Money, and 5 Others Reasons It’s Disastrous if Your Site is Slow

Nokia wins the Internet

The regular champion of Netflix’s speed index, calculated each month, is Verizon Fios. Others ISPs do sometimes take the top slot. Plus, these tests could be incorrect or misleading. Nonetheless, generally maintaining the highest position in a public speed showcase has branded Fios as lightning-fast. That’s simply in relation to alternative companies. What’s its top guaranteed speed? 500 Mbps.

Well, this much is clear: it’s a major improvement over dial-up. The typical rate for dial-up internet was 56 Kbps. 500 Mbps is the same as 500,000 Kbps — so Fios is about 8929 times as fast as dial-up. It’s a difference so vast, it’s hard to comprehend.

Google Fiber is faster than Fios — twice as fast, at 1 Gbps. However, it isn’t widely available enough yet to be considered a nationwide carrier.

Despite Google Fiber outdoing Verizon Fios, it’s still in the same general range. Technologists have been striving to find the next leap to propel the Internet to a truly blistering pace. Nokia says it has made this discovery through Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS), with top speeds of 1 Tbps.

“1 Tbps is equivalent to 1,000 Gbps,” explained Chris Brantner in Engadget. “So Nokia is saying it’s figured out how to deliver internet that is 2,000 times faster than Verizon Fios, or 1,000 times faster than Google Fiber.”

Who cares? Why the obsession over speed?

This recent news about Nokia is interesting. Is speed really that big of a deal, though?

Yes. Site speed is pivotal, impacting your search rankings, UX, and conversion rate.

Just think about the individual user. No one wants their time to be wasted, so that person will leave if they perceive a site to be slow. The statistics back this up: more than 1 in 5 people will bounce away from a site if pages are delayed for just 3 seconds, according to a 2016 Aberdeen Group report.

The analysis also found that 9 out of every 10 top online stores would keep additional users on their site through focusing more on load time.

“[T]hose same sites are four times more likely to outsell their competitors once site speeds are optimized,” explained conversion expert Jon MacDonald. “According to the study, each visitor (yes each visitor, not each customer) to an e-commerce website is worth, on average, about $50 to the business.”

The $50 amount is an attempt to estimate the total of upfront sales, lead value, and branding.

Now let’s combine these numbers. If your website has 5,000 unique visitors monthly, three seconds of page-loading delay will mean you are effectively losing 1000 (1 in 5) of them to speed. Assuming each of them is worth $50, the total loss is $50,000.

Other than money, why else does it matter how fast your site can run?

  1. Speed is the way you welcome in your customer.

The Web is a land of snap-judgments. Just like a restaurant, your audience, prospects, and customers will be pleased if their Internet “food” comes to them quickly and without difficulty. Speed is associated with efficiency, professionalism, respect, honesty, and follow-through.

A website that fails at delivering data promptly gives us the impression that it is unreliable and doesn’t deserve our business. Incredibly, 79% of consumers claim they won’t return to sites that are slow to load.

  1. “Fast” has become an expectation. 

When we use the Internet, we have become accustomed to speed, and we won’t settle for laggard sites.

Just look at this data from Kissmetrics, which has similar findings to Aberdeen in terms of the small slices of time impacting user behavior:

  • Just under half (47%) of users think your website should load in a maximum of 2 seconds.
  • Two in five (40%) say they will leave a site that hasn’t loaded in 3 seconds.

“Think about how you use the internet every day,” said response time specialist Daren Low. “You’re looking for quick answers and immediate results.”

  1. Swiftness is fundamental to the user experience.

User experience is a key way to create differentiation. It’s essentially a way to deliver greater value to the customer.

Strong user experience is about making things as easy and seamless as you can for visitors. That means they get what they want right away rather than waiting for your site. In this sense, load time is absolutely critical to UX.

  1. Slowness gives you a bad reputation.

When we talk about speed, most of the conversation naturally centers around the immediate issue of a user’s perception and behavior: if your site loads slowly, you can quickly start losing the users on your site right now.

What about next year, though? Word-of-mouth suffers, said Low. “Established websites are less likely to link back to your content,” he said. “It might even put people off signing up to your newsletter.”

Since people think of a slow website as being unprofessional, failure to optimize speed does a disservice to your brand.

  1. Rapidity boosts your search presence.

Google is, so it says, aggressively concerned with speed. One of the main objectives of the company is supposedly to support fast access to helpful information and credible services. Most notably, Google announced in 2010 that speed was a ranking factor.

The Silicon Valley giant’s commitment to speed is, in fact, correct – based on a comparison of search rankings to time to first byte (TTFB).

TTFB is a metric gauging the amount of time between when you click to load a given webpage and when the initial byte comes through, Billy Hoffman explained for Moz. “The TTFB result was surprising [when] a clear correlation was identified between decreasing search rank and increasing time to first byte,” he said. “Sites that have a lower TTFB respond faster and have higher search result rankings than slower sites with a higher TTFB.”

Another way Google has shown that it increasingly prioritizes user speed is that, as of June 2016, there’s a free speed test integrated into Google Search – accessed through the key phrase check internet speed.

Some people have questioned whether or not speed really is all that important. After all, Google clarified in its 2010 explanation that – at least at that time – site speed was an insignificant ranking factor, influencing no more than 1% of search requests.

However, since we are talking above about how users respond to 2-second or 3-second load times, it’s important to understand Google’s perspective on that same timeframe. The bottom line is that if it takes even just two seconds to load, you will be negatively impacted in terms of how much time the search engine spends crawling your site.

That’s evident from a comment made by John Mueller of Google in response to a question in the Webmaster Central Help Forum. A user of Webmaster Tools was wondering why he was getting “Temporarily Unreachable” errors messages via the “Fetch as Google” feature of Webmaster Tools.

“We’re seeing an extremely high response-time for requests made to your site (at times, over 2 seconds to fetch a single URL),” said Mueller. “This has resulted in us severely limiting the number of URLs we’ll crawl from your site, and you’re seeing that in Fetch as Google as well.”

That means if you are slower than two seconds, it reduces the chances that Google will “read” your blog articles and anything else new – in turn damaging your rankings.


Hopefully, it’s clear from the above discussion how important it is to focus on the speed of your site. At KnownHost, our managed SSD VPS packages are based on lightning-fast pure SSD drives. Compare plans.


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