You’ve probably got 5 seconds at most

All over the world, internet speeds are getting faster. You may laugh if you live in a rural location, but it’s probably safe to say that most of your customers take higher than average speeds for granted. Remember, though, that to an end user, internet speed is not about data transfer rate: it’s about how quickly information appears, or how long it takes to get a response. You can have the fastest broadband connection in the world, but a website built in 2005 on a now-unsupported content management system could still make the user’s experience slow.

And therein lies the problem. Users’ expectations are increasing. Most sites are quick to respond. There seems to be evidence that the load time before prospective visitors give up – and hit the back arrow – is reducing. You’ve probably got 5 seconds at most for many of them, and you’ll usually never know what you’ve missed, because their unrealised visit probably won’t show in your analytics stats.

If you have a feeling that your site is loading slowly, it probably is. There are plenty of ways of checking things. You can get amazing statistics from Pingdom, GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights. Test out your pages and if the response is more than a few seconds, get it sorted out. It may be your website host. It may be the content management system. It may be the coding. But all these can be changed, possibly more easily than you think.

After all, if your phone system rang 10 times for the caller before it started ringing in your office, you’d buy a new one.

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