Why Websites Are Slow & Why Speed Really Matters

Published by Mashable 6th April 2011

What a difference a millisecond can make. When it comes to browsing the web, every tiny moment counts — and the fewer moments that pass between a mouse click and a fully loaded page, the better.

Speed is a bit of an obsession for most web users. We fret over our Internet connections’ and mobile connections’ perceived slowness, and we go bananas for a faster web browser.

Given this better-faster mentality, the consequences for slow-loading pages can be dire for site owners; most users are willing to navigate away after waiting just three seconds, for example. And quite a few of these dissatisfied users will tell others about the experience.

What’s more, our entire perception of how fast or slow a page loads is a bit skewed. While we’re waiting for a site to materialize in a browser tab, pages seem to load about 15% slower than they actually do load. The perception gap increases to 35% once we’re away from a computer.

But for the precious milliseconds site owners can shave off page load times, they can see huge returns. For example, Amazon.com increased its revenue by 1% for every 100 milliseconds of load time improvement. And Aol said its users in the top 10% of site speed viewed around 50% more pages than visitors in the bottom 10%.

Site optimization firm Strangeloop has provided us with a slew of graphically organized stats on just how long pages take to load, why they take as long as they do, and just how long the average Joe or Jane is willing to wait around for your site.

Check out the infographic below.

And site owners, if you’re worried about speed, do a quick pulse-check with Google’s free and easy page speed tool, Page Speed Online.

Strangeloop's Site Speed Infographic

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Gomez Announces New, Free Instant Website Test

Reveals How Websites Perform from the Customers’ Perspective

Understanding how websites perform for users around the world is now as simple as typing in a URL, thanks to the new, free Instant Test Site from Gomez, Inc., a leading provider of web application experience management services. Testing website performance from outside a business’ firewall — from its customers’ perspective — is a more accurate way of identifying issues like slow page loads and outages so that businesses can ensure their web applications keep running, their revenues keep flowing, and their customers have quality web experiences.

The new Gomez service lets anyone instantly test the response time of their website or web application from up to ten international testing nodes without having to download or install any software or create any scripts. Simply visit www.gomez.com/testyoursite, enter the URL to be tested, select a node and within seconds the site returns a comprehensive performance report revealing the load speed of each object on the page. This granular detail helps businesses establish a performance baseline and prioritize troubleshooting by rapidly identifying the root cause of issues such as missing images, erroneous third party content, or ISP bottlenecks. The service can be used to conduct multiple tests of the same URL to compare results over time or from different locations around the world.

In addition to running free, on-demand performance tests, the site provides a video tutorial featuring tips for interpreting results, remedying issues and improving overall web performance. It is also a springboard to a micro site of educational materials about web performance measurement best practices and case studies.

“In today’s economy, it’s important to protect every dollar of online revenue, and a customer’s first impressions of your website can be the difference between a sale or a fail,” said Eric Schurr, SVP of marketing at Gomez. “Taking the Gomez Instant Test is a free and easy way to understand if technical issues are impeding the performance of your website and impacting your customers’ experiences.”