Well if you ask me it is a huge factor today, maybe even more so then in the past. While most people have a faster internet speed while at home or in the office, that is not where the majority of search comes from anymore. With the invention of smartphones and the added abilities of these devices. More and more people are using their phones or tablets for web search. Currently 46% of all search is done on a smartphone and this number climbs everyday. Now keep this in mind as well 70% of all mobile searches result in an action related to the search with in one hour.
So what does all of this mean to you and website speed? Most phones are running 3g or 4g however due to the specs of the phones they really do not use this bandwidth properly. Currently the biggest loss of users to most websites is the slow load times on mobile devices. The potential customer just get frustrated and moves on.
There are a number of things you can do to help with your load times. However, the biggest one I normally see causing the biggest issues are java script and images. You should try to combine your java script if possible. And your images you should always reduce the sizes of them to the smallest possible kb.
Here is the difference on this site between being optimized and not optimized.
First image here is with none of my images optimized, no gzip compression and not running minify.
This image below is after I did some of the basic optimizations. I still have not added my CDN or combined my images using CSS sprites.
If you look at the difference in the two it is really night and day. My load time went from 3.49 seconds down to 2.32 seconds. The biggest time saver here though is the size of my site. It went from 1.20MB all the way down to 494kb And my server requests dropped by ten.
This is just a basic website optimization and I can drop this all the way down to around .5 seconds and ten requests. However when I pull this up on my phone I am pretty happy with the load times I have been getting. And once the CDN kicks in my phone load times are usually around 1 second or so.
If you are wondering how your site performs here is where I run my tests at GTmetrix.
Also if you would just like someone to come in and optimize your website to improve website speed give us a call