Why Performance Matters

Why Performance Matters

Why Performance Matters

by Jeff Love

18 May 2020

User Experience

There has been a lot of talk the past couple of years about website performance and making your website faster. We are told that our sites need to open in less than 5 seconds, then less than 3 seconds, then less than 1 second, and now we are down to milliseconds that pages need to respond. We are told that our Google Lighthouse score matters and that by having a low score we will be penalized in rankings. But what does this all mean and how does it affect how we approach our sites going forward?

We Live in a Mobile World

This really comes down to we now live in a mobile world. According to a report by bankmycell.com there are 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world today. That accounts for 45% of the population having a smartphone. If you account for mobile phones that number jumps to 61.6% of the population. And this number continues to grow. It is predicted that by 2025 72% of all internet users will solely use smartphones to access the web.

With more users are using mobile devices to browse the web we know that we need to make our websites responsive, so they look good on a mobile device. This has been happening for the past 7-8 years as we started to see mobile devices outgrow desktop. But what does this mean for performance? According to speedtest.net the average download speed in the United States is 41Mbps. With the average page size being 3MB it can take a second alone to download your sites code. This doesn’t take into account the amount of server time to get the file(s), time to run javascript, time for the browser to display your page, etc… So, as more users are using mobile, speeds in the United States are not improving, and pages are getting bigger, this is why we need to figure out how to deliver and display that information faster.

On a side note, that 41Mbps is an average with a good connection. But as many of us know finding a good connection isn’t always easy unless you are in a big city. Many times, when traveling you find yourself with a connection that sometimes is lucky to match speeds from back in the days of modems. This makes it even more important to have a site that downloads and displays quickly.

Page Speed Improves User Drop Rates

When you are dealing with mobile users, seconds and milliseconds count when it comes to a user staying on your site. We recently did an analysis for one of our healthcare clients to show how their Google Lighthouse score and in relation their site speed effects their user drop rate.

From this analysis we found the following:

  • Over 55% of customers are viewing the site using mobile devices
  • Bounce rate of 51 seconds (over half of desktop) means customers are not staying long
  • Mobile conversion rate of .19%, which is half of the desktop conversion rate means mobile users are not converting
  • Time to interactivity of 17 seconds means customers are likely not waiting.

Silled.co did a case study analysis a few years ago and found that site speed made a tremendous difference on user drop rates and conversion. Their analysis of Bing found that a 2 second delay led to 4.3% loss in revenue per visitor. mPulse found that as their pages took longer to load, they dropped over 50% in conversion rate, while their bounce rate doubled as the site went from 2 seconds to 10 seconds. The average mobile landing page clocks in at 22 seconds to load. So, you can see that by decreasing your load time you can gain an advantage over your competition.

How Does My Lighthouse Score Factor Into This?

Google lighthouse is one of the best indicators to help you measure how fast your website loads in a mobile scenario. Lighthouse has a number of metrics that can help you determine what your sites speed is along with some ways that you can improve your score. If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your lighthouse score, you can check out our Google Lighthouse blog series.

Your lighthouse score is also an indicator of how well your site will rank in Google’s index. In March 2018, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing. This means that Google uses the mobile version of your site in their index rather than the desktop version. Then in July 2018 Google notified webmasters that they were going to start using page speed as part of their algorithm in determining how a page ranks. These two items together show the importance of your lighthouse score in relation to how you will rank.

At CyberLancers we have been working with our clients to help them take a more mobile-centric look at their website and focus on how they can improve their mobile page speeds. We have learned a number of tricks to be able to improve performance while not reducing functionality. We would love to talk with you and share some of our tips and tricks.