The best web administrators would likely say the time it takes for a web page to load correlates directly to the end-user experience. Too much latency means customers are leaving your site and potential revenue is lost.
Making matters worse, end-users have become increasingly impatient. Consider Amazon’s findings that every 100ms of latency costs them 1 percent in revenue. To put that time in perspective, it takes the average person 300ms – 400ms to blink. Two or three blinks of latency equals a potential revenue loss of nine percent to 12 percent. Identifying and resolving performance issues translates into real revenue.
There are plenty of tools capable of analyzing site performance and providing recommendations on how to reduce load times, such as Google’s Page Speed, Yahoo’s YSlow, and WebPageTest. These free tools are a good place to start when looking to bolster site performance. If in-house expertise or time is scarce, however, the Neustar Professional Services team will be glad to take the reins and help optimize your site’s performance.
Neustar Professional Services recently conducted a performance analysis for a cloud storage provider in markets across the globe. The good news for our customer was that the company was generally faster in most markets, when compared to direct competitors. But, there were some locations where the company placed second or third.
This type of intelligence is key to making smarter resource allocation decisions. Knowing where the bottlenecks occur enables our customers to better focus their efforts and resources. Spending time and money in markets where your company is already number one is superfluous. Test, identify, and then resolve. Do not guess and test, or worse, assume and not test.
Everyone is vying for that number one spot, and competitors are always looking for and finding ways to increase their speed. Performance testing is not a one and done process. Successful businesses should consider testing at least once a year—when launching a new site, when major changes are made to an existing site or when upgrading hardware serving the content. Newer, faster hardware does not imply a correct configuration or preclude a competitor from taking the number one spot in terms of performance. It comes down to this: the faster pages load, the longer customers stay on the site and the more likely they will convert from clicks to revenue.
What are the next steps after reducing page load times? Put the site under load. Ensure load times are not adversely affected by normal load situations as well as anticipated peak load levels. If there are systems that cannot hold up to the stress of user activity, then application optimization, configuration changes, and additional infrastructure changes may be needed to obtain the desired response times for the anticipated load. Remember, the competitor is only a click away. Users who are not satisfied with a site’s performance will go elsewhere.
Do not lose out to latency.
In an upcoming article we will look at how to get the most from load testing, some best practices and common mistakes to avoid.
Thanks for your attention and check back soon for the next installment!