at least that is what Coca Cola might want us to believe). It is important for your marketing efforts, whether they are via natural rankings or paid advertising within the search engines, that you maintain a speedy website. There are a number of technologies helping you do this including caching and compression. Make sure you are not missing out on speeding up your site.

Maximising revenue

Having a slow site obviously affects the visitors to your site which in turn can cost you opportunities and therefore revenue. To put that into monetary terms is difficult but it didn’t stop Amazon from doing just that over a decade ago when they found that every 100,000 milliseconds of delay in the loading of their pages cost them 1% of their sales. For a behemoth like Amazon that adds up to a lot of money.

Akamai, one of the world leaders in online intelligent business systems found in a 2017 study that a 100,000-millisecond delay can cost you 7% in your conversion rate. To put that in monetary terms achieving a 100,000-millisecond improvement in the speed of your site is likely to net an extra £7 for every £100 of revenue you currently make. That is not an onerous task to achieve such an improvement.

How can we improve speed?

There are a number of tools at our disposal in order to speed up our sites. They might include:

  • Transferring to a speedier host
  • Using file compression technologies
  • Optimising the size of image and video files being delivered
  • Using caching technologies to reduce the number of calls to the server
  • Using a content delivery network to deliver content and reducing the number of hops made between the site visitors browser and the server in order to deliver content.

As you can see there is a real business case to be made for keeping an eye on your site speed and optimising for a faster website. But be aware that this is not a set it and forget it a task, this is a factor that is worth keeping an eye on regularly.

Managing your website

An often overlooked part of any business is the management of the organisation’s website. Many businesses I come across treat their website with a “set it and forget it” attitude. In fact, I am certain that there are three distinct attitudes that prevail amongst organisations towards managing their website.

  1. The “set it and forget it” attitude. This is a common attitude to take towards websites from many organisations. The need to have a website is established but the need to manage it and update both the content and the technologies are not. This group are missing out on the largest benefits of their website and in some cases may well be harming their own business goals by not updating their site.
  2. The second group are those that understand the need to update the content of the site and add new content as often as possible. The advantages of fresh content are understood as it helps with the marketing efforts that involve the website and the effects can be seen directly in the analytics data available. This can directly show value to the fresh content and even show a monetary value on the returns offered for the investment of time and money creating that content.
  3. The third group are those that understand the need to update both the content, in order to publish fresh content, and the technologies of the site. Technical maintenance of the site can be achieved in a number of ways including a basic update of the site each month all the way to full technical maintenance giving the site an overhaul to improve speed and optimise the site technically.

It is important to get a strategy in place with your web agency in order to manage your website. This might involve any or all of the following:

  • A monthly maintenance package – for more information see our maintenance packages available here.
  • A monthly reporting on any elements from the security, speed and marketing data available.
  • A monthly content agreement to create and publish content for you. See here for the importance of good content marketing.

Come and discuss how Mart Gordon can help you with managing your website today, we’re here to help.