Site Speed and Your Bottom Line: Is Your Page Fast Enough?
People are impatient creatures. No matter how good a restaurant is, they’ll go elsewhere at the first sign of a long wait.
The same thing happens to your website. You could post the meaning of life (or the world’s best chocolate chip cookie recipe) on your website, but that won’t deter a quarter of people from leaving after just four seconds of load time. Long story short, speed is crucial to keeping your bounce rate low. Mobile users tend to be slightly more patient, but not by much.
According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. That sort of impatience can crush your traffic and can drop your sales drastically. A few seconds make all the difference.
Take Mozilla for an example. After tinkering with their site, they cut loading time down to 2.2 seconds, which resulted in an additional 60 million Firefox downloads.
Amazon also feels the need for speed. They discovered that a 100 millisecond slowdown (just one-tenth of a second) cost them 1 percent in revenue. For a company that netted around $74 billion last year, that works out to around a $16 million decline in sales. Sounds like a good move to ax the slowdown.
And, according to a recent University of Massachusetts study, people start giving up on streaming video if it doesn’t start playing in two seconds — even for videos up to 30 minutes long. If you’re investing in video content or YouTube advertising, that can cripple your profits.
Tools to Help
Luckily, there are many things that you can do to your site to optimize it for breakneck speed. Some of them are pretty hands-on, but many others just require simple tweaks.
WebPageTest.org is a great tool for web developers, marketers and pretty much anyone else who needs fast, optimized web pages. It offers free speed diagnostic tests from multiple places across the globe, and troubleshoots multi-step transactions, video capture and content blocking along the way.
More recently, Google has stepped into the page speed diagnosis market by offering PageSpeed Insights, a developer tool that offers practical mobile and desktop advice for developers looking to rev up their site speed a few notches. It also offers great tips to help developers slash through tricky coding issues, UX problems and more.
There’s also YSlow, a Yahoo authored tool for testing page speed. Pages are given an overall standard grade (A through F) and are also graded on individual performance issues, such as media file sizes, HTTP header requests and whether or not files were compressed before being served to users.
Find more tips about optimizing site speed at KISSmetrics.
How have you optimized your site’s speed? Leave a comment below!
Photo courtesy of Sean McMenemy via Flickr Creative Commons