5 Ways a Slow Website Can Damage Your Online Business

impact of slow loading websites

A recent research study conducted by Aberdeen Group revealed that a 1-second delay in web page loading could reduce customer satisfaction levels by 16%, website page views by 11%, and conversion rates by 7%.

Curious about how this could impact a business’s bottom line? Here’s an example – for an online E-commerce retailer generating a daily revenue of $100,000, a 1-second delay in webpage loading can potentially lose sales of $2.5 million in a single year!

While the proverb “slow and steady” makes for a good life motto, the rules of the online world are vastly different. When it comes to website loading speed – every millisecond matters! While a fast website can propel your business ahead of your competitors, a slow-loading website can frustrate online visitors and make them look for alternatives.

Let’s look at some interesting statistics on how slow-running websites have wreaked havoc on business revenue. As early as 2006, search engine company, Google reported a 20% drop in search engine traffic for every half-second delay in search-results while Amazon reported that every 100 milliseconds of latency impacted their sales by 1% almost 10 years ago. Today, the need for speed is much, much higher.

Instances like this only highlight the undeniable impact of a sluggish website on revenues. Whether you are running an online retail shop or any other business, a slow business website can dampen various aspects of your business.

Business Impact of a Slow Website

With the advent of globalisation and technology advancement, all business and not just E-commerce companies and big corporations must have an online web presence to reach their customers.

In fact, most prospective customers search for a local business or service through search engines. A March 2017 survey reveals that over 80% of the surveyed respondents used a search engine to find a local business!

But merely creating a website is never enough. The speed of your business website is also a major factor in determining customer experience and loyalty.

Here are some industry statistics about corporations who have boosted their business returns by improving their website speeds by a few seconds –

Retail business, Walmart recorded a 2% increase in their conversion rate for every 1-second improvement in their web page loading time. Similarly, the number of downloads for the popular Internet browser, Firefox improved by over 15% when its company, Mozilla increased its page speed by just 2.2 seconds. That’s an additional download of 5 million each year for a 1.1-second improvement!

This data goes a long way to prove that for an average entrepreneur, a fast business website can reap in rich business dividends, including increased user traction. A slow website, on the other hand, can adversely impact the business in multiple ways. In this article, we look at 5 ways your slow website can harm your business.

1.     Impact on Sales

If you’re not fully convinced how a slow website can impact conversions and sales, here are a few statistics that will change your mind:

Ecommerce website builder, Mobify recorded a 1.11% increase in sales conversions after improving their website load time by just 100 milliseconds. That translated into an increase in annual sales of $380,000. Similarly, the company increased its conversion rate by 1.55% by optimising its checkout page (by 100 milliseconds) resulting in additional sales worth $530,000!

A recent research study also reveals that as many as 79% of online visitors never revisit slow or underperforming websites, while 44% of those users share their negative experience with other potential users.

All these facts suggest that unsatisfied customers or those who abandon your website are hardly likely to buy any of the offered products or services, which can directly reduce your sales volume and revenue. Missing out on such a large number of prospective customers can certainly create an adverse impact on your sales and conversions.

2. Impact on Web Traffic

The online media company, Netflix that consumes 15% of the Internet traffic globally recorded a 43% drop in outbound traffic after performing a basic compression on its website’s bandwidth.

Faster website loading encourages more online users to spend more time on your websites, resulting in more conversions and more traffic to be directed to your website.

Notice the sharp decline in traffic

Image source – https://sites.google.com/site/recoverfrompenalty/

On the other hand, websites with a loading time of more than 3 seconds lose 40% of their traffic.

Another disturbing fact is that automated bots today comprise over 50% of the overall web traffic. The popular French E-commerce website, PriceMinister-Rakuten found that a shocking 75% of its website traffic came from bots. Bots can reduce your website’s overall processing power, increase the load time significantly, and even cause website shutdown, thus negatively impacting your revenues and costs.

3. Impact on Search Engine Ranking

With low sales and fewer visitors driving traffic to your website, is your website speed also responsible for lower visibility? You may wonder how your slow website impacts your ranking on popular search engines. Here’s how –

Website (or web page) speed is a major factor in determining Google rankings for both desktop and mobile searches. While many other factors also determine the Google search engine ranking, slow website speed can place your business at a lower ranking as compared to your competitors. Google reduces the ranking of slow-loading websites as it adversely impacts the user experience.

A faster website improves the user experience and engagement resulting in users spending more time on your website pages. This, in turn, improves page views and search engine optimisation (or SEO), resulting in a better search engine ranking.

4. Impact on Mobile Users

Is your business website optimised for use on mobile phones? Well, the following statistics suggest it should be –

According to Statista, the number of global smartphone users is projected to reach over 2.87 billion by the year 2020. This 2018 statistics by Stone Temple found that over 58% of the website visits globally were made from mobile phones, while mobile devices accounted for 42% of the total time spent by online users.

Just like Internet browsing on the desktop, website speed is an equally, if not more important factor for mobile users also. Google reports that 53% of mobile phone users leave a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load on their smartphone.

An estimated 60% of mobile phone users expect a website to load within 3 seconds on their mobile phones. As compared to desktop users, mobile phone users (in particular, online shoppers) have a lower attention span and patience levels. This explains why, from July 2018, Google has made website speed a ranking factor for online searches made from smartphones.

All the above facts mean that slow website loading on mobile phones can also be detrimental to your business. A common reason for this is that most websites are optimised for efficient performance on a desktop computer but not at the same level on a mobile device. In addition to poor website speeds, online users are less likely to engage with companies with poorly designed mobile websites.

5. Impact on User Engagement and Experience

For a successful business website, you may want to maximise user engagement and provide them with an exceptional experience. In simple terms, user engagement is measured by how much time online users spend on your website going through the published content, posting comments, and interacting with your business via various call-to-actions.

One of the simplest and most effective ways of improving user engagement is through faster website and web page loading. We have seen how even a mere one-second delay in any page load can have a negative impact on the overall user engagement and experience.

Fast-loading websites contribute towards business success as they leverage on human traits such as information storage, attention span and emotional behaviour, to encourage visitors to make repeat purchases and even recommend the business to other potential users.

Now, that we have seen the far-reaching impact that website speed can have on your business, it’s time to answer a simple yet pertinent question.

How Fast Should Your Website Be?

A research study conducted by Geoff Kenyon comparing average load speed of any website as against other website speed revealed the following interesting results:

Website load speed Faster than
5 seconds 25% of other websites
2.9 seconds 50% of other websites
1.7 seconds 75% of other websites
0.8 seconds 94% of other websites

On average, the fastest websites usually take less than 1 second to load while the slowest websites take more than 4 seconds to load up on any browser. This buffer time of the website also depends on the type of service that you are offering. For example, a loading time of 2 seconds is nominal for any online E-commerce web site, while a search engine like Google must load its results in 400 milliseconds (or 0.4 seconds). For any other informational website, page loads should not be more than 4-5 seconds.

As a rule of thumb, for most websites, the interval range of 2-3 seconds is considered a normal and acceptable load-time.


One of the biggest reasons why websites often slow down is because the site is hacked. We’d suggest you scan your site using a WordPress security plugin and in case your site is hacked, clean it using the same plugin.

A slow-loading website can be detrimental to the overall success of business across domains, geographies, and scale. By reducing your website loading time even by a few seconds, you can directly improve your business sales, website traffic, search engine ranking, and customer engagement, including that of mobile phone users. With the growing online competition for global business enterprises, deploying a fast-loading website on desktop computers and mobile phones is now critical to grab the attention of online customers and to keep them coming back.

Do you agree with us on the points that we have raised about how website speed can impact a business enterprise? Or have we missed out on anything? We would love to hear your feedback. Share your valuable comments on this article in the section below.

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