PageSpeed: Does It Actually Matter? - Part 1

Who cares and why so much controvery?

Short answer: Yes.
Long answer:  Yes, but maybe not for the reasons you expect.

By the way, this is part of a series on Google PageSpeed!
  1. Does Page Speed Matter? (this article)
  2. What Causes Slow Speed?
  3. How Do You Make Site Faster?

This issue is such a flame war these days. People seem to fall into several camps:
  • Those in denial
  • Those that think it matters for customer experience (CX) but don’t think that Google PageSpeed Insights is a lost cause
  • Those that see a low speed on a dashboard and will do anything to get that score to 100
  • Those that are a household brand name -- and don’t care

First the denial crowd....
While no one knows the exact ramifications of Google’s Web Vitals on search ranking, we do know that speed is correlated to better conversions and a better experience in general. For Millennials and younger, we get a bit of endorphin hit  when a site loads fast. I have fiber that gives me downloads at 917.6 MB/s., but even having a fast pipe to the internet doesn’t fix slow sites. I don’t think I will influence those in denial - they are happy to exist as they are, at the level they are.

Customer Experience is all that matters....
We largely agree here. Where this crowd gets it wrong is the claim Google PageSpeed Insights is garbage and “insert your favorite tool here” is much better. So the one search engine, that the vast majority of people use, sets a standard and you are going to ignore it?!? Just because you are loading the YouTube JS library on your Contact Us page, even though there is no video on that page, and Google (who owns YouTube) says their own library is slowing your site down isn’t their problem. The problem is yours.

So you want to get a 100 score?
This crowd suffers from some of the same ailments as the previous group for different reasons. They are both fixated and don’t take time to understand the nuance of the Google PageSpeed Insights. The "lost cause" group get one thing right - that you don’t have to have a 100, but I do think it is reasonable to pass Core Vitals and not have a mobile score of 12 or 26! The "lost cause" group gets another thing right - if you have a fast site, but your site sucks, then what is the point. People aren’t going to love your site if it is fast, but they don’t see the point or purpose of your site.

Nike, Gymshark, or <insert name> site has a slow site, so I don't need one either!
This baffles me, because they (Gymshark, etc) have the latitude to fix it (I would think). But on the other hand, they are so big of a name it doesn’t matter for 2 reasons: 1) they have already made it to the top and 2) their customers already know how to get to them, i.e. directly. In the end, their massive amount of traffic keeps them high in the search results, and people know how to find them anyways.

So why does this matter at all?
The context for this is that Google can use page speed to determine search results and ordering. So not only do you have to have good content from a search engine aspect, from a user perspective, and now from a speed aspect. This is a bit of a big deal, because most sites out there have pretty abysmal load speeds, at least judged by Google PageSpeed. But regardless of our lack of choice in the matter, this is a tool. You can use it to get a head or fall in the middle of the bell curve with the rest of the pack.

What tactic should I take?
We largely agree that customer experience overrides all. Why? Because it takes it all onto view. Page speed and search results are part of customer experience. If people can't find you on search results because your site is so slow you come up on the 500th page, then that isn't good. If your customer hits your site and gets frustrated due to slow speed or items shifting around on the page, then that is bad. If your site is fast, but doesn't have either the content or features expected, then that is bad too.

Our thought is that you need to look at your store, your e-commerce business, from your customer's perspective. Try to understand their preferences and match them the best that you can!

What should I do next? Read the next article: What Causes Slow Speed?

The state of e-commerce in 2021

Online shopping is up 18.62%. And rising.

The big boxes keep raising the bar. Small businesses must keep up.

The government imposed shutdowns are impacting those that can't do business seamlessly online.

This is the new normal. Shoppers buying patterns have changed. Do you have what it takes to stay ahead?

Start

What is Flex?

  • Is Flex a custom store?

    No, but it can be modified to be what you need.

    You don't need custom, unless you are in 0.1% of our customers. (Trust us... We have been building custom, one-offs for the past decade.)

    While it isn't custom, it can be customized in any aspect, at any level - from colors to workflows, to dashboards, to loyalty programs. Have questions - just ask.

  • Can I customize the checkout?

    Yes.

  • Is this a headless e-commerce solution?

    It can be.

    We think that is the right solution for some, but not all businesses. But we can open the Flex API on your store and act as one without restrictions.

  • What are the long-term costs?

    Infrastructure and maintenance.

    Both combined are less than platform costs, in most cases.

  • How is it priced?

    At numbers that make sense to leave platforms.

    Fixed base package. Fixed add-on features. Project based design, customizations, and imports.

  • Do I have to run my store on your platform?

    Flex isn't a platform. You can run it anywhere.

    For the nerds, we are an e-commerce framework to build stores quickly that can be customized infinitely.

  • Is this a platform?

    No.

    We find platforms restrictive for customers desiring this tier of store. If you are coming to us you don't want artificial rules holding you back.

  • Do I have to pay for it all up front?

    No.

    But it is more cost effective. We offer pay over time options. You do have to pay for all custom design and development up front. You can get the source code after your payment plan is complete.

  • Can this store be shut down?

    We make resilient stores that can be live anywhere. We can set you up with a site that fails over to another cloud (infrastucture) so we can make it difficult for those that wish to cancel you.

    You won't get shut down buy us because you own it. If you do get taken down, we can get you back up quick!

  • Do you offer discounts?

    Yes, for non-profits. And for our development cohorts.

    We do these cohorts on occasion to improve sections of our codebase. You get a store with a discount and we get to improve our code! Contact us to find out more.

Other recent resources