Fast loading times are important for any online business. If WordPress is slow, it costs conversions and ultimately money. We explain what effects poor performance can have and what it has to do with SEO.
The big online retailers recognized it early on: The loading time of their stores has a direct impact on sales. Amazon calculated in 2012 that a one second drop in loading time would mean $1.6 billion in lost sales.
The best-known figures on this issue come from an experiment conducted by Walmart, the results of which were published in 2012. Walmart had noticed that its website loaded extremely slowly in some cases - in some cases it even took 24 seconds to display product pages. To find out what effect this had, the Americans contrasted two groups: One was presented with a significantly faster version of the website, while the other had to struggle with the slow version. The results speak for themselves.
WordPress slow? Make up to 10 per cent more turnover with one second
Every tenth of a second saved in loading time brought the Americans a full per cent extra turnover; in theory, every second that can be saved brings around 10 per cent turnover.
The colleagues from Kissmetrics have compiled more recent data based on these findings and come to the conclusion: The relevance of page load speed has even increased. This is because 19 percent of users leave a website that takes five seconds or longer to load. In addition, more than half of users expect websites to load a little slower at most on their mobile device than on their PC, but not significantly slower.
If a website is just one second slower than average, it can cost seven percent in conversions. For a store that makes 100 euros a day, that means up to 25,000 euros in lost sales per year.
And all because of a slow website! So when it comes to performance, it's worth taking a close look.
WordPress slow? Increase conversions by a whopping 2% with one second
In addition to a direct correlation between page load speed and sales, the Walmart team also found an influence on overall conversions: every second brought an average increase of two percent in the conversion rate. This value can determine the existence or demise of any store and also has an influence on the Google ranking.
If WordPress is slow, users bounce faster
The Walmart team found a direct correlation between the level of bounce rate and website performance. In other words: If WordPress is slow, users will leave your site faster and spend less time browsing it.
All three factors - the loading speed, the bounce rate and the interaction behavior - have an impact on your Google ranking. If WordPress is slow, it has a direct and indirect impact on your position in search results.
A short loading time therefore benefits your website threefold: it avoids conversion and sales losses, ensures potentially better interaction, and improves Google's ranking.
Conclusion: Whether WordPress is slow is decided in the head, not on paper
When it comes to WordPress performance, you can't just rely on bare numbers. Because all research results are average values and only give an indication of what a WordPress performance optimization can ultimately bring. The bottom line is to make sure that you get the feeling of surfing on a fast website. An improvement of the loading time by half a second is therefore of little use if the user does not also notice this difference.
Therefore, when optimizing, you need to pay special attention to improving the customer experience and not just the speed test result. But before you start optimizing, you should first understand why WordPress is slow. Three factors play a role here: the technical performance of the server, the performance range of the hosting plan and the page structure.
In the upcoming posts of our performance section, we will share this knowledge with you and show you what you can do with it. We'll explain what makes WordPress slow, how to identify the key bottlenecks, what optimization steps you can take, and how to make sure your site performance stays consistently high.