Speed Matters. Google will drop your SEO Results if your web site is slow, and according to this article, whatever Google thinks and whether your Search Engine Optimization work is what drew customers and potential customers to your website or they got there by some other means, if your web site isn’t fast, people are leaving.
Once again, with gusto: Perception Is Reality.
We can make this about customer service, business, change, Search Engine Optimization, or pretty much anything else that impacts your business: what your customers perceive, “real” or not, becomes “reality”. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to craft your customers’ experience on your web site so that their reality is perceived as a good thing. And again, Speed Matters.
Today, this isn’t a conversation about milliseconds—although Google might disagree. In a purely computer-driven, math-is-everything-and-you-are-being-measured way, there will come a point where shaving a couple of milliseconds off the time it takes to load your web page will make a difference to Google—and so it will make a difference to you. No, this is all about real-world perception and reality; it’s about customer service.
Once upon a time, in the days when the phrase referred to computers and not social media, I was a networking consultant. This really was once-upon-a-time; it was back in the days of MS-DOS, before computers had graphical interfaces and before computers could multitask.
Back in the day, that meant that when you hit the “Print” key from your text-based word processor, your computer couldn’t do anything until your (slow) printer was done putting your words on paper. Coffee-break time. After time. After time.
A solution to the problem was invented. It was a small piece of software called PrintCache, by the now-defunct company LaserTools. PrintCache did something very simple: when you hit “Print”, it spooled your print job to your harddisk and returned control of your computer to you immediately. PrintCache let you keep working while your print job happened in the background. It was a huge productivity breakthrough.
When I told my clients, circa 1990, that they needed to spend $150 to put a copy of PrintCache on each computer they owned, the initial reaction was always “are you kidding?!?“. That reaction was easy to get past; I pulled out a study that LaserTools liked to cite to prove the worth of PrintCache: the average human’s attention span, when nothing is holding it, is approximately .3 seconds.
Now do you understand why your web site needs to load quickly?
There’s good news, though: even as we all become more and more stressed by more and more multitasking the phrase “the Internet is slow today” has become one that we hear everywhere. People are actually kept engaged by the process of waiting for a web site to load. So the .3 second rule? It doesn’t apply. But at some point—the article above claims it’s a second, but I believe the reality is somewhere in the two-to-three second range—visitors to your web site are going to click away if your load speed isn’t good enough.
Google, by the way, seems to believe the magic number for “fast site loading speed” is 1.5 seconds. And only about one website in five meets that threshold.:
Perception is Reality. Your customers want your web site to load quickly, and everything you put on your web site affects that, as does your choice of web host, the software you use to create your pages and run your site, the way you do Search Engine Optimization, and more.
Need help with any of this? Contact The Answer Guy.