Online Course Sales Pages (Speed Experiment)

Online course sales page site speed experiement
Online course sales page site speed experiement

This is a guest post from Tom Libelt from Smart Brand Marketing, an agency that specializes in marketing and promoting online courses. In this post, Tom details a common problem with the sales pages of online courses specifically relating to their site speed AND what to do about it. Over to Tom….

The speed of your sales page is important.

I run a course marketing agency. Before we do any marketing or SEO for online courses, the first thing we do is move the sales page over to the client’s WordPress site. Part of it is due to control. I want each client to own their entire sales process. The other factor is speed. 

You can read more about it here.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that web page speed matters, but if not, here’s a short summary on why it’s so important:

  • It directly correlates with conversion rates;
  • It’s a factor in how Google ranks your page;
  • Improves user experience;
  • Google and Facebook both favor it with lower ad prices;
  • Decreases bounce rates.

How Speed Affects Conversions of Sales Pages

How Speed Affects Conversions of Sales Pages

Studies by other companies show similar results. 

  • Walmart

For every 1 second improvement in page load time, conversions increased by 2%;

  • Cook

Reducing loading time by 0.85 seconds raised conversion rates by 7%;

  • Mobify

Each 100 ms reduction in speed resulted in a 1.11% increase in conversions.

There are a few reasons for this. 

  1. If someone lands on your site and bounces, that conversion is lost. 
  2. When people search for services or products on Google, they often open a few tabs of the first few positions. If your site loads slower than the competition, it won’t be ranked among the first few and you will lose that sale.
  3. Many parts of the world still deal with slow connections. Even if you’re selling in the US, there are entire states that still don’t have proper broadband. AOL dial-up still has around 2.1 million users… in 2021.
  4. Many sales pages are built around a certain process. You might want to have the prospect watch a video and then scroll down the page to view the price. If your video hasn’t loaded on time, they will see the price first and might lose interest. 
  5. The browser they are using is also a factor. 

Here’s a study that compared a few browsers’ page load times.

Browsers' page load times comparison
  1. Poor reflection of your brand. Customers expect speed. It’s the one thing you can control.

When we don’t like what we see.

We leave.

The Online Course Platforms

I decided to run an experiment and see how the speed performance of sales pages hosted on the most popular platforms that host online courses. 

To create a fair test I’ve done the following:

  • Randomly chose 10 sites out of all of my clients;
  • Only tested sales pages;
  • Used the same speed tool;
  • Chose the same server – US West Coast;
  • Ensured that all pages have less than 5 MB of content.

The chosen platforms are some of the most popular ones and they’re where my clients usually host their courses. This means I’m fairly comfortable with them and know whether any have settings where it’s possible to tweak their performance. 

Here are the results:

Average sales page load times

As you can see, the WordPress sites outperform the other platforms. None of these have had any speed fixes done to them. 

When it comes to the elearning platforms, reducing the speed is virtually impossible since you do not have access to their hosting, code, or server.

WordPress sites are much more flexible. You are able to pick your hosting company, your own theme, plugins, and tweak the performance. 

My rule of thumb is that you want your sales page or any other main page on your site with a load speed of 1 second or less. 

Recommended Action Steps

  1. Run your sales page through 

You can also run benchmark tests via Page speed Insights or GTMetrix. All of these tools are free and allow you to run an unlimited number of reports. 

  1. Move the page to WordPress (if on a platform)

None of the teaching platforms are meant to host sales pages. They usually have a very limited web editor. This translates into a poor design. You are not able to control the sales environment. Prospects are able to see links for other courses and get distracted without spending time going over your sales copy. 

They are fairly ok at hosting courses. Although, if you look at my list of top course learning platforms, you’ll see that most can’t even do this properly. There are many instances of them going down or having problems with payment processors. This always happens at the most unfortunate times. Also, do not host your blog on any of these. That should be done on WordPress as well. 

My team usually recreates each sales page as the platforms do not have any way of downloading the html code. You can hire almost any freelance coder to help out with this. The task is not complicated. The result is what matters. 

  1. Have a professional optimize the speed

You can always DIY but when it comes to technical stuff like site speed, the results are going to be sub-par as you’re not an expert.

I strongly recommend that once your WordPress site is up and running, you have the team at WPSpeedFix optimize it for you.

  1. Monitor the uptime of your sales pages

The following is not specifically site speed related but it’s important anyway, as technology breaks and things go wrong. Sales pages are one of the most important parts of your funnel, so it’s worth tracking their uptime. has a free plan that will monitor uptime on 5 minute intervals and will alert you if something is wrong. Their paid plan checks on 1 minute intervals and is worth every penny, even if you only have a handful of sales each day.

Want more help with marketing your online course? Visit our website and apply for a free consultation to see how we can help you do better with your online course.

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