(Slow) Site Speed Kills – Focus Friday



Today’s topic is slow site speed kills. Over the next several months you will be hearing more about site performance optimization from Exclusive Concepts. We’re excited to look at how site speed can help you to increase conversion rate, decrease bounce rate, and provide a better customer experience for the folks that visit your website.

For today’s quick case study, we’re going to look at four performance mistakes Shopzilla.com made, in hopes that you can avoid them. In 2009, Shopzilla had a blazing fast website. They were able to reengineer the entire operation and took their average page load time from 6 seconds down to just 1.2 seconds. Based on this incredible site speed they were able to experience 7 to 12% increase in conversion rate and 25% increase in their pages.

Fast forward to 2010 and we see a different story. In just 12 short months they are able to reverse that trend and add 5+ seconds to that blazing fast speed. Customer feedback and sentiment had plummeted and visitors left comments like “I will not come back to the site again” and “this sucks.”

So what happened? You can view the 11 min. video produced by Tim Morrow of shopzilla.com by following the link below. It’s worth the time that you invest!

Here’s a quick summary of the key mistakes:

  1. There wasn’t a mechanism for front end measurement. In order to optimize the site need to continually test and monitor your performance.
  2. Feature development – every new feature you add can potentially slow your site as additional code needs to be loaded. To quote Tim, “the added complexity and constant change tense unravel performance.”
  3. Poorly implemented third-party content – it’s tough to get away from ads and widgets, but they need to be designed in such a way that they don’t eat up your valuable bandwidth or prioritized so they’re not the first page elements to load.
  4. Waiting too long to tackle performance problems – it’s easier and cheaper to deal with problems early on!

So what are we to learn from this? Having a site is built for speed can have a huge impact on the customer’s perception of your brand, their likelihood to stay in your pages longer, and most importantly their buying decision. The sooner they can find what they want on a quick site, the less likely they are to head toward your competitors!