Most business owners are just becoming aware of the importance a quick loading website has on your online presence, yet many don’t know just how vital it is. We hear the question all the time: “How much money am I losing due to slow website speed?” The answer, unfortunately, is much more than you think.
Just think of it this way: how do you feel when you visit a poorly-performing website? Are you willing to wait around while a slow site loads? Are you less than impressed when elements fail to appear? If you are, you’re not alone. According to recent surveys, nearly 90% of customers say they are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience. More than 75% of people reported leaving a slow-loading website for a competitor’s site.
To improve the user’s browser experience, Google has reportedly made site speed a factor when it comes to ranking websites. This means that a slow website may no longer show up at all for those valuable keywords that your business relies on.
So, is there a way to calculate how much business you could be losing due to a slow website? To find the cost, use this formula:
(Monthly Traffic * Est. Visitor Loss) * Conversion Rate = Est. Conversion Loss
Let’s say, for example, you convert 5% of your traffic, your traffic is 10,000, and you’re losing 10% of your visitors:
(10,000 * 0.10) * 0.05 = 50
If 20% of your website conversions become cases and the average case is worth $10,000, then:
(Conversions * Case Rate) * Average Case Value = Est. Speed Cost
(50 * 0.20) * 10,000 = $100,000
Cost due to slow website = $100,000 per month
So, now that you know how much money you might be losing due to slow site speed, how do find out what’s causing it, and more importantly, how do you fix it? First, make sure that the company that manages and hosts your site performs a site speed test to identify any issues that might be slowing it down.
Your provider will likely run a basic site speed and maybe more detailed load time tests. We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of the most important reasons your site is loading slowly.
When a browser makes a request to download your site, it must load every JS/CSS file before the site can be shown, or be rendered. For this reason, it’s recommended to combine external CSS files when possible. Switching to inline JS and CSS can also help some websites. However, many have seen the best results deferring JS until the rest of the webpage is viewable.
A CDN allows you to host your website on a network of physically spread out servers, diminishing the time it takes for distant visitors to load your site. By using just one main server for all your traffic, you are adding unnecessary load time to your website.
You can also load some of your websites code, like jQuery, on a CDN just like you would with other media. Popular solutions like Cloudflare will work for the majority of websites.
Your database holds all the information needed for your site to work. The files in your database can vary from logs to plugins or theme files and folders that can accumulate over time. This excess, or “overhead,” can cause database queries to increase load time. If the overhead goes unoptimized too long, your visitors could start experiencing server time-out errors.
Server maintenance is an important factor to keeping your site at top speed. This is something your website managing/hosting company should do regularly, as it only takes access to the phpMyAdmin tool to start optimizing your tables.
As cameras continue to get better, image and video files will continue to get larger. Hosting high resolution images and video on your site can make it look more clean-cut, but it could also be slowing down your site. Luckily there are many ways you can optimize your images via compression.
Some plugins for your site help you compress images that are delaying your load speed. There’s also free online tools like TinyJPG that accomplish the same thing. Compressing video files is more complicated and not recommended. For this reason, hosting them externally on sites like Vimeo or YouTube are commonly the most efficient solutions.
If you’re ready to get your site up to speed, contact The Search Engine Guys today. Our web designers have the expertise to boost your site’s speed so you can retain more of your income. Contact us at (512) 394-7234 or online to get off to the races.
This new web design features a stunning video at the top of the landing page, showing the attorneys hard at work and highlighting the professionalism with which they carry themselves. The firm’s total settlements of over a billion dollars is prominently overlayed on top of the video, sending a powerful message of success.
This site’s use of video and parallax effects is compelling and draws visitors in to see more. This is of incredible importance in web marketing, as most people leave a website within seconds of getting to it. If you are looking for a website design for your law firm that can help you retain visitors, call The Search Engine Guys at (512) 394-7234 and speak with our knowledgeable web development experts.
The Search Engine Guys has launched a new website for the Columbia DUI defense attorneys of Truslow & Truslow.
The new website design puts the information searchers need at the forefront and showcases the experienced and approachable attorneys of Truslow & Truslow. By putting the attorney’s photos at the forefront of the design, we allow potential clients to get to know who they are going to put their faith and trust in through the criminal defense process.
Building websites for client conversion and SEO requires a specific attention to detail. Additionally, achieving desirable rankings don’t usually happen by chance. At The Search Engine Guys, we’ve been handling SEO for lawyers since 2007. To learn more about our web marketing services, give us a call at (512) 394-7234.
We’ve recently launched a new website for Therapy Hair Studio, a Houston-based hair salon. The new design implements a sleek, smooth parallax scroll, enabling it to deliver a lot of information in a way that looks great and is easy to digest. We’re really proud of the result:
If you’re looking for a new web design for your site, get in touch with us at (512) 394-7234. Our philosophy of designing websites for conversion helps keep our clients’ phones ringing.
Here are the two main reasons you should make sure your website is mobile friendly:
To test if Google considers your website to be “mobile friendly” click here.
Keep in mind that if you have a great website and don’t want to go through the process of re-designing it from scratch, we are able to convert your website into a responsive theme. Depending on your design, some or many elements may need to change… but we can often maintain the overall look and feel of your design.
If you would like to explore a new responsive website, or converting your existing website to a responsive theme – call us at 800.267.1704 and one of our account managers will help you determine your options.
It surprises me that there are websites out there that do not consider and incorporate conversion into the fabric of the design. It’s one thing to have a website that is pretty. It’s another thing to have a website that subtly persuades people to read, click, and buy (or submit contact information through a form).
Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind if you are thinking about building a website where the intent is to turn visitors into customers.
Unless the visitor is doing research, most people coming to the site actually do not have much time. Walls of text can turn them away. If the visitor knows what they want and is particularly motivated, it is likely that he or she would rather call or email to connect with a human being before making a decision. Thus, a phone number, email form, or some other form of contact must be less than one click away from any landing page. It should be clear and easy to find.
If your product or service has won any awards or accolades, show it off. Even if these awards are not that big of a deal in your industry, you’ve got to remember that your visitor likely does not know this. Accolades show that your company is a leader in the industry, is respected by peers, and is involved in your industry’s community.
In my opinion, the best customers are informed ones; customers who understand the value and complexity of your product or service. An informed customer asks pointed, perceptive, and inquisitive questions because they want to understand the impact that your company will have. If you have answers to these questions, you become an authority on the topic, you build trust with your consumer, and, hopefully, loyalty through his or her purchase. Information on your industry should be delivered in an easy-to-digest manner with headlines that pique the person’s interest and appeal to both novice and more experienced customers.
The best “don’t take my word for it” tool is the testimonial. It’s even better if it is displayed on a third party website like Yelp, Google, Avvo, Angie’s List, CitySearch, etc. This gives you a vote of confidence from a previous customer who went above and beyond to give you a good review. If one hundred people have given you a 5-star rating, what are the chances that this person will have a bad experience?
Remember, even if your website is on the first page of search results, there are other businesses right next to you doing everything they can to get the customer before you do. The last thing you want to get in your way is a website that doesn’t do a good enough job of putting your best foot forward. It may be beautiful, but it’s of no use to the visitor if it is simply a work of art.
To learn more about designing websites for conversion, give us a call (512) 394-7234.
To contact the author, emails can be sent to: email@example.com
Since the idea of the internet and websites first caught on around 1989, marketers and designers have been studying intently to find the best way to leverage consumer interaction. Just like in traditional marketing, a great deal of research is conducted with the intent of discovering how web users engage with the information on any given website. When The Search Engine Guys take on a new client for design and optimization, one thing we try to keep in mind is the way people naturally scan any given page for information that they’re looking for. Luckily, we don’t need to spend much time researching this user interaction because there are plenty of other groups interested in this kind of data, and they have made it readily available to anyone who searches for it. I want to provide a little bit of insight into some of the more popular studies on eye-tracking and how we use these data in our designs.
The idea of tracking eye movements and creating diagrams dates back to the late 1800’s when a French ophthalmologist noticed his test subjects were reading in a series of short stops and quick movements, as opposed to a long, smooth sweep. Here is an early diagram of fixations and saccades, the quick movements from point to point:
This observation was further explored in the 1900’s, first with primitive contacts that had aluminum pointers, and later by reflecting beams of light off of the subjects’ eyes and onto a film. It was later observed that eye movements are largely dependent on the task given to the user. To quote Alfred L. Yarbus,
“Records of eye movements show that the observer’s attention is usually held only by certain elements of the picture…. Eye movement reflects the human thought processes; so the observer’s thought may be followed to some extent from records of eye movement (the thought accompanying the examination of the particular object). It is easy to determine from these records which elements attract the observer’s eye (and, consequently, his thought), in what order, and how often.”
In the 1980’s we saw the advent of real-time eye tracking using computers. This allowed for a much more accurate depiction of how the user interacts with any given image or text. The pieces were finally coming together to lay the foundation for eye tracking on web pages.
Well, not in the scary big brother sense. In 2009, Microsoft sponsored a popular study titled, What Do You See When You’re Surfing? Using Eye Tracking to Predict Salient Regions of Web Pages. The premise of the study was to gain “an understanding of how people allocate their visual attention when viewing Web pages”. While there had been similar studies in the past, the researchers point out that these studies were generally ambiguous, only identifying scan paths as opposed to fixation time, or using only three different sample pages for test subjects. Leveraging an eye-tracker built by Tobii Technology, Microsoft presented 361 web pages to 20 test subjects. With the data they collected, Microsoft was able to describe the general flow of eye movements, which provides us with invaluable information about user interaction. A few notable facts:
The study suggested that those who use the internet once or more a day spend less time actually reading the content, and scan pages faster than those who do not use the web as often. Other findings include:
The most linked-to research done on eye-tracking was conducted by the Nielson Norman Group, or NN/g. The study is a 355 page report based on usage data from over 300 users looking at hundreds of different websites. The findings revealed many important insights.
We found that users’ main reading behavior was fairly consistent across many different sites and tasks. This dominant reading pattern looks somewhat like an F and has the following three components:
- Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F’s top bar.
- Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This additional element forms the F’s lower bar.
- Finally, users scan the content’s left side in a vertical movement. Sometimes this is a fairly slow and systematic scan that appears as a solid stripe on an eyetracking heatmap. Other times users move faster, creating a spottier heatmap. This last element forms the F’s stem.
F-shaped Heat Maps
NN/g also reported several interesting bits about different reasons users utilize search functions, how they analyze those search results, and how they choose which to choose:
One final point worth mentioning from this study is the classification of scanning behaviors, and why people may read more or less content on your website.
- Exhaustive review: People look extensively and repeatedly at an area or page because they expect the information they want to be there, but they cannot find it.
- Directed scanning: A person looks for specific information such as a name or word and expects to find it on the page.
- Motivated scanning: Scan patterns fueled by good page layout, interesting content, personal interest, or a trusted suggestion.
- Impressionable scanning: A person is more open to reading the words as the author has written them.
Here at The Search Engine Guys, we pay attention to details like these to make sure that our clients’ websites are optimized to capture the attention of the user. Our goal is to make sure the user has quick access to whatever information they may have been looking for. Contact and brand information is seen quickly, followed by easy navigation to deeper areas of information. Thinking about it, it makes sense that web designers use this kind of knowledge to help map the flow of a website. Being able to leverage the instincts of a user means higher conversion rates and in turn, more leads, and that’s good news for everyone.
To contact the author, emails can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Years ago, we made a conscious choice to transition our sites away from ASP/ .NET and embrace WordPress as a standard across all of our client sites. The ease of use and flexibility that are inherent with that CMS made the decision a no-brainer. Now, our content team is able to update sites in a matter of minutes when a request comes in from a client.
Even with the convenience factors that have made this platform the world’s dominant content management system, big problems still arise when managing hundreds of WordPress sites across a plethora of hosts and IPs. Simply from a content uploading perspective, having to open up and pick through a spreadsheet with hundreds of user names and passwords every time you want to get into a site becomes quite the chore. Want to test a module over all of your sites? Get ready for an all night marathon and carpal tunnel syndrome.
We needed a solution that would give us the ability to do a lot of things from one central hub and it seems we have found one that fills our requirements and much more. After a lot of research, we came to the conclusion that InfiniteWP is the answer we’ve been looking for. Not only can we upload to and edit any of our sites from one place, we are able to check analytics; globally install, configure and test modules; check analytics; schedule backups and a lot more, from one place.
If you’re managing more than one WordPress site and want to make the most of your time and efforts, it’s time to sit up and take notice of this revolutionizing product.
The Search Engine Guys have received an “Outstanding Achievement” award from the Interactive Media Awards for our work on Greenway Law, LLC’s website (http://www.greenwaylaw.com).
The Outstanding Achievement award is the second-highest honor bestowed by the IMA judges. The criteria on which we were judged included design, content, feature functionality, usability, standards compliance, and cross-browser compatibility.
To view The Search Engine Guys Award Gallery page, visit:
The certificate will soon be hanging in the Austin office: http://www.interactivemediaawards.com/winners/certificate.asp?param=78546&cat=1
Search engine optimization for your website is incredibly important if you want to be found on the internet. However, it is not everything. When you have a website, there are certain things that you have to do to keep your visitor from clicking away.
Having a website that is aesthetically pleasing is one of the top priorities. Your visitor has to believe that you know what you are doing on the website. In addition, you have to make the site easy to navigate. These two simple steps can mean the difference between a visitor clicking away within seconds or staying on the site long enough to contact you.
If you would like to know more about website design and how it can supplement your SEO campaign, contact The Search Engine Guys at (512) 394-7234.