August 10, 2014
One of the biggest benefits of having a speed optimized website is to make it rank better over your competitors. This was confirmed after Matt Cutts of Google revealed that loading speed is taken into account when the algorithm ranks a website, known as a ‘ranking metric’. This was seen as a move towards a stronger focus on mobile devices after Google did their research and found more than half of local searches were done on mobile devices, and 61% of people make an opinion on a product if they’re offered an appealing mobile experience. A fast website on any browser means it can also open comfortably on portable devices. A reason which could have influenced the decision to come up with responsive WordPress(WP) themes compatible across all platforms.
More often than not, a slow website could be due to either a broken link brought by a plugin, or the WordPress code has errors which may have been caused by malware. Another reason is the addition of high resolution images inside the theme files. These take extra time to load both for the end-user and search engine crawlers. There are a number of recommendations for addressing this but before looking in to this in depth, it is better to understand WHY speed optimized WordPress themes are a MUST-HAVE.
It is a well known fact that most people love fast websites and will mostly leave a site that’s too slow. This factor alone should influence your decision in making your site as fast as possible; that is, if you care about your visitors. According to Kissmetric, 47% of consumers expect a site to have a response time of two seconds or less and if it doesn’t they’re likely to abandon it (resulting in a higher bounce rate).
Good user experience is what brings extra business and not merely how ‘awesome’ the website looks, which is how many owners try to compensate for shortcomings in speed.
Google Loves Fast Themes (Organic Ranking)
It’s now clear that Google loves fast sites and this is largely made possible by the WordPress theme you choose. More and more, WordPress themes are developed with the purpose of offering a great user experience while helping increase their rankings on Google. Google has made it abundantly clear that quick loading, and optimized performance, are amongst the most favorable website attributes.
So a quick site will not only impress your visitors, but also boosts your Google ranking, giving you greater organic exposure and bringing more visitors to your site! This alone should convince you of the importance of page loading times.
Many would wonder if the speed of a website can really have much effect on sales or conversion rates. Consider this recent proof. According to a survey conducted by Akamai and gomez.com, it was discovered that nearly half of web users anticipate that the site will load in less than two seconds; otherwise they will give up and abandon it. Furthermore, about 79% of online shoppers who have a problem with loading speed vow never to return to the site again and at least 44% would inform friends if they had a bad experience while shopping online.
These statistics demonstrate that conversion is not only lost from those visitors and potential customers, but also their circle of friends, ( which can be vast in social media circles) creating a very intricate (and likely devastating) effect on the potential sales. All this … just by not taking time to improve the speed and user experience when selecting your theme.
The speed of a website helps increase its site traffic since it already enjoys a higher Google ranking providing increased visibility. Thereby, it’s easy to convert your web visitors to potential customers and eventually to increased sales and a better ROI (Return on Investment).
In summary, it can’t be emphasized enough that the speed of WordPress themes should be absolutely developed to load faster because the end results justify the efforts.
1. Your website will be ranked higher by Google.
2. The visitor will have a more enjoyable experience … which is more likely to convert to sales.