The Importance of Website Speed

Slow websites stop potential customers sticking around and kill conversions, but how slow is your site, and how do you fix it?

Getting Your Website Up to Speed

A slow-loading webpage can, quite literally, stop your website visitors from sticking around. Slow pages kill conversions, as any savvy digital marketer will tell you.

Internet users – particularly shoppers – are an impatient bunch. If it takes more than a few seconds for a page to load they are likely to bounce away from your site and take their business elsewhere.

Losing customers and racking up a slew of abandoned shopping carts is only one consequence of slow loading speeds – it also has a negative impact on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and therefore affects your Google rankings.

Google has made website speed a ranking factor in search engine results, particularly the speed of a mobile responsive version of a website. It’s a known fact that more than half of overall website traffic nowadays comes from mobiles, but it’s also recognised that the majority of mobile sites are slow, mainly because they are bloated with too many elements and features.

A review of customer expectations on speed by Shopify highlighted just how much speed matters to users.

    • 79% of customers “dissatisfied” with a site’s performance are less likely to buy from them again
    • 64% of smartphone users expect a website to load in four seconds or less
    • 47% of online shoppers expect web pages to load in two seconds or less.

A time delay can affect sales, too. Through client experiments, web performance optimizers Crazyegg discovered that speeding up a page by just one second boosted conversions by 7%.

Crazy Egg in their 2022 research also discovered that “..the relationship between load times and conversion rates showed a 25% decrease in conversion rates with just one extra second of load time..” you can read their guide to Speed Improvements here.

Website Speed Check

If you’re concerned about your website speed and how it may be losing you potential customers, the obvious thing to do is to check it and fix any issues that are slowing it down.

So, before we go any further, run your URL through Google’s handy PageSpeed Insights tool.

The results page may appear a little daunting if you’re not an SEO expert or web developer, so here’s a brief explanation of what you’ll be looking at.

The first set of results covers the core web vitals metrics, or field data – the insights of how a user actually experiences your web page. The page you are testing will be recorded as either having passed or failed this assessment.
The Core Web Vitals Assessment is broken down into six metrics, of which four are most notable:

  • First Contentful Paint (FCP) – the time taken for the initial information to download from the browser, including text, background images and vector graphics.
  • Large Contentful Paint (LCP) – the time it takes for the largest piece of information on the page to load. Note, this is a Google ranking factor.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – measures the shifting around of page elements like images and contact forms on the screen as the page loads (this is also a Google ranking factor).
  • First Input Delay (FID) – a measure of the site response time from when a user first interacts with it.

The diagnosis of performance issues will give you a score out of 100 to indicate how poorly, or well, your site scored in the speed test, with the relevant metrics, displayed along with a screenshot of the webpage under review.

The “Opportunities & Diagnostics” section is where you’ll find all the important information about what you can do to improve your site’s speed. Use the drop-down arrows alongside each item to find out more detailed information.

Every Second Counts


The PageSpeed Insights will give you an estimate of how much load time can be saved by implementing the suggested “opportunities”. Individually these may seem infinitesimal, but remember that according to research nearly half of consumers expect a website to load in a maximum of two seconds. Every millisecond saved is therefore worth having and can improve user experience.

Happy users are keener to react to those calls to action on your page and convert into customers, so decreasing page load time translates into more business. This has been borne out by various studies that put increased conversion rates after decreasing page load time at between 3 and 17 percent.

Don’t forget the bonus is that bettering your page speed may well also have a bearing on your ranking in the Google search results. As mentioned earlier the LCB and CLS metrics are taken into account by Google as ranking factors.

Google are so keen on producing search results for users that rank fast loading websites that have a dedicated section of their Think With Google marketing advice platform dedicated to mobile website speed. 

If you don’t trust your web development or SEO skills to do what it takes to speed up your website, hire a professional to do it for you – and do it in a hurry. When it comes to webpage loading times, there’s definitely a need for speed.

Why not make a quick call to the friendly team at Dentons Digital on 01373 580126 to find out more?

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Fill in the form below, and one of the Dentons Digital Team will be in touch.

If you would rather, you can ring up for a chat, or drop in for a coffee. We can help and advise you on how to improve your digital presence. There are no catches.

About The Author

Lucille Parker

Lucille Parker

Lucille is Dentons Digital content writer, crafting SEO friendly content for clients’ websites and blogging for the company. She’s been writing for the web for more than 20 years after switching to digital from a career in print journalism.

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