If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year. Today’s sites (and especially their users) simply are not adapted to slow website performance. This isn’t just general personal preference, there is a legitimate business case for investing in improving your website speed.
Speed makes your visitors happy and keeps their attention.
The longer your site takes to load, the more likely a visitor will leave without converting into a customer, and the less likely they will be to come back or recommend you to others. Check out these stats:
- 40% of people abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
Speed impacts your Google rankings.
Site speed is a ranking factor. The company cares about it A LOT. In fact, they released this message back in 2010 in a blogpost explaining how websites with faster load times perform better compared to websites with slower load times: “You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.”
Speed helps your site handle spikes in traffic.
Caching and other performance optimizations reduce the chance of your website going down if you get a lot of visitors at once.
Faster, smaller page sizes can reduce your bandwidth costs.
What are you waiting for? Talk to your website host and/or developer to get your site optimized asap. This week we covered WHY, but come back next Tuesday for “HOW to Improve Your Website Speed.”
“Looks will only get you so far, sweetie.” Oh, how my mother was right! Especially when it comes to websites. Sure, your website design looks snazzy, but are you really getting the results your company needs? What were your website goals in the first place? Websites are critical investments for companies and imperative to their survivals in this digital age, but just because a site looks great doesn’t necessarily mean it works great.
A website that truly works and produces results requires intentional, critical thinking on the part of the company and the development team. If your executive team is not involved at this stage of the project, I highly recommend rescheduling to ensure they can attend. The decisions you make now will determine the trajectory of the website design and core functionalities, and the worst would be getting to the end only to realize it doesn’t accomplish the very needs you set out to meet.
A quick litmus test. If you answer “no” to any of these questions, then you know you have a design problem. Here are some key questions to ask yourself as you review your site. I recommend writing out your answers, sharing them with your team (including your designer and your developer), and keeping them as reference points for future iterations. (You can’t go wrong with keeping good documentation. You just can’t.)
Note: Your website will constantly be evolving, so naturally the process of reviewing and evaluating your website should be ongoing as well. So how do you do it?
LOOK AND FEEL
- Does it look professional?
- Is it appealing and appropriate for your target audience?
- Does it authentically reflect the look and feel of your business/brand? Colors, imagery, layout, etc.
- Does the design compliment the look and feel of your social media profiles? I.e. If you looked at them separately, would you know they representing for the same brand across the board?
- Is the message you’re trying to convey to visitors clearly stated and consistently communicated throughout?
- Is the call to action clear? Is it the right call-to-action?
- Does it include the right content?
- Is the content arranged/presented in the best order?
- Can users easily navigate throughout the site?
- Are the most important pieces of information easy to find?
- Do the navigation menus account for all important areas?
- Is there an obvious way for visitors to contact you on any given page of your site?
- Does the site load fast? Is it responsive to clicks, scrolling, window adjustments, etc.?
- Is the site easy to access, navigate, and use on mobile and tablet screens?
What has worked for you? Do you have a specific process for reviewing your website design? Please share your ideas with us below!
What is the ideal action you want your customers to take when they land on your site? What information should they walk away with? These are the kinds of questions that should guide your website design process. Here are a few examples of website strategies and goal-development for various business types. The purpose of this is to provide with you another way of thinking about your project to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS (B2B) – SERVICE OFFERINGS
Guiding purpose: Provide information/resources and generate leads.
The immediate goal of the website should be to:
- Capture the attention of prospective clients that you don’t yet know about
- Speak directly to their needs by clearly identifying pain points and solutions
- Compel them to action (from that point, your off-line sales process will take over but with a far more qualified lead)
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS (B2B) – PRODUCT OFFERINGS
Guiding purpose: feature advanced functionality to drive sales on the site (in addition to information resources and marketing content).
Examples: product demos, sales support, customer support forums, e-commerce, tutorials, etc.
BUSINESS TO CONSUMER (B2C)
Guiding purpose: feature advanced functionality to enable consumers to browse an online store and increase purchases.
Whether you need to build new brand awareness or need to maintain/grow existing awareness will have a big impact on the tactical off-site work that will rely upon close integration with the website. E.g. online/off-line advertising, direct mail, email, social media marketing, etc.
*This also goes for businesses transitioning to operating online for the first time.
General advice: front load your process with extra time to define in detail the role the website will have within your business – how it will fit within your overarching strategy and sales processes. Spending more money on this upfront with your developer will save you big bucks later when you’re making design and functionality decisions.
NONPROFITS & NGOS
General advice: If your developer charges by an hourly rate, look for ways you can save him or her time by doing work upfront in house. For example, you can save a lot of money by providing your developer information at the get-go:
- A thorough marketing analysis
- Your company’s business plan
- Your branding style guide
The developer will still need to spend time at the start of the project to get familiar with all of this information, but it should help cut down on some of the initial hours and save you some conversations and extra work down the road. What kind of strategies have you tried? What worked and what didn’t work? Please share your experience with us!