In today’s digital world, the performance of your website can make or break your business. No matter how successful your other marketing tactics are if you have a badly performing website, you are making a critical mistake.
There are lots of mistakes you can make that can hinder the performance of your website, but there are also subtle factors that can impact the performance of your website. Many of these are difficult to spot without using analytical software. Let’s look at the different areas of website performance and how you can analyse them.
What is website performance?
Website performance is typically measured through loading times, including how long it takes a browser to display a page. The quicker a site loads and the sooner a user can interact with a page, the greater a website’s performance.
Through measuring and analysing your website performance, you can pinpoint areas of your site that need optimising for improved performance. These areas should then be optimised for a seamless and positive user experience. In the end, website performance is all about your users.
Why is it important to analyse website performance?
Analysing your website performance is extremely important for a successful website. No matter how nice your website is to look at or how many ‘bells and whistles’ it has on display, these elements are superficial without good performance.
While these factors are important, they need to go hand-in-hand with good performance if you want users to have a positive experience on your site. Failing to analyse your website performance for areas to improve could be costing you valuable leads.
The faster and more responsive a website is, the stronger an impression you’ll make with your users. You could have a well-designed website but with resource-intensive elements that take too long to load. The longer it takes a website to load, the more likely a user will drop off from your site.
Here are some statistics to highlight the importance of why you should analyse and optimise your website performance:
- 1 in 4 users will abandon a site that takes more than 4 seconds to load.
- The first five seconds of a page loading has the most significant influence on conversions
- Website views receive an 11% drop for a 1-second delay in loading speed
- A 1-3 second loading time can increase bounce rate probability to 32%. A 1-5 second loading time increases that probability to 90%
- Users would be willing to forgo animations and videos for a faster loading speed
- 70% of shoppers state page speed affects their willingness to buy from an online retailer
Website performance and user experience
How well your website performs will also impact user experience. Not only is developing a positive user experience important for SEO, but it helps create loyal customers by fulfilling a user’s needs.
The longer a page takes to load, the more it will impact a user’s satisfaction and create an unfavourable impression on your brand. Impressions are made within just a few seconds and create a lasting impression. When two-thirds of people will not give you a second chance, it’s important to create a positive user experience to create that lasting first impression.
So, the bottom line is user experience is important. To get a positive user experience, you need a good performing website. Now let’s look at what you should watch out for and how you can analyse performance, so you can optimise your website and create a positive user experience.
What are the signs of a poor performing website?
There are lots of signs that hint at poor website performance. While some may not be easy to notice, others could be causing you serious problems. If you spot one or more of these signs, it may be time to consider investigating further.
High bounce rate
Bounce rate is a measure of the percentage of users who visit your site and then leave without acting. A high bounce rate is usually indicative of poor engagement or long loading speeds. The lower your bounce rate, the better your website performance. A bounce rate of around 40% is considered reasonable.
If you have a high bounce rate, consider:
- Reduce loading speed
- Avoid text-heavy or design-heavy pages
- Create relevant and meaningful content
- Improve your website’s navigation by creating a clear site structure and internal links
- Create an appealing and engaging web design using AIDA
- Check mobile responsiveness if bounce rate is higher on mobile
Low traffic is usually a sign of a poor SEO strategy. If you have been receiving low amounts of traffic, your website may not be well optimised to appear in search engine results. Without optimising your pages and content for search engines, your website will not be visible to users.
- Conduct an SEO audit
- Develop a content strategy that provides value to your users
- Check for search engine crawler errors
- Create a site map and use internal links
Poor click-through rate
Your website may be appearing in search results, but not many users are clicking through to your page. The fewer people who click on your result in search listings, the lower your click-through rate.
Poor click-through rate happens when the titles and meta descriptions you provide are not appealing. Creating the right meta descriptions can help boost the click-through rate.
Lack of lead generation
You may receive lots of website traffic, but very little of it is quality traffic that generates leads. A lack of lead generation results from users not acting upon your call-to-action, whether it be to download a piece of content or subscribe to your email.
How can I analyse website performance?
The faster your site performs the better from a user experience and retention standpoint. Fortunately, there are lots of tools you can use to monitor and analyse your website performance.
If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your site, you should. Not only is it one of the most popular analytics software, but it provides you with loads of valuable insights to monitor and analyse the performance of your website.
Installing Google Analytics only requires creating an account and implementing a simple piece of code into your website. And it’s free! Once you have analytics installed, you have the ability to create lots of different custom reports.
Google Analytics can provide you with details about:
- Amount of traffic and where they came from
- The pages with high bounce rate
- Demographics of your audience
- Acquisition including traffic by source
Google Lighthouse is a tool built into DevTools that allows you to analyse your website. Providing a score out of 100, Lighthouse offers you with solutions to critical issues found on your site to improve loading time. Lighthouse can be used to analyse:
- Website performance
- Best practices
To access Lighthouse, you’ll need to be using Google Chrome. On your website, right-click and select ‘inspect’ to open Chrome DevTools. The different tools available are displayed along the top, with two arrows for additional tools. Click on the double arrow at the top of the DevTools window and select ‘Lighthouse’. Then press the ‘generate report’ and wait a few moments while lighthouse works it’s magic.
Once the analysis is complete, you should be greeted with your results:
Scrolling further down will provide you with much more detailed insights, as well as tips for optimising any problems.
HubSpot website grader
HubSpot also have a similar tool that can grade your website. Powered by Lighthouse, Hubspot’s website grader provides you with a score based on how well optimised your site is for performance, SEO, mobile, and security. The grader gives you a score out of 100, with 30 split between each category (except security which is only 10 points).
The website grader also tells you which elements are optimised on your site and which elements you should improve for a higher score.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Page speed is the hallmark of site performance and can have a big impact on your SEO and user experience. So, it seems only natural for Google to provide a free tool you can use to measure your page speed.
PageSpeed Insights provides you with details about the performance of your website on both mobile and desktop, with a separate score and optimisation opportunities for both.
Pingdom Website Speed
Pingdom’s website speed tool for analysing the performance of your website allows you to test the load time of your site as well as providing details about the size of different elements, such as CSS, fonts, and images. The tool also provides suggestions for improving your site performance by giving a grade ranging from A for the best to F for the lowest score.
Uptrend’s performance tools allow you to test your website’s performance on both desktop and mobile. Uptrend’s performance tools also allow you to analyse your website’s performance by:
- Screen size for desktop or device model for mobile
- Bandwidth throttling (e.g., 3G and 4G)
- Browser (desktop only)
The tool generates information and performance improvements according to the set preferences mentioned above. You can also get visual analytics such as ‘request waterfall’ too, giving you a visual representation of how elements load on your site.
Heatmaps are a tool you can use to improve your user experience by determining how users behave and interact with content on your site. They are also ideal for improving and optimising your customer journeys.
Heatmaps can provide you with lots of useful information to help you improve your design and layout by highlighting ‘hot’ areas of your pages. The areas of a page that sees the most interaction and engagement will be highlighted by bright orange and red colours. Hotjar is a popular heatmap tool you can implement into your website.
With the importance of good website performance on user experience, it’s extremely important to analyse and optimise the performance of your website. Using the many free tools available, you can get a wide range of insights into the elements of your website that are slowing down your performance.
If you want a high performing website that helps boost your business growth and delivers results, get in touch with the Dreamscape team.