The Need For Speed!

Business Men Running 100 MeterLast week we noticed something alarming about our websites. They had become incredibly slow. I don’t mean taking a few seconds to load. I mean 15-20 seconds and sometimes more than that. This is the kind of slow where even I don’t want to go to my site. I learned two things from this. I learned:

  1. People will still go to the site (miraculously!)
  2. You definitely take a hit on your traffic

During the time that the site had been slowed to a crawl, we received a 12.5% hit to our web traffic. A large part of that was due to people bailing out while the site was loading. That is a tremendous hit for a site.

The big question I had while we were struggling with our sites’ speed problems was: Would the hit we were taking in traffic due to the site slow down cause long term effects for a site? For ours, the answer seems to be no. We’ve bounced back (after 3-4 days of work with our web host) and we’re back to our previous numbers. I can think of some sites that might take a more long term hit though. For instance, if the site’s potential visitors gave up and went to a competitor’s site and signed up for their service or bought their product instead. That’s not something you want to happen. So, you need to monitor your site frequently to make sure it’s up and running speedily. If your site is crucial to your business, you might even want to look into a monitoring service.

Right now, I’m looking into a couple of services. The first would be an inexpensive way to monitor the uptime of the sites that would notify me of any issues. The second is a global CDN to ensure better speeds globally. Ideally, a service that handled both for free (for small sites) or inexpensively for larger ones would be the holy grail. When I find something that works well for us, I’ll report back here.

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