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Freezing Penguin
Web Design

Does the speed of my website really matter?

Short answer: Yes. A lot.

Site speed affects everything from search rankings to bounce rate to customer satisfaction. It helps out with conversions, dollar value per sale, and can even reduce server costs.

Aberdeen Group did a great study - though a bit old now - that found lots of details related to page speed, but the key stats are:

Increase in customer satisfaction
Increase in conversions
Increase in pageviews

for every 1 second decrease in page load times

and in 2014, Akamai found that:

Expect 'instant' page load
Expect <1s page load
Expect <2s page load
of 'dissatisfied' customers will visit another website to accomplish their goals
will never return to a website where they experienced problems
That's right, nearly every key metric for your business is affected by the speed of your site. And while the decline is most extreme after about 4 seconds, anything over 'instant' is hurting your bottom line. Clearly you can make more money with a faster website.

In addition to these direct profits, don't forget the all-important metric of customer satisfaction. This is much harder to value, but customer goodwill can lead to everything from repeat sales to better reviews to positive word of mouth - which each help funnel more customers your way.

So how much does it cost to get a faster site?

In many cases, you save money even before the improvements in customer satisfaction, retention and conversions. If you build a website with speed as a goal from the start, you can reduce processing costs and especially bandwidth costs significantly. Many web design firms still design with speed as an afterthought at best - leaving unoptimized images, unused code, and poorly planned design in the final version. This can double the bandwidth required with every page load. Some hosts don't even bother with compressing the text files and allowing browser caching, which can make second and third page views by the same user take easily 100x the data! All this extra data has a real cost. We pay on the order of $0.10/GB of transfer, which makes a 2MB pageview cost around two-hundredths of a cent. That may not sound like a lot, but a successful business can have many thousands of page views every day, and it starts to add up. On the other hand, the cost of optimizing a site is real, but is a one-time cost so you can make it up over time.

If you are building a new site, the cost to optimize it is very low - depending on the designer and the site you are looking for. Some designers literally don't know anything about how to optimize a site, some just don't bother.

But a good design firm knows how, and takes pride in making their sites as fast as possible.

Freezing Penguin web design is in that kind of firm. Our designers understand the way a good website works dynamically - we use a responsive design, and we plan it that way from the start. We believe a good design is not 'pixel perfect' across all browsers, but instead should look great on its own merit. If one browser doesn't support a feature we want to use, then unless it's critical, we won't hack it into existence. More importantly, we design based on the constraints of what renders without excess CSS rules. Where possible, elements are positioned in the normal document flow. We do everything HTML, CSS, and PHP by hand and in the browser, not in fancy tools that automate the work - we work to be one with the code. Design and coding are not separate tasks, other than a few quick concept sketches. All our sites run on super-fast servers with content delivery networks for all the static content. We test our sites with Google PageSpeed Insights, and use that information to help get the best speeds out of your new site. Images are optimized in size, quality and format for the best file size without compromising on the appearance. We use image sprites to reduce requests.

Did a lot of the above sound like gobbledygook?

That's why you hire us - we have spent years learning everything discussed above - and more - in order to give clients a better result than any other firm. That means good looks, a faster site, better SEO, and a lower price!

But I already have a great website - it's just a bit slow

Not to worry! Freezing Penguin can probably make your website blazing fast with some relatively minor work. Request a quote today and we will help figure out what's slowing you down and how to improve. In many cases, a big part of a slow website is simple things like images that have not been optimized well, or stylesheets that can be combined. If it takes more, we will help you choose the best course of action and discuss the cost and the benefits to see if we can make something work.

Aberdeen Group
Akamai - 2014 Consumer Web Performance Expectations