Prevailing Wisdom


Speed Matters!

by Bill Arnold

A post about the importance of your website load time for website visitors and economic impact to your bottom line. From our WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION: TIPS & STRATEGY SERIES. 

“America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.” 
Will Ferrell

If you replace America with Google, you have the essence of this blog. SPEED MATTERS! We live in a fast paced world where everybody’s attention span seems to decrease each year.

It could not be more apparent or critical than when it applies to your website. The bitter truth about speed is that if your website loads too slow, it will cost you revenue.

How slow is TOO slow?

It was not too long ago that the conventional wisdom was that you had to communicate your website value proposition in seven seconds to capture the visitor. Those were the good old days.

While some very authoritative experts are still saying that you have seven seconds to impress your audience (url reference withheld to protect them), we could not disagree more. You no longer have the luxury of seven seconds. If your website does not capture the interest of the visitor in 2 seconds or less, you will lose a significant percentage of traffic and potential sales. Don’t believe it? Then, consider this from our friends at Kissmetrics:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

What is even more impactful is that you lose this traffic forever. More than 90% of visitors will never come back to the website or use an application that takes more than 2 or 3 seconds to load. (Social Media Impact)

What does this mean in lost opportunities for a Desktop website visitor?  Consider this chart:


Desktop Load Speed

 # of Visitors Available to Learn Value Proposition

Percent Decrease

2 Seconds



3 Seconds



4 Seconds



7 Seconds



10 Seconds




You work really hard, and spend a lot of money and time, getting qualified traffic to your site. All that is for naught if your site takes more than 2 seconds to load. Consider the tale of two competitive eCommerce companies. These are two real world examples:


     Company A

      Company B

 page-speed_fast.png page-speed_slow.png 


Regardless of how much better Company B’s products might be, the world may never know. For every 10,00 website visitors who stick around to learn Company A’s value proposition, only 1,878 will take the time to learn about company B. All because their website loads too slow.

What does speed mean in terms of actual dollars? 

If an eCommerce website is making $100,000 per day, just a one second delay in the page load time could potentially result in a $2.5 million loss in sales per year. Imagine what a 20.8 second delay is costing Company B. Here is a chart that shows how to calculate the improvement revenue for each second improvement in load time.



How about mobile load time?

For mobile devices, the problem is even more dramatic. This is especially true when you consider that in the US, UK, and Germany one-third of all eCommerce sales are on mobile devices. That number rises to seventy percent in Asia (BigCommerce). With eCommerce accounting for over $2,290 trillion dollars in worldwide sales in 2017 (eMarketer), there is a lot to lose or gain. You shouldn't allow business to be lost, just because your site is not optimized to load quickly.

Let’s look at how our two eCommerce companies fared on a mobile device. To ensure complete impartiality, we will use the results from a company whose opinion really matters, Google. While Company A 's mobile load speed was 4 seconds and cost them 10% of their visitors, Company B’s results were as follows:



Thirty-three percent of their mobile traffic bounces before the site even loads. It is hard to dispute the impact this is having on both their traffic and sales.  After all, if Google is telling you that 33% of your traffic is lost due to load speed, you better listen.

UX/UI Realities

The sad reality is that Company B’s loss of both Desktop and Mobile visitors, due to load speed, is just the tip of the iceberg. Google is becoming increasingly sophisticated, to the point they will send more traffic to sites that have optimized the user experience. Website load time is one of the factors that determines if the user experience is optimized (Search Engine Land). While the amount of impact a poor loading site has on your site’s Google’s page rank is not known, we do know it is substantial. 


The good news is that there is no mystery on how to improve the load time of a website. Often, your existing site can be optimized and the load time reduced to an acceptable number. Occasionally, it is necessary to rebuild the site from the ground up. 

Contact us, If you would like a free evaluation of your website's performance, that of your competitors', and recommendations on the improvements that can be made to get you to marketing sales success.

“There are no speed limits on the road to success.” 
― David W. Johnson

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