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Why Mobile Web Sites Need More Speed

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There are few things worse than navigating a mobile web site and waiting for the content to load.

This is a world where seconds matter, attention spans are short, and patience is even shorter.

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Speed is the biggest thing mobile sites need and the one thing that many are lacking.In August 2013, Google launched a new set of guidelines so that webmasters could optimize their pages for better rendering performance. The goal of these guidelines is to get all content to load in one second or less.

Of course, this loaded content will at first just include the above-the-fold content, which is any content that is immediately visible on the screen without requiring the user to scroll up or down. While this above-the-fold content loads in one second or less, the rest of the content, graphics, etc. will load on the page (also in a matter of seconds).

To get to this goal, Google has created the following guidelines:

1. First and foremost, enter the URL of your website into Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how well your page loads both on mobile devices and on desktops.

2. The response must be rendered by the server.

3. Minimize the number of redirects.

4. Minimize number of round trips to first render.

5. In above the fold content, avoid external blocking JavaScript and CSS.

7. Reserve time for browser layout and rendering (200 ms).

8. Optimize JavaScript execution along with rendering time.

9. Leverage browser caching.

10. Optimize all images.

Why the Need for Speed?

So why is all of this so important? According to an article by Marketing Week, in the United Kingdom alone, 30 percent of the population uses a tablet. In addition, more than 60 percent use a smartphone.

The same can be said for the other side of the pond, with one-third of Americans using a tablet and more than 50 percent use a smartphone.

To put it in a global perspective, 1.5 billion people use smartphones. That’s a lot of people online ready to surf the Internet, check email, post on social networking sites, etc.

A slow-to-load site, meaning anything that takes more than 4 seconds to load, loses 25% of its visitors in those four seconds if the page hasn’t loaded. At 10 seconds the percentage gets closer to 50%.

Pages that are slow to load, crash, have formatting errors, feature non-functioning elements, or are unavailable for whatever reason are all reasons that a mobile Internet user will abandon his or her efforts, but nothing affects this more than speed.

The Benefits of Faster Loads

It is the hope of those who build mobile sites with speed that will make conversions happen as frequently as they do on desktops. As it stands, conversions on mobile sites happen about a third as frequently as they do on desktop sites.

The reasons for this are many, but speed is definitely a factor.

Another reason there’s a need for speed is that a faster mobile site will help increase a site’s Google rank, according to an article by KISSmetrics.

The Numbers Speak for Themselves

KISSmetrics offered an infographic that shows just how important speed is. Here are some of the facts:

– A one-second page delay could cost an e-commerce cite making $100,000 per day $2.5 million in lost sales daily.

– A one-second page delay can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions.

– Three-seconds of delay cause customer satisfaction to go down by 16%.

– 44% of online shoppers will tell their friends about a negative experience online.

– 79% of dissatisfied shoppers will not use the same site again for future purchases.

– 47% of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less.

– 11% think expect their phones to load more slowly than desktops.

– 12% said they expect their phones to load faster than their desktops.

– 30% will abandon a page after waiting 6-10 seconds; 20% abandon a page after waiting more than 20 seconds.

Speed it up

The numbers speak for themselves. Mobile users want speed and they’re not going to sit around and wait for it.

Dana Rasmussen spends the majority of her time online writing about marketing trends, technological advances and the need for sites like Reputation.com. She certainly understands the need for speed.

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