We all know that customer attention spans are incredibly short. Conventional wisdom puts the average attention span at 8 seconds; ambitious, science-oriented groups like bird watchers try to keep their members on task for half an hour at a time.
Google has been researching mobile website visitors’ behavior patterns. They were especially interested in what caused a visitor to leave a site, particularly if that site contained Google advertising. What they found was that there was a definite relationship between page load speeds and abandonment rates.
The average mobile website takes 22 seconds to fully load.
Do you see the problem here? Google has pointed out that mobile website users’ expectations are incredibly high. They want to be able to view and pay bills, check account balances, track shipments, and order products all in real time; all of these functions must be fully secure. These expectations exist without regard to the size of the business in question: the smallest boutique is held to the same standard as the world’s largest retailers.
Good web development can fix the problems small business owners are facing in an increasingly mobile-first world. We already know that more than half of all web traffic occurs via a mobile device. If you’re developing a website for the first time ever, you can build it with the needs of the mobile user primarily in your mind – but what happens if you already have a website that’s just not performing well on mobile?
Google reminds us that less is more. During their research phase, they found that some pages had as many as 6,000 disparate elements, including images, text, and other features. The more elements you have on a web page, the slower it loads. In the research, as a webpage went from an initial element count of 400 items to an eventual 6,000, the conversion rate dropped by 95%.
Web design in the mobile first age means focusing on what’s truly essential and important. The days of padding pages with reams of copy in the hopes of appealing to SEO ranking engines are behind us. Today, content must be strategic: focused on attracting customer interest and answering any questions they may have without becoming so bloated that customers become impatient and move on. By the time it takes 5 seconds for a page to load on your mobile device, the probability of your visitor moving on has increased 90%.
If you’re not sure how to test how quickly your website loads on a mobile device, let us know. We’d be happy to do a page load speed test for you, and, if the results of that test aren’t good news for your business, we can do a site audit and identify ways to increase page load speed. This is likely to be the single most important thing you can do to improve your mobile conversion rates in 2017!