October 27, 2014

Time is of the Essence: Webpage Loading Times

By Nick K. 

Think back to a time when people patiently waited at least a minute for a webpage to load, which was probably back in the days of dial-up Internet connection. Today, search engines gather page results very quickly and webpage loading times have become much faster to the point where it can keep lowering our attention spans and patience. Speed has become important because of the higher chance of people leaving their current webpage because it “took too long to load.”

Is webpage loading time really a concern?

Webpage loading time is a very serious factor that doesn’t always come to mind when people think about SEO or Internet marketing. Yet, webpage loading time is potentially one of the most important aspects for a business depending on their industry. This is due to the large quantity of people browsing the Internet. In fact, webpage loading times are so crucial that Google penalizes websites with poor webpage loading times, hence the creation of the Google Panda Algorithm.
Webpage loading times are also affected by a popular controversial Internet issue known as net neutrality. According to Google, net neutrality is a principal that keeps the Internet free of Internet service provider regulations and discriminating against 3rd party websites. If Internet service providers had the power to regulate and dictate the speed of information transmitted to websites it would heavily impact all webpage loading times.     

How bad is it?

The tricky question is, “How fast should my website be exactly?” Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact answer to this question. Most sources, like MOZ say that webpage speed comes down to a couple of factors, including business goals, strategic priorities, and budget allowance. Generally, the average webpage loading time is between 4-6 seconds.
To further put webpage loading time into perspective, Hobo Internet Marketing Blog published Akamai Solutions’ research, stating that “75% of people would not return to websites that took longer than 4 seconds to load.”

Furthermore, Forbes mentioned that Amazon would decrease about 1% in sales for every 0.1 second longer it took to load a webpage. It may not sound like a significant loss for the E-Commerce giant, but according to Alexa, Amazon’s homepage takes about 1.9 seconds to load which accounts for almost a 20% decrease in sales.
In addition, Tagman reported a study conducted by Aberdeen Group that a 1-second webpage loading time delay can create up to 11% fewer webpage views. This would subsequently decrease the amount of satisfied customers by 16%, and ultimately lead to a potential major loss in sales.   

How does a business speed up their webpage loading time?

Thankfully, there are plenty of resources for identifying and lowering webpage loading times. Some resources include Web Page Test, a free website performance data generator, and Google Page Speed tools that analyze and optimize websites. For another great resource on website data and performance info, check out Alexa.com.
Fortunately, Kissmetrics offers some methods to utilize when trying to optimize your webpage loading time. You can optimize the webpage images by reducing the image size, instead of relying on HTML services to reduce the size of an image for the webpage. Even though it might appear smaller, the server has to still load the entire image. On the other hand, MOZ recommends cutting the webpage down to only necessary content, which in turn reduces the amount of total browser requests. The result of this would be the webpage takes less time to load. Lastly, MOZ advises businesses to use a Content Delivery Network, allowing quick webpage loading for global users. It also reduces the amount of 301 redirects a website has, which causes inconsistent webpage loading times.   

The Internet is like a stopwatch, and like many things in life, it all comes down to a matter of seconds. It is essential for businesses to consider optimizing their webpages loading time when trying to earn a higher Google page-ranking and attract more business. Webpage loading optimization requires patience and most businesses won’t notice any immediate changes in sales. Although, with effective webpage loading optimization, and some luck, it will save you more than just time for the future. 


  1. Thank You Mary. I am glad you enjoyed the information provided and hope that it provided positive insightful information.