Speed matters.

A fast site can help you increase page views, improve customer satisfaction, and boost revenues.

The opposite is equally true. A sluggish, snail-paced site can push away new and existing customers in numbers and gravely hurt your chances of becoming a successful internet marketer.

In short, a quick, nimble site is a necessity—not a luxury—in today’s fast-paced world.

That said, how fast your site should be to make the right impression?

Well, there’s no such thing as too fast of a website. The shorter the page loading time, the better it is. However, if you need a benchmark, a figure to aim at, the website hosting reviewers at Hosting Tribunal say it should be 3 seconds.

Note to readers: Admittedly, while the hosting guide that Hostingtribunal has is a good one it has some limitations, for example, it compares just 13 hosting providers. Here are some other options:

Research shows that abandonment rates shoot up menacingly when page load time exceeds 3 seconds. According to a report, 53% of viewers abandon a page which takes over 3 seconds to load.

The effects of slow speed are even greater on e-commerce stores. If your site loads slowly, not only your bounce rate but also shopping cart abandonment rate will increase sharply. A survey shows that for 51% online buyers the main reason for leaving a purchase midway is slow speed.

It seems online customers equate speed with professionalism, reliability, and safety. One report states that 44% of online purchasers worry about the success of the transaction if the checkout page take a long time to load.

Another research reveals that for 52% of online customers, quick page loading is an important site loyalty factor. Additionally, 64% of shoppers don’t plan to return to a site that loads slowly.

The warning signals are clear, loud, and ominous: E-commerce owners with slow sites should get their act together quickly if they don’t want to become outcasts.

So what does it really take to reduce page load time?

First find how much time your site is currently takes to load on different devices, like desktop PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Next consider roping in the services of a talented web developer. Sit with her and design a realistic plan that will allow you to achieve your target page load time of 3 seconds as quickly as possible.

Several brands have been able to improve their sites’ speed, as you can see in this infographic, and there’s no reason why you too can’t do the same.