Why loading speed is so important for your website

The time your website takes to load (load speed) is vitally important to the success of your website – and it’s only going to become more important.

Why? Well a faster loading site affects every important factor, from usability – and therefore sales – to how your site is ranked in search results. In short, it affects your bottom line as a business.

You may have the best website in the world, but few people will wait more than a few seconds for it to appear

The latest research shows that people are becoming more and more impatient as far as slow loading sites are concerned, and therefore more and more likely to give up on a website they have to wait for.

fast photo
While searching for a suitable picture to illustrate speed we found this one of Guy Martin. It’ll do.

A fast loading website means that visitors – your customers – are likely to spend more time on your site and look at more pages. Their overall experience is better when everything runs quickly – in effect the interface doesn’t get in the way of what they want to do.

Also, speed is becoming more and more important in how a site appears in Google searches.

One of the factors Google measures is usability, and Google sees load speed as an increasingly important factor and there have been plenty of cases where a slow loading site has jumped up search results purely from a decrease in load speed.

What is an acceptable load time?

Estimates vary, but the consensus is your website should completely load within 2.5 seconds of a visitor arriving on a page.

But in practice, and especially for a business website, load times of 1 second or less are far more desirable.

There are several reasons why load speed is having such an effect on the performance of business websites. They are:

  • General impatience on the part of website users
  • Faster broadband speeds mean a slow loading website is more obvious than ever, which (guess what?) makes people even more impatient
  • Increased use of mobile devices to view the web, often over a slower 3G connection

So, although internet connection speeds are getting both faster AND slower, a slow loading website is a disadvantage.

What makes websites load slowly?

There can be many reasons for this, but the usual culprits are:

  • A poor or average quality hosting environment – cheap hosts are usually the worst (but not always)
  • A poorly constructed website that isn’t optimised for faster loading
  • Overly complex websites with lots of clutter, excess graphics and unnecessary complexity

 How do we cover this at Moghill?

We’ve always adopted the principle of simplicity in building websites, and have optimised as much as possible.

But it’s become clear to us that the website hosting service we have been using is a limiting factor, and for a long time we’ve been looking for a replacement. Our shared hosting account with Heart Internet, who we’ve been with for five years,  offers well above average performance but it’s been clear for a while we needed something better to meet the modern challenges.

It also goes with our general philosophy of continuously improving everything we do.

This is why we have opened an account with one of the top five hosting providers worldwide, SiteGround. We have a separate blog post that explains our reasoning behind this, but the long and the short of it is that the websites we look after are loading far faster than they did on Heart’s hosting platform.

Some of our sites are loading five times faster than before

Most of our sites have easily hit the 2.5 second target until now, but after moving onto SiteGround the same sites are loading up to five times as fast

Even sites we built especially for speed are loading in less than half the time they did when they were hosted on Heart Internet.

On Heart we had to work really hard to get a site to load in less than a second. On SiteGround we launched a new website last week with a homepage load time of just over 300 milliseconds.

This is just the start and if you need your site to load even faster there are more things we can do.

Needless to say, we are building all new sites on the SiteGround platform, and moving all our premium clients onto it too. This website will follow too shortly.

If we move your site we’ll tell you when you’re doing it.

If you would like this new service and haven’t heard from us, just open a support ticket and we’ll get back to you.

Photo by Nathan E Photography