Mette Nielsen  |  07/07/2022

The most important feature of a small business website

The pain threshold for many consumers is a page load speed of just 2-3 seconds. 40% will abandon a site that takes too long to load.

The most important feature of your website is not design, content or even customer journey. Even though those points are all important, they do not mean much without resting on a foundation of solid site performance.

The goal of superior performance is for the website to respond well to user interaction, as well as load and render content quickly.

If the user does not notice performance or think about it, the website has done something right.

What do consumers say that they expect?

Consumers have high expectations to website speed. According to kissmetrics’ data, How Page Speed Affects Your Bottom Line, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and 52% said that quick speed loading is important to their site loyalty. Not only that, but a whopping 79% are unlikely to return to a poorly performing website.

What about user behaviour?

One thing is what consumers say they expect. Another thing is how they react.

Kissmetrics’ data showed that 40% of consumers abandoned websites that took more than three seconds to load. So, people are marginally more patient than what they self-report that they are going to be but losing almost half of your visitors to slow page speed load is still a big blow, especially if you are a small business. 
Simply put, many consumers will simply give up if it takes long to enter a website. 

Google recognized the importance of page speed back in April 2010, with its blog post Using site speed in web search ranking:

“Faster sites create happy users and we have seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites do not just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed—that is why we have decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.”  

Read more about Web Vitals in our blog post: A Guide to Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals.

Mobile versus desktop website performance

Responsiveness is another key factor in a website’s performance. Not only have 79% of US consumers bought a product on a phone; nearly 40% of purchases in the 2018 holiday season in the United States were made from a smartphone.

As we wrote in 5 user experience tips for small business websites, “Small business websites need to look great and work well on different devices, so visitors and potential customers can have a great online experience - whether they are on a laptop or mobile device. Make sure your website looks at least as good as it does on desktop, or you will risk losing out on potential customers.”

Many users experience certain websites being slower on their phone than on desktop. This may be because phones have less powerful processors, or that consumers browse on their phones via less stable internet connections. It could also be caused by unnecessary CSS-code or too large files on the websites that they visit.

Regardless of the reason, it can be worth optimising the user experience on phone viewports. An important part of this is to have responsive websites that have been built for quick load times and high performance.

What does this mean for you?

Small businesses, or anyone with a website, can benefit from optimising performance before other features. Quick page loading and smooth user interaction needs to be the basis of all other functionality on your website.

Building a well performing website

As we mentioned in 15 facts from 15 years with Mono, our Mono Templates, which consistently score in the 90th percentile on all parameters in the Google Lighthouse report, give websites a head-start when it comes to responsiveness and accessibility. Mono templates, and the additional page and row layouts in the Mono Editor, are designed for the different viewports (desktop, tablet, and mobile). It is also possible to enable various settings in the Mono Editor to further improve page load speed, such as lazy loading of images or deferred loading of unused CSS and JS. Web vitals is a key focus for us, and we are committed to continual improvements. If you would like a demo of the Mono Editor, please let us know here.