A website’s conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action, and the conversion rate is tied directly to how much revenue a website generates. Page speed has a huge impact on user behavior.

What is a webpage’s conversion rate?

In web jargon, a user converts when they take the action that the designers of the webpage wanted them to take. For example, on an e-commerce page displaying baby strollers, a user converts when they decide to purchase a stroller and click on the ‘buy’ button. A user does not need to purchase something to convert; however, a webpage can have a variety of purposes. Other examples of user conversions include filling out and submitting a contact form, answering survey questions, or even just clicking through to the next page on the website.

The conversion rate is the percentage of total visitors to the webpage who convert. If 100 users visit the page advertising baby strollers, and 2 users click the ‘buy’ button, the conversion rate is 2%. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) pushes this figure as high as possible. Conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process because unless a page’s conversion rate is 100%, which is highly unlikely, it can always be optimized further.

Conversion rate vs. page traffic

Conversion rate is a separate measurement from the total traffic, or number of visitors, to a page. If a page’s conversion rate declines, the total number of users converting decreases, even if page traffic remains the same. Conversely, the total conversions will increase if a page’s traffic stays the same but the conversion rate increases.

How does site speed affect conversion rates?

Website performance has a large, measurable effect on conversion rates. Studies have consistently shown that fast page speed will improve conversion rates. In other words, the quicker a webpage loads, the more likely a user is to perform the targeted action on that webpage.

How quickly should a webpage load? 47% of customers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less, according to skilled.co. Also, per skilled.co, testing by AI healthcare software company mPulse Mobile found that:

  • Pages that loaded in 2.4 seconds had a 1.9% conversion rate
  • At 3.3 seconds, conversion rate was 1.5%
  • At 4.2 seconds, the conversion rate was less than 1%
  • At 5.7+ seconds, the conversion rate was 0.6%

Other companies have experienced similar results:

  • Walmart found that for every 1-second improvement in page load time, conversions increased by 2%
  • COOK increased conversions by 7% by reducing page load time by 0.85 seconds
  • Mobify found that each 100ms improvement in their homepage’s load time resulted in a 1.11% increase in conversion

These seemingly small increases in conversion have a huge impact on how much revenue a site generates. If an e-commerce site produces 10 million dollars in sales per year, and if the conversion rate increases by 2% after the website’s load time improves by a second (as in the Walmart case study), that’s a $200,000 increase in revenue.

What other factors besides page performance affect conversion rate?

Conversion rate is also affected by page design, layout, the text and images on the page, etc. If it’s unclear to a page visitor what action to take next, or if too many options are presented, they may bounce from the page. Independent of all these issues, website speed optimization should improve conversion rates even if the page still has other areas that need to be optimized.

Website speed, SEO, and conversion rate

Page speed affects both conversion rate and SEO. Thus, improving it can help increase total traffic and a page’s conversion rate.

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