A recent survey by Kissmetrics revealed that 79% of online shoppers unhappy with website performance are less likely to buy from that same site in the future. 

    Unfortunately, it’s not just sales numbers that are affected by slow websites. User experience, conversion rates, and search rankings are also impacted by slow page load speeds.

    Right or wrong, most users view fast websites as more secure, more reliable, and more professional. The faster the site, regardless of the device they’re on, the happier the user.

    Why Website Speed Matters

    In today’s fast-paced world, users demand a fast-paced site. 

    • 47% of people expect a website to load in under two seconds
    • A whopping 85% expect a mobile site to load as fast as or faster than a site on their desktop. 

    Users might be willing to support your online business, but they’re unwilling to have to wait to do it. 

    What’s worse is that once these users abandon your site, they’re unlikely to return which can have a huge effect on future business, referrals, and your brand’s credibility.

    And while it doesn’t carry the same weight as relevance, we do know that Google does take a website’s load speed into account when ranking websites. According to a rep for Google, if your site is slower than two seconds, Google may severely limit the number of URLs it crawls from your site, meaning any recent updates - including new content - might not be noticed by Google and, as a result, seen by potential customers.

    By now, we’re sure most of you have hopped over to your business’ website to see how it stacks up. If it’s not performing as well as you had hoped, don’t panic. There are many issues that could be hampering your website’s speed, but the good news is most can be fixed easily.

    What’s Slowing Your Site

    There could be one - or several – factors slowing your site down: 

    You Love a Good Widget: Is it possible your site is being bogged down by an excess of plug-ins or widgets? If so, trim the fat and keep only those that are essential to the site’s functionality. You might also want to make sure you’ve downloaded the latest updates to ensure they’re operating at max efficiency.

    You’re Not a Developer: Another underlying issue could be poor coding. Unnecessary elements – extra lines, spaces, etc. - within the site’s code can slow it down. If coding isn’t your thing, hire an experienced developer to refine your site’s code to improve its performance. 

    Seriously, You’re Not: Other problems could include a bad host or server or the use of too many CSS and JavaScript files. Always make sure you’re using a host and plan that fits your database needs and keep scripting and tracking code below-the-fold. Again, a quality web developer can help your site perform at its peak.

    You Go Tag Crazy: One final issue, and one which can be solved with the right tools, is using too many tags. In a study by Pingdom, it was discovered that over three-quarters of websites took three seconds or less to load when tags were disabled. When tags were added, however, that figure ballooned to over nine seconds. Yikes. 

    Furthermore, overtagging can also do damage to your rankings on Google and other search engines. While Google has never specifically called out tags as a factor in their algorithms, we discussed earlier in this article how slow site speed can impact SEO.

    How to Improve Your Website Performance

    Over its lifespan, your business will likely need to adapt to the changing landscape surrounding it. Your business’ website is no different. Whether it be new updates, added features, broader functionality, or the need for more server space, your website will evolve. 

    “Great, but how do I improve its performance NOW?” Good question. 

    Aside from identifying and addressing the issues that could be plaguing your site - which we discussed in detail above - you should pay extra close to attention to “tag bloat.” While it’s true tags can provide important information for website owners and enable companies to create personalized experiences for their customers, they can also hurt your website’s performance. 

    When used too often or incorrectly, tags can:

    • Cause slower website load times 
    • Lead to inaccurate analytics  
    • Compromise your website’s security  
    • Damage SEO and impact search rankings

    Fortunately, there is a solution. 

    To reduce tag bloat, consider re-integrating tags from client-side to server-side with technology that reduces page latency and operates in a private cloud to avoid data loss or breach. Server-side tags don’t bog down your website—and data within your control is subject to your rules, meaning you can avoid duplicates and inaccuracies. The key is to be careful to avoid tag bloat when adding new tools because behavior tracking isn’t going anywhere.

    Interested in how MetaRouter can speed up your website? Send us a message. We’d love to chat!


    *Photo by Florian Berger on Unsplash

    Dave Paprocki

    Written by Dave Paprocki