Your Slow Website Is Costing You Customers

Three seconds might not seem like a long time, but did you know 40% of customers will leave a website if that's how long it takes a site to load? Here are some tips to help you improve your site's loading time and retain all the leads coming to your pages.

When it comes to marketing online, your website is your first chance at making a good impression on potential customers. It serves as the face of your company in the digital world, and as such, it needs to provide a positive representation to bring in new customers and keep current customers coming back.

In addition to the design and layout of the website, it’s equally important to consider user experience on your site. This especially applies to website speed as it’s the first interaction consumers have with your site.

How does load time affect conversions?

As business owners, we don’t typically think about the impact our website speed may have on the bottom line, but a slow website can seriously impact inbound leads.

Take a quick step back and think about how you utilize websites. If you click on a website in the search results and it takes longer than a few seconds to load, how likely are you to backtrack and choose a different search result?

If you’re like most consumers, that answer is pretty likely.

In fact, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load, with 47% believing sites should load in two seconds or less.

This means that you could lose nearly half of your potential customers before they even access your website.

For those who do remain on the site, the more pages they try to access and the more wait time they have, the less likely they are to make a purchase, fill out a form, or even return to your website.

Not only does poor load time affect whether or not consumers stay on your site, though, it also affects how many people see your site in search results. Website speed is a factor in the Google Search Algorithm, which means that websites with slower load times will be docked and shown lower in the search results.

This can also affect inbound leads as it limits the chances of people clicking on your website.

What can you do to improve site speed?

One of the first things you can do is test your website’s current load time. There are a number of tools you can use, such as Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom, which allow you to view the load time of both your mobile version and desktop version of your website, as well as provide suggestions about what you can do to improve site load time.

Here are a few general things you can check to help improve your site speed to get started:

  • Image sizes: Larger sized images take longer to load, so by reducing image sizes across the website, you can help increase the site speed.
  • Website plugins: Many sites utilize plugins on the backend for a variety of reasons, but be careful of going overboard because too many plugins actually harm your website, including by slowing down load time.
  • Broken links: You should review your website for broken links for many reasons, but also because 404/410 errors can increase bandwidth and load time.
  • Browser caching: Caching refers to the process of storing static files, such as media files, images, HTML documents, CSS files and more, so that the database doesn’t have to retrieve them for every new request. By enabling browser caching, you can help increase site speed time and user experience overall.
  • Website theme: Another big factor that can affect website load time is an outdated or complex website theme. By changing your theme and choosing one based on performance and functionality rather than just aesthetic, you can help increase load time on your website.

There are many additional things you can do to improve your website speed, include using a content delivery network and reducing DNS lookups, but these are just a few to get you started.

As you evaluate your website, it can be a bit overwhelming, but remember that by improving your website speed, you can help increase your overall inbound leads.

John Sammon is the CEO of Sixth City Marketing, a Cleveland-based agency focused on helping businesses create a revenue-generation system through online marketing channels (such as SEO, PPC and social media).

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  • Next up: State Budget Hearings Continue with Latest Senate Proposal

    State Budget Hearings Continue with Latest Senate Proposal

    Last week, the Ohio Senate unveiled its budget revisions to House Bill 166 (HB 166), the proposed biennial state operating budget. The revisions include a proposal to largely restore the business income deduction for small businesses; maintaining the $250,000 threshold and delaying the repeal of the 3% rate until 2020. Thanks in part to the testimony and advocacy efforts of GCP members, the Senate’s proposal to restore the deduction is a step in the right direction for the Ohio Business community.

    In education, the Senate’s substitute bill maintains Governor Mike DeWine’s proposal for $550 million in wraparound services funding for schools but diverts an additional $125 million the House provided for those programs to assist fast-growing districts and expand school vouchers. The bill also restores the TechCred job training grant program, which supports training for in-demand jobs through Industry Sector Partnerships. The program, which is geared toward incumbent workforce, would receive an additional $25 million in funding.

    The Senate version also restores the $40 million motion picture tax credit to its current form and adds program reforms like an extension to live theater. Funding for the Federal Research Network, which aims to stimulate the state’s innovation economy, is increased by $500,000 each fiscal year. In addition, the Senate proposal includes an allocation of $300,000 per fiscal year for the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission in support of Camp James A. Fairfield Joint Military Training Center—one of three sites still being considered for a new East coast missile defense location.

    GCP will continue to monitor and engage the Ohio General Assembly as budget talks continue. A final biennial budget must be signed into law by June 30.

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  • Next up: Small Business Owners Hit Capitol Hill

    Small Business Owners Hit Capitol Hill

    On Monday, June 10, small business leaders from across the country converged on Washington, D.C. as part of the National Small Business Association’s (NSBA) annual Washington Presentation.  Several GCP members serve on the NSBA Board, including acting NSBA Chair Sharon Toerek.  The event featured a procurement and cybersecurity panel discussion, the annual Advocate of the Year Award luncheon, a White House briefing, a lobbying tutorial, the Congressional Breakfast and culminated with the small business owners hitting Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers.

    Following the White House briefing, NSBA provided a tutorial on the key issues for which the delegates were to lobby the following day on Capitol Hill.  NSBA Vice Chair for Advocacy and GCP member, Mike Stanek of Berea, Ohio—a veteran of lobbying on Capitol Hill— gave attendees insight on how best to get their message across to lawmakers during their Hill visits. 

    On Tuesday, June 11, the NSBA delegation headed up to Capitol Hill early, kicking off the day on the Hill with a Congressional Breakfast where they heard from Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Garret Graves (R-La.), Dwight Evans (D-Penn.), and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.). The delegation was also joined by Naveen Parmar, the Policy Director/General Counsel for the House Small Business Committee majority staff and Meredith West, Staff Director for the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, majority staff.

    For the remainder of the event, NSBA’s small business attendees spread out on Capitol Hill and met with lawmakers and their staffs.  Among the various topics discussed, the NSBA delegation focused on free trade issues, cybersecurity, data privacy, taxes, reining-in health care costs, and improving small business contracting.

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