How to speed up and pare down your mobile site

Billal Qureshi April 2019 Mobile, UX & Design

Editor’s note: A version of this article previously appeared on Think with Google Canada. It addresses the importance of mobile speed for both global and local brands.

We’ve all been there before: You try to search for something and make a simple purchase on your mobile phone, and you find roadblocks everywhere. The site is too slow to load. It’s impossible to find the item you’re looking for. The checkout process takes forever. You abandon your cart in frustration.

This familiar situation can have a considerable impact on a brand’s bottom line. In retail, we’ve seen that even a one-second delay in load time can impact conversion by up to 20%,1 meaning too many companies are missing out on conversions that should be quick and easy.

The good news is there are quick fixes that you can implement to optimise your mobile experience. And as one company learned, these steps can produce big wins right away.

5 ways to optimise your mobile site speed

How to speed up and pare down your mobile site

Speed up, pare down

Last year, my team at Google did an audit of 100 of the biggest and most visited mobile sites in Canada. We saw the same issues come up again and again. And they’re not unique to Canada.

Here are five actions you can take that will have the biggest impact:

  1. Assess your mobile site speed. See where your site stands by using Test My Site, a free tool that can quickly assess the mobile performance of your website and provide custom solutions to help you improve its speed. It will also tell you how your site speed compares to that of your competitors, and how it could impact your company’s potential revenue.
  2. Reduce page weight. The sites we looked at were far too heavy for mobile devices. The average mobile site in Canada is 3,000 KB.2 Globally, 79% of pages are over 1MB, 53% are over 2MB, and 23% are over 4MB.3 Seconds really matter on mobile, and you shouldn’t expect your user to download that much data and wait several seconds for your site to load. Ensure your page weight is less than 1,000 KB.
  3. Remove automatic image carousels. Your customers are likely only seeing the first image in a carousel before they start to scroll. If you need to lose page weight, start by removing the carousels.
  4. Optimise search. Invite your users to start their journey with a search by putting your search box above the fold on your mobile site. Ensure you’re autocorrecting typos, too, as those are all too common on mobile.
  5. Speed up the checkout process. Many brands are making this part of the process too lengthy. Help returning customers by remembering their past purchase information or implementing services like PayPal or Google Pay. And enable them to make a purchase with only a few simple taps.

How one brand got results with this approach

A Vancouver-based junk removal company, 1-800-Got-Junk?, with franchises throughout North America and Australia, was looking for ways to improve its mobile booking process. After reducing page weight, improving forms for users to fill in, and making the calendar booking system easier for mobile users, the team saw excellent results almost instantly.

Results 1-800-Got-Junk? saw after optimizing their mobile site

A white smartphone with a red-yellow-green meter in the screen. The dial points to green. Text: Results 1-800-Got-Junk? saw after optimizing their mobile site: 19% increase in mobile sessions; 28% decrease in load time.

Over the course of 28 days in November 2018, the company’s mobile sessions were up by 19% year over year, and entries in its mobile online booking engine increased 13%. With page-load time down 28%, the bounce rate reduced by 4%.

“Our mobile experience is now one more way that we make the ordinary business of junk removal exceptional,” said Geoff Henshaw, vice president, digital marketing and customer insights at 1-800-Got-Junk?.

The solutions are out there, and they’re not difficult to implement. Create an action plan, monitor your mobile site speed regularly, and a frictionless mobile future awaits.

Through the eyes of users: how to start improving your mobile UX