Need for speed: Slow loading websites cost retailers nearly £60bn in lost sales each year

A speedy website is an important element in building a positive relationship with customers, but you might be surprised just how crucial it is. In fact, perhaps astoundingly, slow-performing sites set retailers back a reported £59.6bn each year in lost sales.

This comes as damning new survey data reveals that over half of Brits (54%) claim a slow web page is the key reason in abandoning an online purchase. Similarly, just under half of us (45%) refuse to revisit a website following a bad experience, making it doubly difficult for sluggish sites to win their audience back. Fortunately for online retailers, just over a third of Brits (37%) allow a little leeway when it comes to mobile loading times, when compared to alternative platforms.

However, there’s never been a more crucial time to focus on the integrity of your website than during the COVID era, with 60% of Brits claiming to have upped their shopping habits since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, 40% don’t meander from the first page of Google when perusing the web, further highlighting the importance of a healthy, optimised, and user-friendly site.

Tips for improving website speed

1. Scale and optimise your site imagery

A picture paints a thousand words, but this scale of information can be your site’s downfall. To make your website more efficient and decrease the load time, it’s crucial to optimise and scale your imagery. This means uploading them in an appropriate format, such as JPEG or PNG, but never BMP.

2. Compress pages

Compressing your content is crucial if your website is brimming with premium imagery and videos. While these are great additions to your page, they can increase load time and frustrate users. A simple solution is to add gzip compression to your pages, which will turn imagery into smaller files without compromising on quality.

3. Make sure you’ve enabled browser caching

Enabling browsing caching is always a good idea if you experience a lot of repeat visitors. Essentially, browser caching allows a user to download and store your pages locally, so that next time they visit they’ll not be subject to server wait times.

4. Tighten up code

When building your website, take the time to consider each piece of code and whether it really demands a place on your page. Stripping your code and tags back to just necessary additions may seem like you’re only making minor tweaks, but if you can improve load time by just a single second, you’ll certainly reap the benefits.

5. Upgrade your web hosting platform

Picking the right website host can go a long way towards creating a smoother online service, so make sure you’re using a platform designed to offer speedy load times. There will be cheaper options on the market, but, while saving initially, you’re losing out in the long run because of a laboured loading screen.

Paying attention to the loading speed of your website is more important than ever, with more and more conversions lost as customers grow impatient of a lagging service. Discover even more expert insight around enhancing your website experience now.