For the last decade, Google has been warning that the speed with which a webpage fully displays its content matters to both websites and their users. Since June 2009, when Google unveiled its “Let’s make the web faster” campaign, Google’s co-founder, Larry Page had an ambition to make browsing websites “as fast as turning the pages of a magazine”.
In Page’s same report, he warned that “consumers are more demanding than ever before” and those demands have increased further still in the age of smartphones and social media. Short-attention-span consumers are less tolerant of poor or frustrating online experiences. In 2019, Google claims that more than half of website visits are abandoned if a mobile page takes more than three seconds to load, resulting in lots of potential income lost. This has become a widespread trend among consumers worldwide.
Wind the clock forward to July 2018 and Google released a “Speed Update”, applying stronger standards to mobile searches, requiring mobile landing page experiences to be swift and engaging. Amid the release of this Speed Update, Google helped to focus the minds of web developers and digital marketers by remarking that it is now “critical that marketers design fast web experiences across all industry sectors”.
Another gentle reminder from Google about webpage speed was its introduction of Mobile Speed Score as a determining factor of a Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertiser’s Quality Score in Google Adwords. Not only is Google interested in fast page speed times on desktop, it has since made it “easier to diagnose and improve your mobile site speed”.
What does this mean? For web developers and digital marketers at Unity Online, we’ve understood for some time the importance of user experience and website performance. It is no longer acceptable to expect consumers to use a desktop version of your website on mobile. Consistent, cross-platform user experiences – across desktop, smartphone and tablet devices – are the new norm.
At Unity Online, our web developers and designers recommend that all clients offer distinct desktop and mobile experiences for their users. Usually this requires a mobile first approach, which then upscales responsively to a desktop version. Sites will then be flexible enough to be displayed across all screen sizes. Nevertheless, the overriding message is that page speed matters, regardless of device.
That’s why Google’s Page Speed Insights has become such a powerful tool for digital agencies looking to futureproof the website performance of clients and deliver acceptable user experiences for consumers. This tool has enabled Unity Online’s digital experts to evaluate page and site speeds that have a negative impact on conversions if they are too slow. Poor page speeds can also harm a brand’s search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, with search engine bots unable to crawl as many webpages as their competitors, potentially reducing their exposure in search engines for revenue-driving search terms.
As speed is now a critical factor in designing and building new websites that drive optimal conversion rates and search engine rankings, Unity’s development and marketing teams have worked together to integrate page speed and loading times at the front and centre of the agency’s standard website build criteria.
Through our expert knowledge and teamwork, we have redefined our build criteria to ensure that all new websites designed and built by Unity Online achieve between 99-100% for website performance using Google’s Page Speed Insights test.
The typical optimisations we implement to achieve this score for our clients include:
Even in the e-commerce industry, speed kills. If you’re concerned that the page speed and site speed of your business’ website is too slow and potentially harming your bottom line by forcing users to ‘bounce’ and visit competitors, help is at hand.
Arrange a free website performance review with Unity Online to get a benchmark of how your brand’s desktop and mobile user experiences compare with the industry standard in 2019. Call us today on 01473 350485 or drop us a line using our online enquiry form to discover how Unity’s digital experts can refine your website’s performance.