Not speed, exactly, but lack thereof. Let’s cast our minds back to the dark days when the Internet was just getting started. In that halcyon time, it wasn’t unusual to wait long minutes for a single image to load. If you wanted to watch a video, you might as well notify your next of kin. These days, we’re living in the future. With the proliferation of high-speed wireless internet pretty much everywhere, we’ve gotten a little more discerning as to what constitutes a reasonable amount of time, especially when it comes to browsing on our mobile devices.
Turns out, according to Google, that’s been settled as “about three seconds.”
Seriously, most people won’t even wait three seconds for the content they want. Doesn’t matter if we’re shopping for a car or reading recaps of Walker Texas Ranger, we want our content right now, if not sooner. If one site isn’t loading it, we’ll read about Chuck Norris spin-kicking evildoers elsewhere. If a website takes longer than three seconds to load, 40% of people will just leave, and 80% of people will never come back. And here’s the kicker: the average car dealer’s site takes almost 9 seconds to load and based on Google’s speed testsit could cost dealers as much as a 28% drop in visitors. That’s over one in four people who aren’t even sticking around to see a single car, read a single offer, or look at a single service coupon.
So it should go without saying that your site speed should be a primary concern. After all, it doesn’t matter how good the deals are on your vehicles if every visitor rage quits as soon as a single image attempts to load. So what can be done?
The first step is checking how fast your site loads. No, you don’t have to sit in front of your computer with a stopwatch. There are number of sites that can help you. Head over to take the Google Test My Site (speed tester) (thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite) or to webpagetest.org, and soon you’ll know if you have a problem or something else you can brag about. Even better, these sites will help you identify and diagnose the specific items on your website that are causing problems.
Even more importantly, google can turn that somewhat abstract figure into dollars. Sure, you know that a four second load time is bad, but how bad? Any dealer worth their salt can estimate how much a lead is worth. Google can take that information along with how quickly your site is loading, and let you know how much you would make in that perfect world in which your site speed is optimized. And, perhaps more starkly, it will show you how much you’re losing by not optimizing. Look at it this way: let’s say you’re spending $10,000 on digital advertising to push traffic to your site. If your load time is bad, you might as well flush $2,800 of that money down the toilet for all the good it’s doing you. That’s a pretty good down payment on a car right there.
Three seconds. It’s almost the blink of an eye. There’s probably something bad there about the state of the current attention span, but complaining isn’t going to make you a dime. Making your site faster will make you a whole lot more than just a dime.
And isn’t that what’s truly important?