When Bad Websites Happen to Good People When Bad Websites Happen to Good People When Bad Websites Happen to Good People
Tip 1 Tip 2 Tip 3 Tip 4 Tip 5 Tip 6 Tip 7 Tip 8 Tip 9 Tip 10

Tip 8: Slow is the Enemy of the People.

Slow is the Enemy of the People

If there is one thing people can agree on it's this: no one likes waiting around for a website to load.

So, listen up big honking graphics... we're outta here.

Bye-bye Flash that takes forever to load.

And, you, the gratuitous use of excessive widgets, good riddance!

Pokey, slow-loading sites are responsible for poor user experiences, abandoned shopping carts, unread web pages and can even lead to web rage. Worst of all, they ultimately ensure that your potential customer is headed off to your competitors' sites. Research by Forrester Consulting, on behalf of Akamai, found that two seconds is the new threshold in terms of an average online shopper’s expectation for a web page to load.

Beware!

Our enemy Slow is tricky; it manifests itself in a multitude of insidious ways:

Slow-loading images

A common cause of slow-loading graphics is that they are at a too-high resolution meant for print, not web. Be sure to define image heights and widths – don't let the browser do the work of calculating the size of your images. As well, compress all graphics to keep file sizes as low as possible, while still keeping a beautiful look and feel.

Waiting for video to download

If you have an embedded video avoid making your visitors wait for the video to download by using Flash video, which allows the user to start playing the video before the video file has fully downloaded. If there happens to be network congestion, the visitor can then decide to download the video. Of course, always compress your video.

Bad coding & bulky CSS

Code bloat – makes us a little queasy just saying it. And it's just as nasty as it sounds. It slows down search engines, can cause havoc with servers and can result in nightmarish maintenance. Tips? Use CSS for tableless design and move JavaScript off the page. You'll find more suggestions in Tip 6.

Server/hosting issues that slow down websites

While AAAACheapHosting may have sounded like a real steal, invest in a decent web host and ensure a speedy server response time.

Troubleshooting Tools

To shed light on site speed issues, some handy free tools you might want to check out include Firebug and its add-on YSlow, which help debug and monitor code as well as optimize for speed. Google's Page Speed, another Firefox/Firebug add-on, offers more helpful troubleshooting suggestions.

Patience may be a virtue, but online impatience drives our purchasing decisions.

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2 Responses to “Tip 8: Slow is the Enemy of the People.”

  1. 1

    Absolutely spot on! Site speed is really important, not only for user experience but as well for the search engines. It’s already a factor in determining Google Adwords quality score but Site Speed is soon going to play a role with organic rankings.

    http://searchengineland.com/site-speed-googles-next-ranking-factor-29793

  2. 2

    Here’s a good compendium of “18 Website Speed and Performance Checking Tools” – worth checking out:

    http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/website-speed-and-performance-check-tools/

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