So, you’ve put time aside to get stuck into some online shopping, but the website you really want to look at is taking an age to load. How frustrating is that! What do you do – do you wait, or leave? You really like shopping on this particular website, but if you do persevere will your order actually go through if you’re having problems already?

Oh dear…we’ve all been there haven’t we. In this day and age we expect our online browsing and shopping adventures to run sleek and smoothly, so when we encounter hiccups we can become quickly frustrated and . Slow loading websites are still far too common, which is surprising really as their owners must know it’s impacting on their visitors and sales.

Let’s have a closer look at the subject of these online lethargic loaders…

Impact on user experience

Today websites are all expected to provide top notch user experience – including fast loading pages. As mentioned above, we users take that feature for granted. Slow-loading site frustrates visitors and increases the likelihood of them leaving before interacting with content or making a purchase.

Impact on search results

It’s not only visitors that slow loading websites annoy. Search engines like Google put great onus on site speed, in fact site speed makes up part of the algorithm that scores websites. Consistently faster loading websites will tend to rank higher in search results, whilst the opposite happens for those slow loading ones.

Impact on conversion rates

Those websites that serve up faster loading pages generally have higher conversion rates. Whether that’s signing up for an e-newsletter, making a purchase, or completing an online enquiry form, users are more likely to stay and engage with a website that loads quickly.

Impact on mobile experience

Most people use their mobile devices to access websites, and many will already be hampered by slower connection speeds. Coming across a slow loading website will be a double whammy for them, and they’ll exit in a flash. Search engines like Google again score websites on how mobile friendly they are, and score down those that are not.

Impact on bounce rate

Slow loading websites act as trampolines – visitors stop by and bounce off immediately! Having a high website bounce rates means that visitors leave without exploring further, and you don’t have the chance to engage with them.

So what causes slow loading websites?

There are quite a few factors that can contribute to website laidng slowly. Here are just a handful of the common culprits…

  • Unsuitable hosting platform
  • Unclean coding
  • Not using Caching techniques
  • Unoptimised images
  • Javascript issues

How to check your own website’s speed

There are quite a few places online where you can check the speed of your own website, but Google provides a good one here:

How to remedy a slow loading website?

Some changes can be made by yourself to enhance site speed, whilst others will need the of someone with technical expertise. With site speed factoring so importantly with visitors and search engines, its probably the best option to invest in a full evaluation by a reputable web developer. Keep in mind too, that checking site speed isn’t a one-off task; regularly monitoring your website’s performance is necessary to ensure optimal performance and speed.