Around this time each year, a number of online retailers and marketers are impacted by high profile outages and website glitches. So, if you think that the performance of your website is just something for the tech team to worry about, let this serve as your reminder to think again.
Slow website performance increasingly impacts companies’ ability to translate their marketing budget into qualified leads and online sales.
Fortunately, marketing managers and directors are increasingly tech-savvy. Even those who have non-technical backgrounds are involved in making decisions about website functionality, mobile app design, accessibility, and user experience. They understand the importance of a well-designed, usable website that’s easy to find.
However, there’s another critical, but less well-known, factor that has a direct, proven impact on the bottom line: speed. So, what’s the story with fast websites?
Why Performance Matters
Consumers who have to wait too long for web pages to load are less likely to convert. Website speed (or lack thereof)impacts a range of other business-critical factors, such as bounce rate, search ranking, and customer satisfaction.
“If no one complains about web performance, our performance is probably fine.”
The reality is, consumers rarely complain about poor performance…they just leave. A few hundred milliseconds can make a big difference between users hitting a back button or engaging with your content. Waiting time gives your visitors a chance to switch to another activity, or even worse, drives them to a competitor’s website.
Why Performance is Neglected
The factors responsible for slow web pages are often simple to fix. Yet marketers and product owners routinely ignore low-hanging fruit that could deliver a vastly improved online experience to customers.
Why might this be?
Lack of Ownership
Oftentimes, the barriers to fast websites are not technical, but cultural. Web performance is still relatively a niche disciple that tends to live at the technical end of the spectrum, so while a handful of companies are lucky enough to have developers who are passionate about performance, this isn’t the norm.
However, this does not give the business permission to ignore performance. Quite the opposite is true, in fact. That makes it even more important for the business to care about performance.
Without a clear champion, delivering effective and fast websites is always liable to slip down the list of priorities.
The people in the best position to change this are those at the top, who can initiate improvements in culture and process.
Developers might have the deepest insight into the website’s speed. But plenty of other stakeholders, such as marketers and designers, can impact performance. They too need to have a clear understanding of how and why it matters All this takes leadership, making operational changes that only those at the top of the organization are in a position to set in motion.
Uncertainty about Where to Start
Some companies that I work with know that they need to improve their performance, but aren’t sure where or how to start. This is why we recommend identifying easy performance wins to tackle first. There are a number of free tools, including our Free Performance Report, which can give you a high-level overview of priority defects.
From there, you can create projects around specific areas of your performance. For instance, you may recognize that you have a large number of mobile users, so it would be worthwhile to delivering a better mobile experience.
Unclear Expectations about Success
It can be daunting, especially as a business user, to advocate for performance if you aren’t sure about what success might look like. You could use a tool, such as Website Speed Ranker, to see that you are lagging behind your competitors and set a goal to make up the gap. Or, even better, you could identify performance KPIs that matter to your business, set a baseline, and make targets based on those numbers.
Increasingly, I’m working with marketing and digital business teams who know that performance is important but are unsure of how to go about improving it. It helps to understand why performance is neglected, so you can make a plan of attack.
From identifying and providing actionable insights performance defects to alerting you to outages, Rigor is here to help businesses make performance a priority. Interested in learning more? Schedule a call with a performance expert below!
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