A large and self-described Web performance company (marketing jargon at its best) Gomez, is emphasizing reduced Web site load time in recent 2010 webinars and white papers. Gomez links page loading time with increased exits, decreased ROI and referrals. As a small business owner, this should be a primary concern of your e-commerce business.
The Gomez Peak Time Internet Usage Study conducted by Equation Research on 1500 consumers (February 2010) confirms the negative impact of poor performance:
An important objective to remember when creating or updating an e-commerce Web site is to make sure your pages load quickly. There are many ways to do this but one way is to limit the amount of content on each page (how many articles or graphics appear) and to optimize your images to be the smallest possible but at the best quality.
Why is load time important? A few reasons are listed in the table on the left. Taken from a February 2010 white paper from Gomez, the table shows why Web site users leave or don’t return to a site. Another reason is Google’s Caffeine algorithm. As of early 2010, Google Caffeine ranks sites based on new content created on a site’s load time. If you’re interested to see what your site’s load time is use Compuware. Compuware, a computer performance optimization company, publishes a free tool to decipher how fast your Web site loads. You can measure your Web site’s load performance by research from Gomez, Compuware and Google’s caffeine algorithm.
According to a 2008 study by Jupiter Research entitled, “Retail Web Site Performance: Consumer Reaction to a Poor Online Shopping Experience” 47 percent of consumers expect page load times of 2 seconds or less. If you’re Web site takes more than five seconds (ten seconds and you’re in big trouble) then it’s time to optimize your Web site.
Reduce image load time
If you’re a small business and have thousands of images already on your site you’re probably thinking there’s no way to optimize your Web site. While it will take some man hours, employ a current employer, a younger niece/nephew or even your 21 year old son/daughter to resize the photos. The most recent versions of Photoshop offer a batch-resize option where you can resize images within a folder on your desktop [ see Photoshop CS4 batch resize options here; instructions for image batch-resizing for PS3 ].
Reduce overral page load time
Using third party applications on a Web site increases load time too. If you’re site has a third party RSS feed from your Facebook Fan Page or includes a third-party RSS feed, these softwares can hurt your load time if these third parties have developing problems. For example, Facebook often is slow or * gasp * goes down sometimes. When these problems occur on a third party site, it increases your load time exponentially. Save yourself the trouble and refrane from using third party applications. Like I said above, not using third party applications can only help you.
Leave a comment with better tips on how to resize images in bundles below.