Optimize to Four Seconds or Lose Visitors
It looks like four seconds is considered the average cut-off mark now for getting something readable on the screen of your visitors, before they stop waiting and move on, so optimizing your site is ever more important, even with the adoption of broadband around the world, you still need to make sure your site can be downloaded, and rendered in under that four second window, or who knows how many potential visitors your blog is loosing out on.
Akamai and JupiterResearch recently ran a study dealing with e-commerce sites to find this four second conclusion, but that does not mean that the statistic isn’t also useful to us blog operators.
Based on the feedback of 1,058 online shoppers that were surveyed during the first half of 2006, JupiterResearch offers the following analysis:
- The consequences for an online retailer whose site underperforms include diminished goodwill, negative brand perception, and, most important, significant loss in overall sales.
- Online shopper loyalty is contingent upon quick page loading, especially for high-spending shoppers and those with greater tenure.
Like I mentioned, this translates over to bloggers as well, as we continue to add widgets, flash objects, multimedia, and call objects from other sites, like stats scripts and flickr photo streams. We have to realize that adding too much to our site takes away from the user experience. If I am on your blog, and it takes too long to load, I won’t care how great your content is.
And don’t think because you have the fastest DSL, Cable or Fibre to the home connection on the block that everyone has those kind of connection speeds.
Some quick tips include:
Optimize your images and image sizes. Lowering the quality of your images by ten, twenty, or even thirty percent can greatly reduce loading times, without really making a noticeable change of appearance.
Never use a Bitmap (BMP) on your site. (I know this seems like common sense to some, but I have seen it more than once.) Learn about JPG’s, GIF’s, and PNG’s.
Limit the amount of items you load from remote servers and services. If your site is to display the latest YouTube videos, I can’t help you, but do you really need your Flickr photo stream on every page? In WordPress a simple is_home() conditional statement will make it only appear on your index page.
First impressions count, so what are you doing to better your users experience?