How Important is Page Load Speed to Potential Clients?

by Jan 23, 2023

Can slow page load speeds affect your website’s ability to attract and convert potential clients online? Page load speed refers to how fast a page loads once it is requested in a browser. While this can be dependent on your web visitor’s internet speed and quality, there are certain design elements on your website that can come into play as well. 

Read on to learn more about the importance of page load speed and three web design elements that may be slowing down your website. 

Page speed vs. site speed

Although very similar in concept, page speed is not the same as site speed. Site speed takes the average speed of several pages on your website. Page speed describes how long your web visitors wait to begin consuming a single page. Both types of speeds should be evaluated and monitored to ensure your website is performing at its best.

To check the load times of your website and pages, there are several free and paid options available online. A good place to start is with Google’s free tool PageSpeed Insights. Simply enter the page address of your website or an individual page to receive your evaluation. Google offers several data points for your personal use, but the Speed Index will inform how quickly your web page is loading. If your Speed Index is high for mobile or desktop, it may be time to evaluate your webpage for pain points to achieve a faster load speed.

How important is page load speed?

Page load speed can be extremely important to the effectiveness of your website in areas of user experience and visibility on Google. Your website should work to capture the attention of your potential clients, and Google wants to ensure they’re providing high quality search results to its users. A good rule of thumb is to ensure your page load speed is less than three seconds. Anything more than three seconds greatly increases the likelihood a web visitor will leave your website due to wait times. Page load speed can influence the following website quality factors:

  • Search engine optimization: Google doesn’t want to deliver results to its users that are slow to load. This means they aren’t likely to award a high ranking to a page with significantly slower page load times. 
  • User experience: Your potential clients, similar to other internet users, have a very short attention span. If a potential client has to wait around for a page to load, they will likely bounce from your website. To “bounce” means that a web visitor leaves your website before consuming the content on that page or visiting any additional pages. If your pages are slow to load, it’s likely that you will see higher bounce rates. 
  • Conversion rate optimization: Your website’s conversion rates, or its ability to convert web visitors into viable leads, are also influenced by speed in relation to the bounce rates of your pages. Not only does this negatively affect your website’s effectiveness to convert business, but it will signal to Google that your pages are not high-quality. 

Despite the influence speed has on your website’s quality, the fastest loading page on the internet isn’t necessarily the best page. This is because the fastest page to load is likely to be a blank page, which holds no value to a web visitor or Google. Instead, it’s helpful to understand what balance of content and design best compliments the load speed of your pages rather than placing all importance on speed.

Google ultimately values high quality website content much more than the load speed of a page. This means a slower loading page that has great content will still outperform a faster loading page with poor content on Google. So, it’s more of a balancing act to achieve the right levels of speed and quality that work best for your website. 

Factors that slow page load speed

Certain website design elements could be affecting your website’s load speeds, contributing to higher bounce rates and poor conversion rates. The following are page elements to avoid to maximize your page load speed:

  • Excessive images and video. Not only can too many visual elements distract or overwhelm your potential clients, it could also cause your page to load slower. 
  • Mobile incompatibility. If your website isn’t compatible with mobile browsers, this will greatly affect your website’s effectiveness to drive business to your firm. This can again be checked by using Google’s free tool PageSpeed Insights. After entering your website address, mobile performance data will be provided under the Mobile tab accompanied by a Performance Score. If your Performance Score is particularly low for your mobile site, this is an indication mobile users may have difficulty accessing your site. All LawLytics websites are built using responsive, mobile-friendly design, so if you’re already a LawLytics member, this is one less thing you’ll need to worry about.
  • Pop-up windows. Elements that block or distract a web visitor from the written content on your page can increase your bounce rates and slow down the overall performance of your web page. 

Your potential clients might tolerate longer load times to view content that’s relevant to their legal issue compared to a sales page for a pair of shoes, but it’s still a good idea to make sure that your page doesn’t take so long to load that it negatively affects the user experience.

For websites built by LawLytics, the essential optimization for page load speed is performed automatically. If you’re not a LawLytics member and would like to discuss the performance of your law firm website with us, schedule a 20-minute interactive demo with a product expert.

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