Why The First Impression and Load Time of your Website is So Important

You only need to think back to your first job interview to realise just how important making a good first impression really is.

It’s very obvious when you think about it. You were either successful and landed the job, or it was a complete nightmare and you couldn’t wait to escape. Quite often it was the first impression you made in that interview that won or lost you the job. 

The same thing can be applied to your website – within around seven seconds of landing on your site, your web visitors have already judged you!

If your website isn’t visually attractive, if the user experience is confusing, if your pages take ages to load, then your web visitors won’t bother to hang around to learn about you or your products or services, even if they are the best thing since sliced bread.

What gives a poor first impression?

Many factors play a part in creating a poor first impression. These include:

  • Clashing colour scheme
  • Drawn out loading time
  • Poor web layout
  • Annoying pop-ups
  • Lack of a navigation menu

It could be any one of these issues or a combination of many of them that cause your visitors to leave within the first ten to fifteen seconds of landing on your site. 

On average, web visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a site before they decide to leave or stay. So you only have up to a 15-second window to impress your users.

Quicky grabbing your visitors attention with an engaging video can be useful here. A survey by TMG Custom Media found that 60% of respondents said they would watch videos before reading text on the same webpage. 22% said they generally liked watching videos more than browsing text for examining business information.

A bad first impression will put users off visiting your site again, plus it can take a terrible toll on your bounce rate. One of the most frustrating website issues that drive more visitors away than anything else is page loading speed.

Why loading speed matters

Website page speed has been a focus for page ranking with Google and the other major search engines for a couple of years now. Loading speeds have great importance to your website SERP ranking and this is expected to be even more critical going into the future.

How quickly your web visitor sees your content has become a huge factor towards your site’s overall user experience success. Pages that can deliver content quickly will satisfy users needs immediately and will help to engage and hold their attention for longer. 

Your page speed is defined by how fast you can display all the content of a page, or the length of time it takes for a browser to receive a batch of information from the server.

Because of the different technology used on desktop computers compared to mobile devices, page speed is measured separately for each platform. This is why it is so important for a website owner to have a site that is mobile-friendly and is designed to work smoothly across all devices.

Don’t confuse page speed with site speed

It can be easy to mix these up, but your site speed is measured using the average of several sample pages on your site. However, page speed is defined by how long a visitor will need to wait to start using the content on the page of your site they visit. 

Pages that load faster are more efficient and provide a better user experience for your web visitors. According to Kissmetrics, if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, over a quarter of users will click away.

Page speed is also important for search engine optimization (SEO). Google uses page speed for their search index rankings, and since 2017 have incorporated mobile site speed to rank sites on its “mobile-first” pages.

What can slow page loading down?

There are a few things to look out for when analysing your page and trying to improve loading speeds. One of the most overlooked issues is using pages with large images. 

A heavy image page using high DPI images can load slowly. If you want to keep your page highly visual, then consider optimising images to make your page more lightweight. 

Another issue that causes slow loading times is if your page has too many large files that must be downloaded. 

JavaScript rendering can also cause issues. For example, you may have too many scripts, so a compression or minimisation tool will help to reduce download times here. There may also be a problem with rendering scripts too early or too late. 

Check to see if your web design has been created to be consumed once all the content has been loaded. You can improve your load time and user experience if your web design allows your users to see the above the fold content first.


Your web users want to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. When your site meets with their expectations, they will have a positive user experience and will be more inclined to return to your website for updates and fresh information when they need it.

Think fast and deliver fast! Remember that you only have a 15-second window to capture their attention. 

Guest article written by: Joe Dawson is director of Creative.onl the strategic design agency. Social links: https://twitter.com/jdwn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/dawsonjoe/

2 thoughts on “Why The First Impression and Load Time of your Website is So Important”

  1. Great point on mentioning the difference between page speed and site speed. Some people may think they are the same thing, but if you have individual pages that load too slow, those pages won’t rank as well. Great article!


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