Written by Jessica Ann on March 29th, 2013
When you were little, you probably heard the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.
You know, the one where the rabbit and turtle raced and, not taking him seriously, the hare decided to take a nap before crossing the finish line. By the time he awoke, the turtle had already won, and it was too late to do anything about it.
The moral of the story goes something like this: slow and steady wins the race. While there might be a lot of validity to that lesson, it isn’t at all applicable when it comes to the speed of your website.
Companies struggling with website speed
In the race with your competitors’ websites, you want to be the rabbit – only instead of taking intermittent naps, you sprint straight through to the finish line.
A recent study found that the average load time for American retail sites is actually 22 percent slower than it was a year ago, and at the current pace, the problem is expected to get even worse before the end of the year.
This is a massive drop in performance. If this slowdown rate goes unchecked, we will see median load times of 9 seconds or more, which is simply unacceptable for online shoppers. As pages continue to grow bigger and more complex, small business owners need to take aggressive steps to mitigate this growth.
Online and mobile shoppers have little patience for slow websites. If this problem persists, it could mean poor customer satisfaction, fewer return visits and, potentially, lower revenue.
Avoid the problem with effective website management
How can you avoid suffering slow website syndrome? Take a lesson from the hare – never fall asleep during the race.
Okay, you were probably looking for something more tangible than that. Let’s take a look at some of the issues the aforementioned study uncovered and discuss what website management strategies you can employ to prevent them:
– Exercise the most effective core practices. For example, by using cloud-based services, your website will be able to handle growing website traffic more easily, as well as provide the necessary resources to speed up your site’s load time significantly.
– Don’t forget about “keepalives.” Keepalive signals are essentially messages that get sent every so often to make sure a link is running smoothly. Keepalives will help ensure that none of your company’s web pages are down, and will enable you to respond quickly if they are.
– Integrate with mobile platforms. Many companies are struggling to accommodate the growing number of mobile shoppers. Considering these consumers are even less patient, ensuring your site runs smoothly on smartphones and tablets will be extremely important.
“The Tortoise and the Hare” is a great fable, but its message isn’t applicable to every real-time circumstance. When it comes to your website, “fast and reliable” beats “slow and steady” every time.
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