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Online Tutorial – Speed

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Speed of your web site — it is THE most important aspect of your site hands down. Why? Regardless of your sizzling ad copy, your stunning graphics and your world changing products, the surfer may never see it. If your site takes too long to load, the visitor will hit the BACK button and they are gone — for good. This is not fantasy, this is fact.

Zona Research (http://www.zonaresearch.com/) has estimated that slow web site downloads can be responsible for up to $4 billion dollars of e-Commerce lost revenue. Ouch.

Web Facts from Zona Research

  • 44.1 million people in the US shop online
  • 37.5 million people will become online shoppers in the next 12 months
  • Shoppers with slow 14.4kb modems represent a loss in e-Commerce sales of $73 million each month
  • $58 million a month in e-Commerce sales is lost each month due to Web page loading failures
  • $3 million is at risk monthly in the securities trading industry due to unacceptable download times
  • More than $2.8 million is at risk monthly in the online travel and tourism industry due to unacceptable download times.

Okay, those are stunning facts, to say the least. And here we are at the brink of the holiday shopping season and many sites out there will lose sales due to slow loading web sites.

So how long should your site take to load to avoid costly losses in revenue? According to Zona Research, 8 seconds! We aren’t talking about a full load here…just the time it takes for your site to have readable text appear on the screen. We highly suggest testing on a 28.8kps connection — since it is still the standard connection for web shoppers out there.

When it comes to determining “speed” on the web, we need to be in agreement how a site’s “speed” is measured. You may have heard others state your page should be 40k or less…meaning the file size of your html file and all the graphics which load should not exceed 40k. This may seem like a good measuring stick, but what if you host your site on GeoCities and I host mine with Exodus. Obviously, your free site at GeoCities is not placed on the same fast server that mine is at Exodus, which I pay a premium for. So, since all servers are not equal in speed on the Internet, having a “universal page size method” is unrealistic.

In this tutorial, we will use two actual websites to show how a poor design and layout can affect your sales. The site we will use is UMI Publications.

So, what can you do to increase the loading speed your site?

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