The world of web performance is in many ways a very technical one. It’s niche, specialised. It’s technical people tinkering with code.
To some extent, this is all true. But it’s not – or shouldn’t be – the whole truth.
When we’re busy working on ways to make web pages load faster, it’s important not to lose sight of why we’re doing it. Most of the time, we’re helping organisations to make more sales. And that makes it something that marketing departments should care about.
So we thought we’d highlight a few things about web performance that we think every marketer should know.
We spend a lot of time talking to people about why they should care about their site’s load time. A poor-performing site can result in lower conversion, higher bounce rates, higher abandonment rates and even higher costs. Sometimes, we find ourselves preaching to the converted. Sometimes it falls on deaf ears. But if we tell someone their site’s speed will affect their search engine ranking, we invariably have their attention.
It’s surprising how many people don’t know that performance is a factor, particularly when Google’s been taking it into account since 2010. And it doesn’t just affect natural ranking. Performance is also a factor in determining quality scores for PPC ads and has been since 2008.
Now, though, it looks as though Google might be about to take this a step further. According to a recent article on Search Engine Land, a new “slow” label is under test. A small, red flag would appear next to results for pages that are slow to load, warning searchers that the page could take a while to appear.
When we talk about web performance, we often talk about the user experience. A slow website means visitors are less likely to be happy. Unhappy visitors might leave and go to a competitor or, at the very least, be inclined to view your organisation less favourably.
With this in mind, simple common sense suggests an obvious link between web performance and revenue, and there are a number of well-publicised case studies that back this up.