On a dark and stormy night, when all that could be heard was whistling wind and crashing thunder, one unlucky soul clicked a link. Horror! The website took longer than two seconds to load.

This might sound like the beginning of a cheesy horror sketch, but it’s one of the scariest foes a business can face. But as a consumer, poor website performance is annoying, but it won’t ruin your day.

However, if you run a small or midsize business, a slow-loading site could lose you over three-quarters of your audience before you’ve even had a chance to convert them.

But don’t let this horrifying tale scare you into submission. There are plenty of ways to defeat the lag without having to sell your soul.

Heed this warning… Or else

You wouldn’t check out the suspicious noise in your basement without changing the batteries in your torch. So don’t build a website without optimising for performance. Even with the most dynamic website design and best value products, without a quick load time, you’ll be dead before visitors realise what you're selling.

And the hard work doesn’t stop there. If users miraculously survive those agonising two seconds as your site loads, they might still leave if your landing page doesn’t support them with the right information.

Here’s exactly why website performance should be your top priority:

  • User retention – If your site is too slow to load, your audience is unlikely to give you a second chance. And, over half of scrollers prefer a beautiful webpage to a basic one.
  • Brand credibility – 75% of people judge a company’s credibility on its website design and user experience alone. And if you don’t have your business address, contact number, or email clearly visible, potential customers might second guess hitting ‘checkout’.
  • Organic SEO – Maintaining a well-functioning, fast-loading website is the first building block to improving your organic SEO.
  • Digital marketing – A website should support the user journey with the right information and CTAs, whether that’s on landing pages, blogs, or contact forms.
  • Customer service – 83% of consumers cite customer service as the most important factor when making a purchase. And 86% of users expect to find the information they need online before speaking to a live agent.

Taming the slow-loading beast

Smelling something rotten coming up from the floorboards? It might be a good idea to strip things back and check if there’s something buried below your site.

Performance issues can be built into the very code of your website, so here are a few steps to create a sturdy foundation…

  1. Choose a reliable web hosting provider – A great website starts with a great web hosting provider. There are countless hosting platforms on the market, but you’ll need to discern what type of web hosting you need.
  2. Integrate the right tools – Google Analytics and SEMRush can optimise your site, helping you understand how your website is running and what elements you can improve.
  3. Design your site with performance in mind – Ensure that your site is optimised for mobile users. For instance, include a helpful navigation bar and compress visuals for maximum load speed.
  4. Enable browser caching – A user’s browser will store more of your website data each time they visit, decreasing load time. And the quicker your site loads, the better your chances to create conversions.
  5. Use a content management system – Create and manage your website’s content without writing a single line of code. It’ll maintain the quality and clarity of your website while protecting against security breaches.
  6. Use HTTP/2 – A much-needed update, HTTP/2 offers a smoother experience and improved loading speed for end users, while cleaning things up for server owners and reducing their metadata overhead.

Don’t let the monsters re-animate

You may have defeated the first boss, but the hard work doesn’t stop there. Making it out of this horror story alive requires constant vigilance and quick reactions. If you’ve noticed that your site has fallen victim to high bounce rates, low SERP ranking, or poor performance metrics, it could be time to rethink your strategy.

Plot twist! You won’t find answers here…

No classic horror tale is complete without sending its hero on a quest into the unknown.

But don’t worry. We’ve created a handy guide to assist you through the twists and turns of wicked website maintenance.

Download it today to discover exactly how you can right the wrongs of a poor-performing site in a few simple steps. And remember, if you ever find yourself lost in the dark, our team of experts are on hand 24/7. Get in touch today on 0800 0612 153 or drop a message via our live chat.