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Performance in the spotlight: Why performance is so important to the bottom line

Recently, major websites like Mashable have drawn attention to the public impression on website performance. I thought it would be interesting to look into the impact this has on the businesses running these websites. For anyone who has ever struggled to navigate around a website being hampered with performance issues, especially at peak times, the experience is like wading through treacle; it’s slow, unpleasant and you probably want to be somewhere else as soon as possible. So it will probably come as little surprise when I say that various reports show that people are becoming less and less tolerant of poor website performance, to the point of quite quickly abandoning the offending site for a competitor. Here’s some stats about what the people of the world (wide web) think of badly performing websites…

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  • A 1 second page load delay causes, on average, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction (1).
  • 1 in 4 people abandon pages that take more than 3 seconds to load, with more than half citing quick page loads as being an important factor in their loyalty to a site (2).
  • At peak times, more than 75% of customers will leave to go to a competitor’s site rather than suffer delays, and 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience  (3).

While visitors and customers increasingly can’t bear sluggish or unresponsive websites and applications, the people who own the websites themselves should loathe them even more. Here’s a quick overview of some facts and figures to show just how concerned they ought to be…

Performance affects discovery and reputation

  • Google’s search ranking algorithms measure site speed, and use this to rank faster websites higher in search results (4).
  • More than a third of online consumers will tell others about their disappointing website experience (3).
  • Visitors perceive load times to be 15% longer than they actually are, and when recalling later to others, this raises to 35% (5).

This is bad news for slow, low performance websites, but it becomes much clearer and even attention-grabbing when you look at the impact on costs and sales…

Performance affects the bottom line

  • Every 100 milliseconds in page load delay costs Amazon.com  1% of sales (6). This means that, taking into account Amazon’s $67 million in sales each day, a 1 second page delay could potentially lose $2.4 billion of sales each year.
  • By speeding the page load times up by 5 seconds, Shopzilla.com  increased their conversion rate by 7-12%, doubled the number of referrals from search engines and cut the number of servers required in half (7).

On top of that, statistics collected by AOL have shown that faster page loads lead to more page views per visitor, and a less than half a second in page load speed improvement to Yahoo.com increased traffic by 9%. And as the above statistic from Amazon shows, optimising performance represents a significant impact on business. Don’t you think $2.4 billion every year is significant? While your business probably isn’t the size of Amazon, better performance still has a positive correlation with happier customers, more visits, higher conversion rates and increased revenue.

Next time you’re trying to get on a website that just doesn’t want to load properly, think about how much of an effect this is having on what you think of said website, and it will be easy to see for yourself why performance really matters.

Sources

  1. Aberdeen Group
  2. Forrester
  3. Gomez
  4. Google
  5. Stoyan Stefanov, Psychology of Performance
  6. Amazon
  7. Shopzilla

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