A new report investigating the page speed of the web’s most searched industries has found that those in recruitment and HR were the slowest performing of any other sector.

The study, conducted by Illustrate Digital, reported on a number of factors which contributed to website performance across a range of sectors, including construction, travel, retail and finance among many others.

It found that, based on how long visitors wait for pages to load up, images to populate and more, those in the HR and recruitment space took, on average, 12.7 seconds to load a single page – a significant drop below the global average of just 3.2 seconds.

Scott Jones, CEO at Illustrate Digital said on the findings: “It’s surprising to see recruitment and HR businesses falling so far behind when it comes to their online presence, particularly considering the amount of groundbreaking technology we’re seeing emerging in this sector.

“HR tech is a burgeoning field, the industry is becoming ever more digital and yet it seems the websites themselves are underperforming, compared with other industry sectors. Every business wants their audience to be on-site and engaged as much as possible for as long as possible, so having a slow-to-use website or app is a huge barrier to this.

“How quickly a website loads up can have a huge impact on whether or not a user decides to stay and browse the site, or go elsewhere to greener pastures. Thankfully there are a host of ways that you can make positive improvements to the speed of a website, and the recruitment industry is no exception.”

The company has provided some best practice tips on how to improve website performance:

  • Choose your hosting service carefully. Search for reviews and compare the best website hosts to ensure you’ve picked a reliable service partner providing consistently fast servers. One option is to trial your website on a demo account with your new host to assess its functionality and speed.
  • Only use third-party integrations that you really need. Such services can be detrimental to performance due to the need to load additional external files and scripts, the additional domain name lookup, and the time to load the files. So, review periodically and remove third party apps that are no longer necessary.
  • Optimise images. The images that make up your webpage have one of the largest impacts on loading speed. Firstly, it’s important to understand the maximum pixel size required for an image on your website to ensure it fits. There are free online image resizing tools available to reduce the size of any images that exceed this.
  • Prioritise performance when being a new site. If you’re having a new website built, it’s so tempting to focus on design and SEO copy above all else but alongside this, performance should be a key metric of the overall customer experience.
    Scott adds: “Studies show that 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long, which is why a fast-loading site will typically receive more traffic and have happier, engaged clients and customers. While on the flip side, slow site speed can result in poor search engine rankings, lower overall site traffic, and negative user experiences.

“Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time, so if any business leaders are planning to improve their digital marketing strategy this year – page speed is a great place to start.”

Illustrate Digital is a specialist web and UX agency working across the UK, Europe and North America. It offers a range of services including user research, UX design and WordPress Development and regularly shares industry-leading insights and studies.

For more information and to see the full report, visit https://illustrate.digital/reports/global-page-speed-2023/.