How long do you wait for a site to load before leaving?
According to Google, the average time it takes to fully load a mobile site is 22 seconds. However, 53% of people will abandon a mobile site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
So don't feel bad if you abandon ship after five seconds. You're in good company.
Site abandonment is a problem. But it's only one of the issues a slow site can cause.
Sites with a long slow page load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. Longer load times have also been shown to lower conversion rates.
That creates a big problem and puts a heavy emphasis on increasing page load times.
What is page speed?
Page speed measures how fast content loads on a single page of your site.
Page speed is not that same as site speed.
How to measure your page load speed?
There are dozens of free online tools to choose from that can test your page load speeds. Google's PageSpeed Insights is a popular one and shows you how your site scored on mobile and desktop. However, Google’s site speed tool doesn’t report the actual time it takes for your pages to load. Instead, they grade a site’s speed on a scale of 0-100. Oh well. I guess since they’re Google they can make up their own rules.
We like to use GTmetrix to test the speed of the sites we build. This free online tool measures how fast your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it.
Take a minute to test your site speed using GTmetrix. When you’re ready, come back and we’ll compare your site speed to some of the biggest players out there.
Now let’s have some fun.
Let’s test some biggest names in eCommerce and see how their site speeds stack up.
Who better to start with than the biggest eCommerce company on the planet?
Here’s how they fared:
No surprises here ladies and gentleman.
The behemoth eCommerce marketplace scored beautifully on all counts. With straight A’s and a page load speed of 1.9 seconds for the largest eCommerce retailer, Amazon obviously knows what it’s doing.
For fun, we tested out GTmetrix itself. After all, a site that tests site speed and provides
Holy cow! A page load speed of 429 milliseconds. That’s less than half a second. Wow. That’s fast. That’s blazing fast. Well played, GTmetrix. Well played.
Back to our tests.
No eCommerce article would be complete without pitting Shopify vs. Magento in a head-to-head battle. So for better or for worse, here goes.
On Shopify’s examples page, we chose a retailer at random to test their site speed. We figured that if they made it on to Shopify’s website, they must have a decent looking and performing site, right?
Let’s let the numbers speak for themselves…
Ouch. Eleven and a half seconds for the site to load. You gotta be kidding me!? Not sure how this retailer is still in business.
Now it was Magento’s turn.
Again, we took a brief look at Magento’s site and chose a featured merchant.
Here’s their score:
Four seconds is pretty good. It’s not eleven seconds like our Shopify friend, but it’s also not the two seconds Google recommends. It's good. But getting it under three seconds is really the goal.
Here are the results of some other sites we tested:
Yup. As expected. But then again, the fact that Google’s homepage loaded in less than one second is not such a shocker. After all, there’s not much on the homepage.
The real test would be a search results page.
We searched “how fast is my site?”
Here are the results:
I’d say 1.2 seconds is pretty fast for a SERP with 3,710,000,000 results. That’s 3.7 billion. Wow.
How to increase your page speed
So now that we've explained the "What" of page speed, let's look at the "How," to increase page speed.
Eight ways to increase your page speed:
- Reduce redirects.
- Leverage browser caching
- Improve server response time
- Use a content distribution network (CDN)
- Optimize your images. (PNGs are generally better for graphics with fewer than 16 colors while JPEGs are generally better for photographs) and that they are compressed for the web.
We love things that are fast.
And yes, fast websites.
So if your site is spending too much time with Chrome's blue spinning circle, Explorer's dots chasing each other or Firefox's Night Rider-esque back-and-forth dot, it's time to get real and get to increasing your page load speed.
You probably won't hit the half a second mark.
But if you get your page load speed under two seconds, bravo! Go out and celebrate my friend. You've arrived in the Promised Land.