For Average Web Visitor, Waiting for a Second is like Falling into Oblivion

Let’s say your website load speed is 3+ seconds. That means 40% of your visitors are gone. From every 100 visitors you had, you end up with only 60. If you add some boring or out-dated content to that, at least half of those 60 will leave too. Now, you only have 30 people left. You need to run with lightening speed in order to stay competitive!

Even milliseconds matter. Or at least, that’s what Google engineers have to say. But, does their opinion actually influence your web-sales? It does, and pretty directly. They give higher rankings to websites that have better loading speeds. Why? Well, it is not because they just happen to be picky about loading speeds. Google invests in studying web-users expectations to provide the best possible search results, which means they know what you and I and billions of other people expect from a search engine nowadays.

Here is a crazy statistic that might shock you a bit:

an average visitor leaves most websites within just 8 seconds.

You can probably extend that figure up to 15 or even 20 seconds if you’re lucky or if your target audience is people over 60 years old, who don’t have the computer equipment or skills that younger web-surfers do.

So, what stops your visitors from staying on your page a bit more? Usually, there are only two main reasons: loading speed and poor content.

How can you optimize your web page loading speed?

Once again, website loading speed matters A LOT. It should be under 3 seconds. Google and Microsoft gurus, who spent much more time researching the issue, say it should be even below a second. By the time you read this article, that figure might have already changed into something like below 300 or 500 milliseconds (there are a thousand of them in each second). Anyways, here is what you should do to optimize your page:

Step 1. Check your hosting location. Where is it physically? If your website is hosted somewhere in New York, while 90% of your customer base is located in Australia – you should probably move your hosting to Sydney.

Step 2. There is also a PageSpeed Insights tool within Google Developers products. It even gives you advice as to what should be optimized to get a better loading speed.

Step 3. Use a speed-test platform, such as Pingdom, to find out how much time it takes to load your page.

Remember, while surfing around your fast-working website user has a feeling of control over everything they do. Every time they loose that feeling – you loose customers. Every second matters!

How can you improve your content?

In order not to scare away the majority of your visitors you should do quite a few things:

Avoid long product descriptions that are really boring to read. I bet you believe each paragraph you wrote matters a lot and that’s why it deserves to be on the page, but you have to optimize it. Get to the point when you do a product description. Engage people to get their attention and entertain them to keep it; educate them about your product and encourage them to take the next step.

Don’t put a lot of ads on your page. In fact, you’d better not to put them at all. Focus on creating high quality content and selling your product instead of selling someone else’s. Become a content king in your field. This will generate much better income for you, as opposed to selling someone else’s trinkets.
Focus on the whole website content and not just the home page. Homepages stopped being the main entry point to a website a long time ago.

Make ALL your content interesting, not just the homepage. How often do you manually type the website name to see it? When searching for specific products or services, users aren’t interested in a company description. If they end up on your homepage, they will probably use the search tool again to find what they want. For this reason, the majority of your visitors who come from organic search results will not end up on your main page. What if that secondary page is boring to read? The visitors are gone and your competitors will have better chances with them.

Use your explainer videos wisely. Again, with explainer videos you have, on average, only 11 seconds to convince your visitor to finish watching it. Start with something catchy, something that in 11 seconds will convince your viewer that watching the rest of the presentation will benefit him/her. Otherwise, no one will see what you are selling, let alone understand your product or service. I had a customer who sold web-marketing services. He wrote a script that would waste nine valuable seconds of the most important part of his whiteboard video. Here is a quote from the draft, “This is John. He has an internet shop. He sells souvenirs from coast to coast. He manages a Google Adwords campaign every day, but the conversion rate isn’t that amazing…”

Nine seconds are gone with such story beginning. More than 50% of viewers are also gone. Competitors will probably get those customers now. Here is an improved version of the same script, “Does your conversion rate keep you up at night? Are your web-marketing costs growing rapidly? Does your sales page represent internet history from the late 90’s? Here is a solution to all of those problems…”

Keep your content up to date. When people are looking for information – they want to find something that is relevant now. If your last blog-post or news-feed was updated a year ago – the first thing many people will think is, “Oh, this company must have gone out of business, but their website is still online for some reason”.

We know from the findings that successful businesses, who have around 90% conversion rates, update their blogs a few times per day.

Use explainer videos wisely. Again, with the video – you have just 11 seconds to convince your visitor to watch it till the end. Start with something catchy. Use those 11 seconds to convince your viewer to watch your presentation till the end. Otherwise, nobody will even see what you are selling. I had a customer, who is selling web-marketing services. He wrote a script that was supposed to waist 9 valuable seconds of the most important part of his whiteboard video. Here is a quote from the draft: “This is John, he has an internet shop. He sells souvenirs from coast to coast. He manages a Google Adwords campaign every day, but the conversion rate isn’t that amazing…”

9 seconds are gone. More than 50% of viewers are also gone. Probably competitors will get those customers now. Here is an improved version of the same scrip: “Is your conversion rate keeps you up at night? Your web-marketing costs are growing rapidly? Does your sales page represents the history of the internet in the late 90-s?…”

Avoid irritating features on your website. A good example of an irritating feature is a video or music that plays by itself. When people open multiple pages and they start hearing stuff playing without having launched it themselves – they normally start desperately looking for the page to close it and leave it without ever getting back again. Imagine someone surfing the web with their child nearby, who just fell asleep, when suddenly, loud music starts blaring on their iPad, all because your beautiful page has loaded…

I remember one website with good content, good quality services and competitive prices. Unfortunately, they spoiled it within just few weeks. Today, when you enter that page, you see a well-done whiteboard video, but it starts by itself. When you’re done watching the video and scroll down to see portfolio, you get a notification icon with an offer to subscribe to their news… OK, you close it with a hope to read the content finally, but in less than a minute, you see this pop-up with a lady who offers to “answer your questions.”

Some more video statistics:

BTW, here is another interesting statistic about using videos on your website: 4 out of 5 visitors will leave your page if a video stalls while loading. Why would you ever want to loose 80% of your visitors? So, consider uploading videos to your website from YouTube. It will decrease the workload on your hosting and will increase the probability that your visitor will be able to watch the whole video without interruptions or problems.