6 Non-Technical Reasons for a Slow Website

Many industry leaders have chosen to prioritize web performance—think of the biggest ecommerce brands in the world—and they’re profiting from it.

Taryn Hardes
Technology contributor
January 10, 2022

There are two types of people in the world: those who work out regularly, and those who don’t.

For the people that don’t, the time commitment seems impossible. Factor in getting dressed, food, getting there and back, fitting in an extra shower…it’s basically incomprehensible. They just don’t have time.

For the people that do—you know the ones—they’ve found the time. They choose a training session over an extra episode on Netflix, or they prefer a spin class to happy hour. They’ve made their workouts a priority.

Similarly, there are two types of businesses: those who have prioritized site speed, and those who haven’t.

In a LinkedIn poll, SpeedSense founder Shawn O’Neill asked his network what was holding them back from running a “blazing fast website”. The most popular response? “Lack of tech resources.”

Poll: What do you feel is the number one reason that your website is not as fast as you want it to be?

Perhaps they truly don’t have the resources available. Or maybe it’s that they’re not prioritizing the problem. But while there are a number of reasons for slow site speed, only some have to do with tech. Many of the reasons for poor web performance are cultural, organizational, and operational challenges.

Here are six non-technical reasons why it’s so hard to run a fast website.

Reason 1: There’s no clear owner

Who is in charge of site speed for your brand?

Unless you have a Director of First Contentful Paint (and if you do, we want to hear about it!), then site speed is likely a shared responsibility across a variety of teams—development, marketing, operations, digital, and product.

There are only so many hours in a day, and non-functional requirements are the easiest to ignore. As a result, site speed may get neglected—simply because everyone assumes someone else is handling it, or believes that someone else should.

Reason 2: Success is vaguely defined

How fast is fast enough? How long will it take to get there?

Without competitive benchmarking and clear goals, it’s impossible to prioritize improving your site speed. You need reference points. You need a compass!

It’s impossible to make an action plan when the problem is “the site is too slow” and the goal is “make the site faster”.

Reason 3: There are competing priorities for various stakeholders

Which team gets the final say?

Marketing is trying to flood the site with traffic, customer support wants to smooth out the UX, and development is trying to deploy without interruption. Everyone is responsible for their own priorities. With so many stakeholders adding tools, tags, plugins, and media to the website, who’s managing load time and stakeholder needs?

Reason 4: Web performance is seen as a bug or tech debt

Are you worried about the cost of fixing web performance instead of the cost of not fixing it?

Reframe how you see web performance—it’s not something that costs money to implement—it’s something that costs you every day that you don’t fix it.

Imagine running a $5M ad campaign that drives to a page that loads in 1 second, versus that same page loading in 10 seconds. Which has a higher ROI on your marketing spend? Lower bounce rate? Better conversion?

Reason 5: There’s no team in place

Who’s actually going to tackle—and maintain—your web performance?

Maybe there actually is a lack of resources in your team, or or maybe your existing teams just haven’t prioritized web performance. Either way, you likely don’t have a team in place—and you need one.

Reason 6: Web performance is viewed as a one-time project

Are you hoping you can make your site fast and then be done?

Web performance isn’t a one-time project, it’s an ongoing program. Just like SEO and UX, web performance doesn’t have an end date. Brands who treat web performance as an ever-evolving program are head and shoulders above their peers, whether this is through dedicated in-house resources, or outsourced help.

Many industry leaders have chosen to prioritize web performance—think of the biggest ecommerce brands in the world—and they’re profiting from it. A mindset of “I just don’t have time” or “I’ll get to it later” costs you more than you may realize.

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