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In episode 57 of the Customers Who Click podcast, I was joined by Robert Rand to talk about site speed.
Site speed is one of the core factors that influence customer experience and in turn, conversion rates. Trust me when I say that customers won’t sit around waiting while your website loads for too long - they’ll bounce in no time, already searching for another ecommerce site that loads faster than yours.
Load speed is even more important for mobile users - as page load time goes from one second to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 123%. And even if the majority of conversions happen on desktop, remember that many online shoppers use mobile for research purposes to then order on desktop - if the mobile experience is unsatisfactory, they won’t bother visiting the desktop version.
Robert is the Director of Partnerships & Alliances at JetRails, a mission-critical eCommerce hosting service. Robert has over a decade of experience in helping merchants benefit from sound eCommerce and digital marketing strategies, assisting organizations of all types and sizes to grow and succeed via digital commerce. Robert is a frequent author and thought contributor in the eCommerce industry, and the host of The JetRails Podcast. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or head over to www.jetrails.com.
02:27 - 15:07 - Why Should Brands Care About Site Speed - Site speed doesn’t just impact the shopping experience or conversion rates - it can also significantly increase your advertising costs. Platforms like Google want to ensure they’re providing the best advertising services possible and always prioritise websites that provide better on-site user experience (including site speed).
Each year, more and more research appears and reinforces the importance of fast sites (not just the homepage/landing page either - product pages also matter). But it’s not something the marketing would necessarily be concerned about - this responsibility belongs to the ecommerce folks or CRO consultants like myself.
15:22 - 17:01 - Biggest Myths and Misconceptions About the Importance of Site Speed - It seems as though many brands simply don’t realize the influence of site speed on their revenue. But Robert is yet to see no impact on conversion rates after a site has been optimised for speed. It might not be a drastic improvement but it’s definitely noticeable, especially over a longer period of time.
17:14 - 30:52 - What Marketers Could be Doing to Improve Site Speed - Really simple things - think about the “weight” of the content you’re about to add to the website (a blog post, for example). Could the images be resized to reduce the load? Similarly, consider using a third-party video player (YouTube, Vimeo) vs uploading the video on your site’s server directly. Think about the widgets and plugins you’re adding to the site too - are they necessary? Do they serve a specific purpose?
Essentially, be more mindful about the fact that everything you add to the site impacts its speed. Even better if marketing regularly collaborates with the web developers to make sure they’re using the right tools from the technical point of view.
31:28 - 37:51 - Common Misconceptions about Improving Site Speed - The biggest one is that you absolutely have to score 100% on a page speed test but on some of the more complex ecommerce sites that’s just not feasible. And then focusing on improving that one metric instead of what side speed really is about - bounce rates, conversion rates etc.
Robert equates optimising site speed to peeling an onion - you do it layer by layer and you need to start by figuring out how bad the site speed is in the first place. So start small and identify factors that slow down your site step by step.
38:15 - 47:40 - Upcoming Trends with Site Speed - One of them would be the use of Progressive Web Apps (PWCs) - basically replacing the front end of a website with more of that app experience. They work wonders for improving the site speed and are primed for the user. But the technology is still in very early stages so it might be challenging for SMBs to obtain.
48:02 - 53:03 - Robert’s Marketing Pet Peeves - Low quality marketing aimed to make sales rather than educate and build a relationship with the customer. Another pet peeve or Roberts is not reviewing the security regularly and instead, kind of waiting for things to go south rather than trying to actively prevent it.If you’d like to hear more from Robert, you can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or head over to www.jetrails.com.