It's all about the speed!
Facebook recently reported an issue with loading new news items. It was taking over 6 seconds, by their reckoning they have lost you at 8 seconds.
I have been in the business of making an impression for all of my career. With all that is said about shortening attention spans and such some things don't change so much. There's a fascinating read here about first impressions on Wikipedia that suggests you have a tenth of a second to work with. We're talking websites though, not love at first sight. So the word on the street, backed up by research. Time have done an item on it. With a web page you have in principle 15 seconds to get your readers attention, that includes the time it take to load. As Facebook have observed longer than 8 seconds and you've lost them.
So someone has clicked on a link to your website, you have possibly just been billed for that 'click through'. The user gets to your webpage which takes a not unreasonable time to load. When it does it doesn't really get their interest. The 15 seconds past ages ago. So there is a wasted click through. There are a lot of tools out there that will let you analyse a users behaviour. There's also reams of research you could read before going to sleep. But let us keep it simple first. Just how long does your page take to load?
First of all it could be down to the users local connection. Not a lot you can do about that though improving the performance of a page will help. You could use Googles' Pagespeed to analyse your webpage. This is very handy though you are unlikely to get 100/100 unless your page has black default text on a white background. It does however provide some excellent insights into your webpage construction. This is a bit techie though you could always point your website developer to it, they'll be pleased.
There's a lot you can do to improve your web page performance. One of the biggest things is the hosting. A lot of people, not surprisingly, use low cost even free hosting. It seems like a good deal and probably is if your business doesn't depend on your website. The low cost is achieved by putting a lot of websites onto one server, computer. This is the equivalent of opening all the applications on your laptop at the same time then wandering why it's running a bit slow, even crashing possibly.
Our server is a dedicated server (VPS). This means the only websites on it are those managed by Cavespider. The server is never loaded beyond 60% of it's capacity. This means that the speed is always excellent and the processors are never overloaded. If we have a website we anticipate having high traffic levels, which could slow down other websites on the same machine, we either implement our unique user management system vAC by Netprecept. This ensures we can manage the users on the server so that no one website is effected by anothers' traffic. That or we put the website on it's own server. What ever the solution ensuring the websites we host always load as quickly as we can arrange and don't impact on the performance of other websites.
This website is on that server, so judge for your self.
Cavespider, working at full speed
- Written by Crispin Jones