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Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Enhancing Website Trust and Conversion Rates

August 8, 2023
Matt Southam

Most web designers and digital marketers will tell you that making your website load as fast as possible is essential. Users love fast websites, Google loves fast websites, speed is king, the faster the better.
But what if i told you that at times slowing things down a little could actually improve the trust and, therefore the conversion rate of your website?

Now stick with me

Say you want to compare the best price on car insurance or find the best hotel deals in a city you want to visit. If when you enter your details, you click search and immediately get the results do you think “wow that’s great” or in the back of your head are you wondering if it was a bit too good to be true? Did the website really manage to search all the options and present you with the best deal?

It would be like ordering an elaborate dish in a fancy restaurant and it turned up at the speed of a Macdonald’s happy meal. You probably wouldn’t perceive its value to be as high as if the chef cooked it all fresh for you!

Sometimes a wait can make the product feel more valuable.

A study published in the Journal of Interactive Marketing titled “The Effects of Website Delays, Social Presence, and Retail Touchpoints on Consumer Shopping Behavior” suggests just that. A delay in delivery, done at the right time, can increase the perceived value.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that you should have a slow website. We all know the frustrations slow websites bring. I am suggesting a strategic use of loading times when it benefits perceived value.

For the majority of websites, faster is better. But websites are never a one size fits all. It needs to cater for the needs of the users.

So how can you apply this to your website? As in the example above, if you deliver complex calculations or compare lots of data, strategic load times can enhance user experience.

In my 10 years of marketing consultancy, I have witnessed how small changes can make big impacts. And this all starts by understanding the customer and adjusting your website for them.

The end goal of any website project is to create a website that increases an action to be taken. This could be a sale, an enquiry or a signup. And this is done by building trust. And sometimes slowing things down a little can increase this.

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