Keeping People Engaged Online: The Need for Speed

Put Your Fastest Dealer Website Forward

Study after study has revealed that people are shifting to online resources more and more during the car buying process. According to the 2016 Independent Dealership Action Report, a whopping 80% of customer touchpoints now occur digitally – and there is no indication of that percentage decreasing anytime soon.

If you’ve ever rolled your eyes and clicked off a webpage before it could fully load, you know website visitors do not want to be hunkered down by slow page load speeds. The name of the game is convenience. Every dealer’s goal should be to make research as easy and quick as possible. Chop Chop!

In addition to happier users, a faster website offers a few other benefits that can really help set your site apart from the competition. And in today’s competitive landscape, any little advantage can mean the difference between a conversion and a lost opportunity.

1. Faster loading increases the opportunity to engage site visitors.

We’re living in a world where people can order items for same-day delivery, where algorithms update in an instant and where the culture is always now and never later. The truth of the matter is site visitors have become accustomed to instant gratification, which is why download speeds and website performance are increasingly an important part of the automotive web design strategy.

The average time it takes any mobile page to load is about 15 seconds, yet 53% of users will abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load! Let’s do some quick math here, since on average, a third of a dealership’s customer base (and growing) performs all of its research on a mobile device. If you have 100,000 mobile website visitors, and your page load speed is longer than 3 seconds, then you’re missing out on 53,000 potential conversions. Yes, 53,000!!!!!!

You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Increase your opportunities to engage site visitors with a faster website through responsive, quick-loading solutions. No one is going to find your customized content, click your buttons or make it through the sales funnel if that first web page takes too long to load. And worse, once a page is abandoned, it is highly unlikely the visitor will ever visit that website again.

2. Site speed affects SEO rankings.

All of the major search engines collect data on website abandonment, and those slower websites are ranked lower than quicker sites. People want answers, and they’ll click on the sites that provide those answers fastest. On top of that, all of the major search engines collect data on website abandonment, and those slower websites are ranked lower than quicker sites. With so much riding on search engine algorithms, dealers should partner with a website platform provider who invests in speed and innovation.

Page speed is largely measured by a website’s “time to first byte” (TTFB) or network and server responsiveness. TTFB is the time it takes a user's request to hit the website's server, where the goal is about 200 milliseconds. It’s also important to mention that page load is the time it takes for the user's page to actually load, where the goal is about 3-5 seconds.

To see where your website falls, test your TTFB with a free option, such as WebPageTest.org, or talk to your website host. If it’s longer than 2-3 seconds, start with dynamic content improvements and server caching to improve your website speed and responsiveness.

3. Finally, faster site speed increases online revenue.

Ultimately, your website performance affects sales, and a slow website is not going to do you any favors. Noted above, more than half of mobile site visitors abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load, which is a massive number of lost potential customers. But it doesn’t stop there. Numerous studies show visitors who have a negative experience on your site are much more likely to share bad reviews, having a lasting impact on immediate sales and potential customers.

A faster website greatly improves customer experience, thus, increasing the likelihood a site visitor will continue moving through the sales funnel. Most independent dealership customers only search 1 or 2 dealer websites before visiting a dealership in person, so the impression your site makes is absolutely crucial. Whether you win or lose that potential business could be a direct result of your website’s page load speed. Don’t lose them at the load.

Conclusion

A faster site contributes to higher rankings, and higher rankings make it more convenient for visitors to find your website. The happier your site visitors, the better the chance you’ll see increased conversions. It all comes full circle, and it all comes down to page load speed.



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