Years ago, we had to migrate our site to a new host after our current host just started getting slower and slower. No one wants to shift hosting companies… especially someone that's hosting multiple websites. Migration can be quite a painful process. Aside from the speed boost, Flywheel offered free migration so it was a win-win.
I didn't have a choice, though, given that quite a bit of the work I do is optimizing sites for other clients. It doesn't look very good if my own site doesn't load quickly! That said, it doesn't just impact me as a professional in the industry, it's impacting you as well.
Evaluating your website speed may not be of primary importance but that’s only until you figure out the Bounce rate or the Abandon rate for your shopping cart. Your Conversions and Advertising revenues go down steadily without an active formulation of your website speed.
Your site speed is a combination of your hosting and other factors. And before looking at hosting, you should exhaust optimizing everything… and then look at your hosting. Site speed doesn't just impact user behavior, it has a downstream impact on quite a few things:
- Conversion Rates – 14% of your visitors will shop somewhere else if your site is slow.
- Retention Rates – 50% of visitors say they won't be loyal to websites that take too long to load.
- Search Engine Ranking – Search engines want to drive visitors to sites that provide a great user experience. There are a plethora of studies that show that site speed is a direct factor (Google has said so) and because people stay on a fast site, it's an indirect factor as well.
- Competition – Even a subtle site speed difference between you and a competitor can change the perception of their company versus yours. Consumers and business prospects often browse between vendor sites… is yours faster than your competitors?
What Is Site Speed?
While that sounds like an easy question… it's how fast your website loads… it's actually not. There's a huge number of factors that impact the speed of a page:
- Time To First Byte (TTFB) – This is how quickly your webserver immediately responds to the request. A web host with a poor infrastructure may have internal routing issues that may take seconds simply for your site to respond… never mind completely load.
- Distance To Web Host – Believe it or not, the physical distance from your site to your visitor matters. Companies often utilize a Content Delivery Network to help geographically cache their resources so that people that are further from the host still have a fast experience.
- Page Completion – Your page may be fully loaded but have additional assets that are loaded after the page is completed. For example, there's typically a lazy loading feature on modern content management systems where an image isn't actually requested if it's not in the viewable region the browser is looking at. As the person scrolls, the image is requested and presented.
Your Hosting Matters
Paying a few bucks extra can make a huge difference when it comes to web hosting.
- An old hosting platform may be running on old servers and routing infrastructure and never upgraded. As new technologies require additional resources, your site gets slower and slower due to their outdated equipment.
- Your hosting may be shared across more and more clients. As other clients consume resources, your site gets slower and slower. Newer virtual hosting technologies are capable of limiting the resources for each site or account so that you're not impacted by anyone else.
- Newer hosting technologies often incorporate infrastructure for caching and content delivery networks.
Let's do the math. You're paying $8 a month for a cheap website and your competitor is paying $100. You have 1000 customers who spend $300 with you over the course of the year. Because your site is slow, you're losing 14% of your visitors to your client.
You believe you're saving $92 per month, an annual savings of $1,104. Woohoo! But in actuality, you're losing 140 customers x $300 each… so you've lost $42,000 in business to save a few bucks on your web hosting.
Ouch! Folks… don't skimp on web hosting!
WebiteSetup has put together this informative infographic, How Your Slow Website Burns a Hole in Your Pocket, to provide your team with the facts needed to move your organization to a faster infrastructure or hire a team of professionals that can assist you with optimizing your current site. It doesn't have to be an expensive endeavor. In fact, we actually saved money with our new host!