Your site is getting traffic, but conversion rates are horrible. Everything seems to be working, so what’s wrong? Your site may simply be to slow.
Load Times – Are You Driving A Ferrari or Moped?
Give some thought to sites you have visited of past few weeks. Were you willing to wait 20 seconds for a site to load or did you hit back button? Why would visitors to your site behave any differently? They won’t.
Webmasters, designers and site owners universally access web through high-speed connections. Because of this, it is easy to forget roughly 45% of surfers use dial-up connections. While your site may appear to load quickly on your high-speed connection, have you tried loading it on a 56k connection? The results can be shocking.
Sites that appear to load quickly on a high-speed connection can take forever on 56k. It is not unheard of to find a “fast site” actually takes 30, 50 or 80 seconds to load on a 56k. Sometimes, load time is so slow browser will actually “time out” and fail to show anything. If your site has this problem, 45% of hits are worthless. Worse, those frustrated surfers are unlikely to try to access your site in future even if you fix speed problems.
How fast should a page load on a 56k connection? As fast as possible, but no slower then 25 seconds. If you can get 56k load times below 10 seconds, you can turn a negative into a competitive advantage. Surfers come back to fast sites.
Determining Load Times
The best way to determine load time for your site is to actually use a 56k connection. While this solution isn’t particularly technical, it will let you see exactly what your prospects are seeing when they visit site. You will be able to see what loads quickly and what appears slowly. This should let you isolate particular elements in need of optimizing.