The expectation of websites in the modern age is that they are fast and easy to use. That’s it. It’s not rocket science. Your customers want to get on your site and find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.

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The two things that determine your customer’s ability to quickly find what they’re looking for are:

1. Your site speed, and;

2. Your UI/UX design.

If your site is lacking in either of those, it is likely that your customers will abandon your site.

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Through surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, and displayed in the image above, it was found that almost half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a sites that don’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online. (See the full results of the study at Kissmetrics).

These data points are huge! If your site is slow, or if your customers can’t find what they’re looking for within seconds, they’ll leave your site and chances are, they won’t come back.

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And you can’t just look at raw site speed; you have to remember that your customers have a PATIENCE THRESHOLD. To them, it’s completely irrelevant if your site loads quickly but they can’t find what they’re looking for. Five seconds spent on a site is five seconds spent on a site; whether they’re waiting for your site to load or if they’re looking for what they can’t find.

So what does this mean if you’re running a business through your site? The short answer is that lost customers means lost money; lost money on marketing, on potential revenue growth, on potential peer-recommendations...the list goes on.

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In this article we’re going to look at why your site is losing customers, how much potential revenue is being lost, and how to recover any lost customers by making some easy tweaks to your site speed and optimization.

To accomplish this, we’ll look at:

1. Calculating your potential customer value.

2. Determining the loss of revenue due to a poorly optimized site, and;

3. How to optimize your site for speed and usability to recapture that lost revenue.

So let’s go!

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Section One: Your Customer Value

Your customers are valuable to you and your business. They provide income and keep your business going; heck, they’re the reason for your business! But have you taken the time to calculate just how valuable your customers are?

Let's take a few minutes to calculate your Customer Lifetime Value and understand how much each customer is worth to your business.

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Step 1: Calculate the annual profit of each customer

Your annual customer profit will tell you how much money a customer brings in on an annual basis or per year.

To calculate the annual profit of each customer, simply calculate the annual revenue per customer minus any costs to serving that customer. If you don’t have clear cut numbers for each customer or if you have hundreds of small customers, do your best to develop customer segments and buying patterns to estimate the annual profit of each customer.

For example, if you have a monthly retainer of $100/month per customer and your costs to supporting that customer are $70/month, you have a monthly profit per customer of $30/month. Multiply that by 12 and you get an annual customer value of $360 per annum.

Now this is assuming that the customer remains with you throughout the entire year but this will give you a general idea of annual customer value.

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Step 2: Estimate your costs to acquire each customer

Most companies do heavy marketing and some, like ourselves, offer free service or trial periods to acquire customers. This can lead to heavy acquisition costs but with a high retention rates, large acquisition costs usually pay off.

To get an acquisition cost, you’ll need to look at your marketing costs, any pre-contract or client assessment costs (meetings, RFPs, etc.), and any on-boarding costs to get a realistic idea of how much it costs you to acquire one customer.

Building off the example above, if you’re running a monthly marketing campaign of $100/month which brings in 1 customer/month ($100/customer) and it takes you 1 hour to onboard at $100/hour, your customer acquisition cost is $200/customer.

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Step 3: Math time

Now that you have the annual profit and acquisition costs for each customer, you’re able to calculate the yearly value of your customers.

Here’s the equation: Annual Profit - Acquisition Cost = Customer Value

In our example above, we’ll subtract our Acquisition Cost of $200 from our Annual Customer Profit of $360 to get an estimated Annual Customer Value of $160.

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Now you may be asking, “Why is this important? I already know and use my customer value.” While you may be aware of how much value each customer is bringing in, what we’re interested in now, is how much money you’re leaving on the table by NOT having an optimized site and by having customers abandon your online business.

Let’s dive quickly into potential loss of income from a poorly optimized site.

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Section Two: The Lost Revenue of Poorly Optimized Site

It is a shame but this is one of the most common issues we come across with our customers: a poorly optimized site that doesn’t provide an outstanding customer experience and lets any hard work you’ve put into your marketing campaigns go to waste.

If you're running a marketing campaign, it doesn't matter how stellar your conversion numbers are, if your audience gets to your site and immediately "bounces", you may as well save your marketing dollars and focus on optimizing your site for speed and usability first!

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But before we get into the steps of how to optimize a site, let’s get dirty and see just how much money you’re foregoing by leaving your site un-optimized.

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Your Bounce Rate

To start to understand how many customers are leaving your site, you’ll need to get two pieces of data:

1) Your Bounce Rate, and;

2) Your Site Users.

Your Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that abandon (bounce) your site after only viewing one page. While this is not a wholistic metric and won’t capture the more nuanced abandonments of your site (cart abandons, exit paths, etc.), it’s a quick way to see how many people are coming to your site and immediately leaving before engaging.

If you have analytics installed, you should be able to easily locate this percentage. Be sure to set the timeline for a relatively large timeline (3 months or larger) to get a good feeling for the traffic of your site over the long term.

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Your Site Users

Once you’ve found your Bounce Rate, you’ll need to locate the raw number of Users for that same time period. Your Site Users lets you know how many people have engaged your site in one or more sessions; basically, the number of people who have visited your site.

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With your Bounce Rate and User number in hand, it’s pretty simple to find out how many people are leaving your site before they even start to engage with your site.

Bounce Rate x Number of Users = Abandoned Users

The number of Abandoned Users tells you the exact number of users, within that timeframe, that are coming to your site and for whatever reason, leaving before even starting to engage with your site.

Following our example above, let’s say our site’s Bounce Rate is 20% and our number of users over a 3 month period is 1,000. With the equation above, that gives us an Abandoned User amount of 200 users over a 3 month period.

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Potential Revenue Loss

Once you have your number of Abandoned Users, simply multiply that number by the Customer Value we calculated in the beginning of the article to get your site’s Potential Revenue Loss.

Abandoned Users x Customer Value = Potential Revenue Loss.

In following our example, a Customer Value of $160/customer multiplied by our Abandoned User number of 200 gives us a Potential Revenue Loss of $32,000/year.

I want to say that again…

$32,000/year...that’s being left on the table as a result of a poorly optimized site.

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I want to highlight that the numbers I’ve used above aren’t huge or outlandish. A customer value of $160 per year is realistic number of many small businesses. And a Bounce Rate of 20% is very conservative (an average site Bounce Rate is around 40%).

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If your calculations are anywhere near this, you’re probably thinking…”$32,000, I could do wonders with that kind of money!”

Yes, you could. And that’s why it’s so important to have a highly optimized and maintained site to ensure that the customers who are coming to your site, are engaging and hopefully, converting to sales.

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So let’s look at why you could be losing these customers (and revenue) and provide you with some easy solutions to fix the problem.

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Section Three: How to Optimize Your Site and Recapture That Lost Revenue

As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, a high Bounce Rate is more than likely due to one of two things:

1) A slow loading site, or;

2) A poorly designed site (bad user experience).

To your customer, a slow site and a poorly designed site are equally as frustrating and provide equal reason for your customers to leave.

While we’re not going to address bad UX/UI in this article, we are going to provide some simple solutions to easily increase your site speed.

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In previously published an article, 4 Easy Steps to Increase WordPress Site Speed, we provide four simple and low cost ways to increase your site speed and overall optimization. It’s a straightforward article with simple background, easy to use recommendations, and time and cost estimates to each of our recommendations. It’s worth a read even if you’re a WordPress expert!

While we understand that there are lots of steps you can take to optimize your site to 100%, we’ve found that the four simple steps listed in the article above are low-cost, low time commitment, and can optimize your site to around the 90% mark.

If you have any issues with the simple steps to optimizing your site listed above, feel free to reach out; we're happy to help!

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Conclusion

An online business that’s losing customers is a sad sight indeed. With all that hard work into building your business, getting the word out, and getting those customers to your site, it can be very frustrating to see your customers turn right back around.

We hope that we’ve highlighted the importance of a highly optimize site and the real impact that an un-optimized site can have on your annual revenue. Lost customers is lost money and we hope that our recommendations will help your site retain customers and provide an excellent customer experience!

We welcome any feedback or suggestions you have to making this article more informative or better.

And as always, if you need help in completing any of the above tasks, feel free to reach out; we’re always available always here to help.

Kolby and the ValiusWP team

About the author

Kolby lives in the outskirts of Sacramento, CA with his lovely wife. For the past 10 years, he ran a digital media company "Knickerbocker Productions". In 2015, he partnered with Steven Kaufman to found Valius, an online WordPress service company. He brings decades of project management, digital marketing, production and customer service to his work at Valius (WP and Digital). He is the Director of Digital Marketing and Lead Customer Service agent at ValiusWP.

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