Your website needs to be fast, really fast.
According to research published by Google, the average mobile website takes 22 seconds to load, but 53% of visitors will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load! From their page (bounce in this context means leaving the website):
Multiple studies confirm the importance of fast-loading websites on profits. This page suggests that slow-loading websites cost retailers £1.73bn in lost sales each year. DoubleClick have published a comprehensive PDF on the subject which is worth reading.
Pagespeed Insights is a free tool from Google that lets you check your website speed. It measures a bunch of different factors and gives you a score for desktop and mobile visitors, and suggestions for improving your score like this:
The first thing to note is that it's almost impossible to get a perfect score of 100 if you're using any of Google's own services! In the example above on our own site, Pagespeed suggests making changes to Google's own Recapcha and Google Analytics services, neither of which we can control.
Some of the enhancements are easy, like saving images with higher levels of compression to make them smaller - it even lets you download images that it's compressed for you.
Others require your web developer to get involved, like configuring the web server to behave in a certain way, or to change the way that the page loads.
How far you can push your score depends on the system that your website uses - for Wordpress sites we've seen typical scores in the 30s and 40s that can only be pushed up into the 60s with a lot of hard work.
Our own content management system can easily make the mid-80s or 90s depending on how recently we built the website. Last summer we re-focused a lot of our efforts on maximising Pagespeed scores, so our new websites get a great score right out of the box. Older websites may need a bit more work to score well.
Case study: St Davids First Aid
St Davids First Aid website initially scored 48 for mobile and 61 for desktop, but with just a few tweaks we were able to raise that up to 91 for mobile and 97 for desktop!
Pagespeed is becoming increasingly important as a factor in where your site appears in the search results, so it's well worth paying attention to.
Get in touch if you'd like a quote for maximising your Pagespeed score.