You're probably considered a number of factors to improve revenue and conversions from your website: keyword research, advertising, regular content creation, and so forth. But you might be overlooking an equally important factor: how quickly your web pages load.
William Toll (http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2085970/Why-Marketers-Must-Care-About-Site-Speed) writing for Search Engine Watch notes a number of reasons you should try to speed up web page loading. If you don't believe that your site's speed is important to how much money you make online, keep reading; what I'm about to tell you just might change your mind.
The first point Toll mentions is that how quickly your site loads will reflect on the perception most visitors have of your company and your brand. Indeed, your website might be the first time many of those prospects ever see your brand – and I don't need to tell you that first impressions are important! As Toll notes, “If your website is slow, say for example it loads in three seconds or longer, your prospect begins building the impression that it may not be easy to buy from, or interact with, your company.” In short, your website is an extension of your company; in the minds of many visitors, in some sense it IS your company. Do you need further evidence? Toll cites a Forrester Research study that suggests visitors remember slow sites – and make a conscious decision not to return.
Another reason you need to make sure that your website loads quickly is that your competition is certainly doing it. Toll notes that “if your site is slow, you will certainly lose visitors and revenue to competitors with faster loading sites.” You may not have Amazon's budget for building a fast site, but at least you could see how fast your rivals' sites load and strive to match them.
But one of the biggest reasons to make sure your site loads quickly is pure search engine optimization. If you've been trying to rank your website high on Google's search engine results pages, then you can no longer ignore your site's loading speed. In fact, you should have been paying attention to it for more than a year now. Google announced back in April 2010 that website speed is now part of their ranking algorithm.
Why would Google do this? Toll notes that the search engine is concerned with user experience, and users have better experiences with websites whose pages open quickly. He suggests that Google's second reason for this change is that the search engine is “obsessed with speed.” If you've been keeping up with all the changes Google has made to deliver search results faster and faster, you know what he's talking about.
Fortunately, Google isn't leaving slow websites stranded. Toll wrote that “Google has launched Site Speed reporting in Google Analytics” to let marketers track page load times. The search engine released other helpful tools as well, such as mod_pagespeed to make Apache web servers run faster, and Google Page Speed, which helps developers find ways they can optimize web page performance. Take advantage of these and other tools, and you could see improvements not just to your site's speed, but to your bottom line. Good luck!
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