Losing Mobile Users to Load Times

James Geiger

Lead Developer

Why slow load times decrease conversions

How fast is your mobile website to load? If it’s not lightning-speed fast, it’s possible that you’re frustrating visitors and decreasing conversions.

Page loading time affects your bottom line. It’s a major contributing factor in page abandonment, so if your site takes more than a few seconds to load, many people aren’t going to wait for it. Think about how you feel when you have to wait for pages to load on your smartphone. It’s not fun, is it?

Frequent Issues that Frustrate Mobile Users

Though page loading times are typically slower on smartphones than tablets or desktops, users don’t care. They expect the same experience regardless of the device they’re using. According to Akamai, 73 percent of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered a website that was slow to load in the past 12 months.

More than half reported that a website crashed, froze or received an error. Other common problems users faced in the past year included formatting that made content difficult to read, websites that weren’t available and websites that didn’t function as they should.

So what happens when your website doesn’t meet the expectations of your customers?

  • 40 percent abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

  • 52 percent say that quick page loading is important to their loyalty.

  • 79 percent of shoppers dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from the site again.

  • A 1 second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent and can decrease conversions by 7 percent.

How Fast are Today’s Websites Loading?

Knowing just how impactful load times are, how are websites meeting their users’ needs? Surprisingly, not very well.

HubSpot Research conducted a study that analyzed how websites are performing. Over 26,000 websites were looked at, and the results were rather eye opening.

According to the research, most websites aren’t up to par. HubSpot Research found that the average load time was almost 4 seconds.

Some of the most common reasons for slow load times are:

  • Images and videos that haven’t been optimized

  • Flash software

  • Inefficient or bulky code

  • External media usage

How to Make Your Mobile Site Faster

If your website isn’t where it needs to be, you don’t have to settle for second best. While website performance involves a lot of factors, there are a few significant ones that deserve attention. We look at them in the section below.

Upgrade your site to a responsive design.

Do you have a separate mobile website or a responsive website? Google recommends that you use responsive design because it adapts to all devices, meaning that what users see on a desktop is what they will see on a smartphone.

If you’d like to read more about what responsive websites are and how they can benefit page load times, check out this article from Moz.

Compress your images.

You can take seconds off your page load times simply by compressing your images. This is particularly important if you have a lot of images on your site. Consider that each time an image has to load, it takes time for the page to do so as well. Use a program like Adobe Photoshop to crop, resize and compress your images. Many site owners find that this in itself does the trick!

Minify your code.

Removing unnecessary characters without impacting your website's functionality is referred to as minifying code. This can have a dramatic effect on how long it takes your website's code to be processed, therefore making your site load faster on all devices.

In order to minify your code, you’ll need to get someone from your website team or development team on board. Ideally, you’ll want to remove some JavaScript from the mobile versions of your website so that they load faster.

Change the way videos load.

If videos are integral to your website, consider loading them in the background. If they are not, consider not loading them at all. While videos can be a wonderful marketing tool, they can also slow down load times significantly. You might find that having a dedicated YouTube channel is best.

However, if you do choose to have a video load in the background, talk to a member of your development team. They can insert CSS into the code so that the video won't start playing when a visitor first comes to your page.

Explore using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) helps load content on servers that are closest to the visitor. This way, users get improved availability and performance, and they tend to receive the same experience.

CDNs aren’t necessary for every website, but it’s possible that they can make a difference for yours. CDNs tend to be best for websites with high traffic and a global reach, so if your website fits this criteria, you can provide visitors with a faster experience with a CDN. Read more about the how a CDN can speed up your website.

Conclusion

Page load time plays a significant role in how mobile visitors feel about your brand. It also impacts their experience with your site. How long did they stay for? What did they learn? Did they walk away feeling satisfied? If your mobile website isn’t as fast as it should be, work with your design or development team to get things in order. If you don’t, you’re losing money every day.

About the Author: James Geiger

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, James Geiger is the Lead Developer at SEMGeeks. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Elon University and an Associates degree in Computer Science from Brookdale Community College. He has 4+ years of web development experience, with a major focus on WordPress and user experience.

Talk With Our Team to learn more about this...

Comments?