How Slow Websites Can Hurt Your Business

How Slow Websites Can Hurt Your Business

Every second it takes your website to load increases the chance visitors will abandon your site. Not only is there a direct relationship between slow loading and visitor abandonment, there is a correlation between short load times and sales. Ensuring your servers load quickly can help increase your conversion rate, decrease visitor abandonment, and improve search engine statistics.

Visitor Abandonment and Customer Conversion Rates

Different studies claim different abandonment rates, but generally speaking, around a quarter of visitors will leave after four seconds. By the time you hit ten seconds, 40% or more will have abandoned a slow-loading site. Any traffic decreases will reduce potential customers while simultaneously increasing bounce rate and visitors’ impatience.

Studies have show that even a one-second delay can reduce page views by 11%, customer satisfaction by 16%, and sales by 7%. This study is several years old, so, if anything, customers will be expecting faster load times as internet speed increases.

Server Load Times and SEO

As of April 2010, Google began taking server load times into account when calculating search rankings. Over the years they have continually reafirmed that website speed matters. By monitoring website loading time from Google Chrome and Google Toolbar, the search engine realized that when Google ranked slow websites well, people began using Google less.

While less than 1% of searches are affected by load time, Google recommends keeping a website faster than 95% of other servers. Google has been intentionally vague around the specific rank penalties on slow sites, but there are a number of companies that have independently studied load time and managed to improve their search rankings by tweaking their server speed.

With such a high priority on website performance, it is important to have a quick web host for both Google and your end user expectations. See the statistics on web host speed at this website. Make sure you continually benchmark speed, and develop for website performance and not just astetics.

Website Speed Testing

A correlation between ranking and time-to-first-byte has been identified as the primary factor that affects search ranking. Testing server speed is the first step to improving load time. The first go-to speed-testing tool is the Google Page Speed Insights in Webmaster Tools. The tool will analyze a given domain and offer both mobile and desktop speed analyses with recommendations on how to remedy problems.

Testing server speed is the first step to improving load time. There are a number of sites online where you can run a web site speed test. However, a thorough internal examination is the best way to improve server speed and ensure your site keeps pace with your customers and Google.

Why Poor Website Performance is Unacceptable

A visitor will want website pages to load immediately and without errors. If errors occur or the pages load slowly, a visitor will respond unfavorably and may leave the site. In fact, if you work in a competitive industry, you will not succeed when your site performs poorly. Here are four reasons why this is the case.

Safety: After landing on a site, your visitors will grow anxious and fearful if pages render poorly or throw up errors. In fact, if you look at recent high-profile data breaches, it’s easy to understand why you need to keep your site in order. Otherwise, when errors occur, SSL certificates may not work and your visitors will grow weary as it’s not easy trusting a site with broken code. Remember, your followers have options, and you don’t want to give them a reason to distrust your site.

Conversion rates drop: As soon as a person lands on your site, you need to attempt to convert them into a paying customer. The longer they are on your site without spending money, the bigger battle you will face in turning them into a customer. Think about it, when the pages fail to load quickly, your visitor will reconsider. To avoid this, you need to provide a seamless experience and ensure your pages load quickly. In order to make sure that your pages load quickly, you may want use a tool that allows you to test website speed a different intervals so you know if your site is running fast or slow. Some services like these may be subscription services and cost money, and other times they may be free to run a single test.

Outdated computers and other devices: While it’s easy to use the Internet with a blazing fast connection, plenty of your visitors are not so lucky. In fact, with tablets, smartphones and other devices, a user will not always experience the fastest network speeds. Not only that, when online, people often use outdated browsers and slow connections. To keep everyone satisfied, you need to offer a fast website for all your visitors.

Come to rely on you: Finally, if you run a site, you will want your clients to return often. To do this, check out your site and ensure the code doesn’t contain errors. At the same time, keep your website fast and you will watch as your clients return frequently.

It’s not easy to run a successful and well-liked website. However, if your pages load quickly and don’t throw up errors, you will help your cause and gain followers from around the Web.

Further Reading: How Slow Websites Can Hurt Your Business

Do You Know What’s in Your SLA?

What is an SLA?

An SLA (service-level agreement) is a document that outlines the level of service a consumer expects from a given supplier, describing the details by which the service is measured, and the penalties or remedies available should the predetermined levels not be fulfilled. Generally, SLAs exist between external suppliers and companies, but could also exist between two different departments in a company as well.

SLAs are a crucial element of any merchant contract. In addition to listing the expectations of quality and service type, an SLA offers solutions when requirements are not fulfilled.

For example, a company’s SLA may guarantee to deliver a network availability of 99.99% (which can still be too long in some cases), and let the customer decrease their payment based on a set percentage if it falls short, typically on a sliding scale relative to the extent of the breach.

Why You Need an SLA

In short, an SLA pulls all the information together regarding the previously agreed-upon expectations in terms of reliability and contracted services into one document. It clearly outlines the expectations, responsibilities, and metrics so that if any issues with the service should arise, neither party can claim they were uninformed of the terms. It basically ensures that both parties have the exact understanding of said requirements.

Any important contract that fails to incorporate a related SLA is open to inadvertent or deliberate misconceptions. The SLA is put in place to protect both sides of the agreement.

Provider of the SLA

The majority of service providers offer a standard SLA, sometimes even several that reflect different levels of service at various prices along with providing an agreeable starting point to negotiate. Ideally, these should be assessed and revised by the consumer’s legal counsel, given that they are usually tipped in the favor of the service provider.

When the consumer sends out an RFP (request for proposal), they should include the levels of expected service as part of their request. This will influence the suppliers’ pricing and offerings and could even affect the service provider’s decision to respond. For instance, if you expect 99.99% availability for your system, and the provider fails to meet those requirements according to the particular design, it could suggest a different, more forceful solution is in order. In the end, it is up to you (the consumer) to hold your service provider responsible to honor the terms of the SLA.

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