Do Chatbots Slow Down Your Site?

Your thinking of adding a chatbot to your site or you might have one already on your site and then it hits you: “Do chatbots slow down your site?” you ask yourself. In this post, we will be getting down to the issue and find out if they actually do slow down your site and if so, how you can solve the problem.

Do Chatbots Slow Down Your Site?

Do Chatbots slow down your site?

The short answer to “Do chatbots slow down my site?” is, YESthey usually do. It doesn’t matter if they are external or coded by you, and running in your own server, they usually do slow down your site some amount.

How Chatbots Slow Down Your Site

The main reason and how chatbots slow down your site is because they are external services. This means the server needs to send a request to the chatbot’s server and then receive the code for the chatbot and finally execute it. All this might take few milliseconds to seconds depending on how fast your server is, where your server is located and how long it takes for the chatbots server to answer and where its server is located.

Thankfully most chatbots don’t need to do several different requests after the initial load back to their own server, though this heavily depends on how it is coded and how the chatbot itself works.

Case Study – Effects of Chatbots on Site Speed

Test site plugins

In our test, we created a local copy of WordPress and tested its speed in Google Lighthouse with and without the chatbot. For theme we had the default Twenty Twenty-One to minimize the effects of theme on the performance and to ensure we have nothing extra on that might affect the results.

Test site without chatbot

First, we ran the test without the chatbot on the site to get default scores for our performance, accessibility, best practices, and SEO from the Lighthouse.

PerformanceAccessibilityBest PracticesSEO
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Test site with chatbot

In the second test, we have the same exact site and same setup but now we have activated our chatbot plugin. No other changes were made to the site to ensure they don’t intervene with the site speed.

PerformanceAccessibilityBest PracticesSEO
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If we compare the two results the biggest change has happened in SEO (-9 points) though performance has also got a small hit (-1 point). The hit would in most cases be much bigger if we had a site with a lot of content, images, and code to load, but since we have almost an empty site we can see more clearly the effect of the chatbot on the sites performance and speed.

For humans the site’s speed change is almost impossible to notice, so all in all we would still recommend using a chatbot even if it raises your site’s loading time by 0.5 seconds.

Are There Any Chatbots That Are Fast?

If you are wondering if there are any chatbots that are fast, we would recommend checking out Landbot. When testing Landbot (note the bot used in our case study was different), we had no issues with speed or anything similar so we can almost guarantee it has almost no effect on your site’s speed.

Do Chatbots Impact Core Web Vitals?

SaasBuddy Core Web Vitals

There are three Core Web Vitals most people should be focusing on. These include loading, interactivity, and visual stability. These three can be broken down into the following metrics:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of 0.1. or less.

If you want to ensure your site is fast-loading even with a chatbot on your site you should focus on these three metrics.

How To Implement a Chatbot Without Compromising on Speed

The best way to implement a chatbot is usually through an official plugin or by implementing their script directly to the site.  This way you can be sure it works perfectly and you minimize the effect it might have on your site’s speed.

If you can change the way the chatbots JavaScript is loaded we heavily recommend setting it as asynchronous meaning it will be loaded when it applies the least amount of block time to the user’s browser. This means faster load times and a better user experience.

A great way to test your site’s speed is with Google PageSpeed Insight -tool.

Final Thoughts – Are Chatbots Worth The Drop-in Speed?

Are chatbots worth the drop-in speed you ask? Absolutely! If you don’t have a chatbot on your eCommerce, business site, or any other kind of site we heavily recommend you getting one. Even though they might affect your site’s overall speed a small speed loss that can be considered to be milliseconds is no reason to not use a chatbot that could potentially increase your conversions greatly.

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