Optimising Your Business Website: Speed Vs. Design

Having a beautiful website is all well and good, but it’s the customer experience that turns casual browsers into buyers.

What is the trick to getting customers to checkout? The process. That is, the ease with which customers are directed towards payment points, the ease with which they can browse and select products, and finally the process of purchasing.

Think of your website like your storefront. Can shoppers get into it easily? Can they find what they want? Is it obvious where they should pay? Does it all take too long? Now remember your website: does your fancy web design slow down the process so much that they abandon their cart and leave?

You might need a lesson in customer experience.

There are many influences that attract customers to your website to buy. Your marketing, the way in which your products are laid out on the page, the font you’re using, your colour scheme… In fact, everything affects your success. Every single decision that you make regarding the way your website looks will either attract or deter your customers. Put simply: web design is important; the aesthetics of your website could make or break your entrepreneurial dreams, but at what point do the aesthetics start slowing down your website loading times?

Since 2010, Google has been observing site speed when its algorithm forms its search engine rankings. It found that when a site responded slowly, visitors spent less time there. In this new age of fibreoptic connections and superfast broadband, consumers are spoilt, so it falls to your company to make sure you deliver your site at the fastest pace possible to ensure optimum customer experience.

So what affects the speed of a website? And, more importantly, how can you avoid it?


Periods of high traffic to your site should make you happy: plenty of customers stopping by equals plenty of opportunities to make sales. However, your site could experience a slowdown in times of high traffic, depending on your hosting package.

To combat a site slowdown, it’s important that your hosting package offers plenty of bandwidth. When you’re up and running successfully you may be feeling the traffic strain on a more basic hosting package, so it may be time to consider investing in a Virtual Private Server to keep up with the demands of your site visitors.

Excessive code

While server speeds can certainly be a part of the problem, the construction of your site can create a bottleneck, impeding loading and download speeds for your site visitors.

The last thing you want is for your customers to abandon a purchase or leave your website because of your site speed – that’s almost as bad as having a lazy sales assistant. You can speed things up by optimising your HTML and CSS code:

  • Make sure the code you use is consistent.
  • Use lower case as often and consistently as possible.
  • Take out unnecessary line breaks and blank space from your CSS – this will give a download time boost.

Flash overload

Excessive use of Flash is just that: Flash. Flash reigned supreme when internet connection was still struggling with dial up, so its use has declined dramatically in recent years.  The reason? The clunky Flash software is hardly ever compatible with mobile devices and struggles with SEO algorithms. Follow the trend on this occasion and steer clear.

Time for a spring clean!

Spring has sprung (or is about to) so why not have a spring clean of your website, both front and back ends, removing all of the unnecessary clutter which is serving only to slow down your site? Do you really need that fancy embedded video? Could you do without any of the frills on your homepage? Ask someone not connected to your company to do a ‘blind test’. See how  they navigate your site and you’ll be able to see where your customers are stumbling.