In a remarkable infographic I stumbled across over at website 101, 25% of users will leave your page if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. 25% more will leave if it takes more than 7 seconds, so in essence if your pages takes 8 seconds to load you’ve lost a half your audience even before your page starts loading. This is pretty remarkable, 8 seconds is all it takes to lose 50% of your customer base, that’s the time it takes for people who are ‘waiting’ to turn off and head on over to other websites, presumably websites who don’t take more than 8 seconds to load.
As unfortunate as it sounds, this is really a case of webmasters and blog owners screwing themselves over, after getting half the battle won which is getting visitors to click links to your site or heading over to your site via SEO or Social Networks, you then shoot yourself in the foot by having a slow websites.
So how do you fix a slow loading site? Recently I wrote in post on how you can fix your slow loading wordpress site, but that post was more about finding issues with your site. You should also look into installing a cache application of some sort to help increase the speed of your website. Finally you should also have a mobile version of your site, (something I’ve procrastinated on doing for a long long time). According to the same infographic 25% of US users only browse the internet on their phones or tablets, completely neglecting their PCs and Laptops, so if you plan to reach out to a wider audience getting a mobile page up and running would be a good idea.
The infographic is pretty interesting, but I’m really surprised at the numbers. It probably explains why I have such a high number of users who leave my page within 10 seconds of reaching it, I always wondered what they could gleen in 10 seconds to turn them off so easily, it’s clear now that it was a case of the users leaving before the page even loaded.
So I took a look at my own blog to see if this was true. I started out with Google Analytics to check on my engagement and the results were startling:
A full 75% of visitors left my blog within 10 seconds, now that 10 seconds is just Google’s categorization, I’m quite sure a lot of users left within the first 3-5 seconds. What that meant is that after all my blood sweat and tears in getting 1800+ people to my site a vast majority of them (more than 2/3) left before even reading it. This was the first time in my life I felt like my efforts were really wasted.
Then to round it up I visited loads.in to check my website loading speed, and lo and behold:
According to the website my page loaded in 8.7 seconds, and I’m willing to bet that it as because my website took 8 seconds to load that I’m losing so many readers. This requires a lot of effort to get that down to just 3 seconds, and that’ll take some effort. I’ll keep you informed.
Till then, it’s a good reminder to anyone who owns a blog or website, that just because your site loads in 8 seconds, and you’re getting a good number of hits, unless you’re only interested in hits (and you shouldn’t be), you need to look long and hard to get your load time to under 4 seconds.