Your Higher Education Marketing Link of the Week… Bennington College… 24 March 2017

Lowest Speed Scores Reported by Google… 11/100 for Mobile and 12/100 for Desktop

Each week when I find a website page to use as the Link of the Week I test the URL with Google’s “Test how mobile friendly your site is” service. Invariably, most higher education sites rate as low for mobile speed with ratings usually between 40 and 60. “Mobile friendliness” scores, once a page downloads, are much higher at 90 to 99.

My visits to different sites for a selection this week took me to the Bennington College home page after reading an article that the Bennington site was especially adept at increasing conversion rates from potential students who visited. What startled me here was not the very full-featured home page itself. It was the record low score of 11 for Mobile Speed and a nearly-as-low 12/100 for desktop visitors. At most sites, the desktop speed rating is quite a bit higher than the mobile version.

Slow sites risk lower SEO scores

In the Google view, a score this low is likely to keep impatient people away from the site. Google tells us that “Nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds.” Google has also given hints that at some future point SEO results from mobile searches will suffer if sites are slow.

Of course, more than a few of my friends in the web world tell me that they don’t pay much attention to these Google admonitions. And that’s a choice that everyone has to make for themselves. Not everyone recognizes a “need for speed” on a website, particularly if a speed goal clashes with content features that people want to add to the site. A check with Google Analytics will tell you about behavior differences, if any, between people who visit from a smartphone and those who visit from a laptop or desktop.

That said, many of us hold to the belief that a faster website is better than a slower one. Skeptics might want to read this Kissmetrics article on “How loading time affects your bottom line.” The Google test service offers an option to receive detailed recommendations to increase site speed. Test your site, click to “Get My Free Report Now,” and review the results with the tech folks who work on your site.

California Lutheran University: 89/100 for Mobile Speed

Some higher education websites do reach higher speed levels, even with contemporary design features. One of the best for mobile (89/100) and desktop (92/100) speed is the home page at California Lutheran University. The proverbial icing on the cake is a Mobile Friendliness rating of 99/100.

Follow the Link of the Week

To experience a higher education home page with a variety of the latest design features but very low mobile and desktop speed scores, visit the Bennington College home page.

Link of the Week Archive

Regular readers will notice that the Link of the Week selection now appear with my blog. To review initial 2016 selections and previous years visit the Link of the Week archive page.

2 Comments

    • Luke… thanks for sending this along. Just tested GVSU at Google and got 87/100 for Mobile Speed, 95/100 for Desk Top Speed and 99/100 for Mobile Friendliness. Maybe these vary from time to time but that’s still a remarkable result. That only makes 2 for me that broke 80 on the Mobile Speed rating. And Cal Lutheran did that even using the “video on the home page” fad.

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