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The Load Speed Experience

March 9th, 2010 | | Nuts & Bolts of Optimization, Usability

One … of … the … most ne… glected … parts … of … eff…ect…ive S… E… O… is… load… time…

Sorry about that. Believe it or not there was a time where people would patiently wait as a website would load all its text, frames (frames?), and images. If there was video, they would click and wait in anticipation for this information that did not exist on their hard drive to come onto their screen.

I remember a commercial about the first residential offered broadband packages featuring a man who was use to clicking and then proceed to do chores. He would going to walk the dog, take out the trash or make a pot of tea. It was normal. When he upgraded, he clicked again and made the motion to leave and do a chore – but the site loaded to his surprise and a big smile crossed his face and he settled into the world of world wide webbery.

The Smile.

What is interesting to me about this story is that the man was used to the dial-up experience, but one he tasted the sweet speed of broadband his experience level changed. My brother-in-law switched to broadband before I did and when he’d come over and hear my U.S. Robotics Modem go “SHHH-EEE-ANNG-OR-ANNG”
he would twist his head in a puzzled expression and say “wait… what’s that strange sound?” Needless to say, once you go broadband, dial-up becomes excruciating. More speed means faster time surfing which in turn sets a webmaster to provide a satisfying user experience.

The Stuffer.

With this broader bandwidth, people found that they didn’t have to squish their graphics into tiny sized files in only a few colors. This actually began a downward spiral of sloppy un-economic web design. Too put it simply, if you are getting out of debt by being on a budget, you don’t throw the budget out when you get a raise. The increase in bandwidth isn’t a license to design your site with bulky graphics.

The Slowdown.

Chunking your website with graphics and gobs of javascript isn’t excusable because most people are on broadband. In fact, 40% are still on dial-up and the purchasing power of part of that demographic is might be very strong.

The Solution.

Your website should be sleek in load time. Imagine everyone being really impatient. Imagine everyone being paranoid about viruses being loaded in addition to a website. Add all those up and you have a strong reason to ditch your complex website for something that is pleasing to look at and easy to navigate while loading in milliseconds. Keep it simple.

The SEO result.

Slower Loading sites are most likely noticed by Search Engines. For instance, Google Webmaster Tools even calculated the load time of your site. If those numbers are gathered, they have to be doing something with them. If your user experience is resulting in high bounce rates, that will most likely be taken into consideration. You may have great on-page optimization, but if the load time is greater than 1000 milliseconds, you could be doing compromising a lot of your SEO efforts.  Test your site and see how fast your load times are for others.

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