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How Important Is Website Speed for My Business in 2020?

Published by in Web Technology on . Last Modified Thursday, June 11, 2020.

The first few seconds a visitor spends on your website is critical. That’s why it’s also critical to have your website performing at its best during these precious seconds. Let’s take a closer look at why website speed matters so much.

Why Is Website Speed Important?

There are many factors as to why a visitor chooses one website over another. But as we’ll see below, none of it matters if the website doesn’t load before your visitors lose their patience.

1. Users Expect Fast Websites

Users have come to expect immediate results when browsing the web:

  • Your website has to be fast so visitors stay on your website to complete both their own (and your) goal before bouncing (leaving your website before interacting with it).
  • If your website is faster than your competitors, users tend to perceive you as more professional than your competitors.

2. New Technology Requires Better Performance

  • More and more users are on mobile devices—often on unreliable mobile networks. This means that websites need to be even faster than before. One might think the average user is on the latest smartphone—but in fact, the average user device is a $200 device [Source: idc.com].
  • With websites having more features than ever before, paying close attention to performance becomes even more important.

3. Search Engines Factor Website Speed When Ranking Your Website

  • Search engines, like Google, accommodates users’ expectations by factoring website speed into how your website ranks among your competitors. Your website speed plays an important role when it comes to how you rank in search results. [Source: Google Webmasters]

Mobile First Search Indexing

As of 2019, Google puts more emphasis on how websites perform on mobile devices rather than desktop devices. This means that fast performance no longer is a nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity. [Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog]

What Does Page Load Time and Website Load Times Really Mean?

The term page load or website load time can be subject to interpretation. Before getting into some hard numbers, let’s take a moment to define the metric with the biggest real-world impact:

  • “Time To Interactive” (TTI). The time before a web page has displayed useful content, and the page is ready to respond to user interactions (during a visitor’s first visit to a website).

Real-World Website Load Times in 2020

Before looking at exactly how website speed can impact your business, let’s look at some real-world loading times for some context.

I wanted some updated data, so I set out to do some research on my own. I tested the Time To Interactive (TTI) on 150 randomly selected local businesses in Vancouver, WA. The only criteria is that they are operational businesses. The tests are averages from loading the websites on a mobile device, using Google’s Lighthouse Audit Tool.

Here’s what I found:

  • The average load time (TTI) for the 150 business websites is 10.22 seconds.
  • The median load time (TTI) for the 150 business websites is 9 seconds.
  • 70% of the websites have a load time of more than 6 seconds.
  • 41% of the websites had a load time of more than 10 seconds.
  • 20% of the websites have a load time of more than 15 seconds.
  • 8% of the websites have a load time of more than 20 seconds.

But what do these numbers mean for businesses? Let’s find out below.

How Fast Does My Website Need to Load in 2020?

If My Website Loads in Less Than 3 Seconds

You have a fast website. But even within this span, we start to see the effects of load times.

If My Website Takes More Than 3 Seconds to Load

If My Website Takes More Than 5 Seconds to Load

If My Website Takes More Than 6 Seconds to Load

If My Website Takes More Than 10 Seconds to Load

Website Speed: An Opportunity to Leave Your Competitors in the Dust

Looking at the numbers above, surely this sounds like an opportunity to get a leg up on the competition? The answer is a big yes. Those in the know can benefit from this insight, and we’re here to help you build the speedy website your business deserves. It might even be what gets you that number one spot in the search results.

In an upcoming post, we’ll take a look at some of the many measures that can be taken to get up to 2020 speed requirements.