We've been optimising this website recently and making it as fast as we can. Without going into the technical aspects of how we do this, let's ask the question. Why does website speed matter?
Better for website visitors and for your company
Firstly, visitors will be happier when pages load fast (and this may influence buying decisions). It's been shown that abandonment rates increase when a website is slow to load and page speed will affect how the website achieves its objectives, whether it's a brochure site, ecommerce site, or even a search engine.
For example, Google know a thing or two about this and their study showed that delaying page speed affected searches.
All other things being equal, more usage, as measured by number of searches, reflects more satisfied users. Our experiments demonstrate that slowing down the search results page by 100 to 400 milliseconds has a measurable impact on the number of searches per user of -0.2% to -0.6%
And Google say this on their Make the Web Faster site:
High performance web sites lead to higher visitor engagement, retention and conversions
It's not only Google that thinks website speed is very important. Website analytics experts KISSmetrics have published Why Decreasing Page Load Time Can Drastically Increase Conversions and How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line.
Additionally, check out the first few slides of Speed is Essential for a Great Web Experience for a great introduction to the subject and read Econsultancy's Site speed: case studies, tips and tools for improving your conversion rate.
It's clear to us that a faster website can significantly improve the results you get and you'll make more money. Good enough? Wait, there's more...
Better for search engine rankings
Since 2010, Google has been assessing page speed and response times and using website speed in its ranking algorithm and whilst this may only affect 1-2% of website rankings, I know that I don't want my website to be part of that 2%!
What should I do?
Talk to your web developer about making your website faster. Run a Google PageSpeed test and act on its suggestions. Run your own tests by visiting your website using different PCs and mobile devices and from different locations to get a better feel for how it's working.
Website speed does matter. Making your website faster just makes good sense for everyone!