Your website sucks because it's slow
Nobody likes to wait.
Specifically, nobody likes to wait when they’re not expecting it.
If you’re at the grocery store, you expect to have a couple people in line in front of you. Not a big deal. But if there are 8 people ahead of you, that sucks.
It’s much the same with websites. When you visit one, you expect to see some text, and maybe an image, within a few seconds. You expect to be able to interact with it after a couple more seconds. If you can’t, that sucks.
And if your website locks up for 10, 15, even 20 seconds before it becomes usable, I guarantee people are hitting the back button and moving on to their next dopamine hit.
Even the ones who stick around have internalized the notion that your site - and possibly the product behind it - is slow and unreliable.
Here's what you can do
First of all, hold yourself to reasonable standards.
You may have read headlines making bold claims like “Just a 100-millisecond delay in load time hurt conversion rates by up to 7%.”
That’s a great headline, probably got lots of clicks. It doesn’t apply to you.
Set a page load time goal based on what your visitors expect.
How fast do your competitors’ sites load? If you’re in the same ballpark, it’s probably fine.
Where are your visitors coming from? If it’s social media, they’re in a distractible state and you need to be quick. If it’s a search engine or a referral from another site, they’ll be more patient.
It’s quite possible that the best strategy is to do nothing. However, you have my permission to work on page speed optimization if:
Your site's pretty slow
You can make it a lot faster
The improvements you're making are pretty cheap
Forgive the hand-wavey imprecision of those guidelines 🙏. I don't think we can come to a universal definition of "fast enough" versus "pretty slow."
I’ll give it a shot, though:
> 15 seconds Time to Interactive (TTI) is pretty slow
10 seconds slower than your slowest-loading competitor is pretty slow
5 seconds TTI is fast enough
As for "pretty cheap" - the improvements should take no more than a week for the first round, and then a day or two a quarter afterward.
For most marketing sites, all this advice boils down to "install a speed optimization plugin, compress images, and move on with life."
Let someone else dump tons of money into trying to be the fastest site in the world. As long as you’re not losing visitors in droves, you should settle for “not terrible” and move on.