A colleague once told me that his goal was to build solutions that were so easy to explain to customers that his sales force could utter a short magic pitch and have the customer so entirely engaged that all they would have to say at the end was, “C’mon, you know you want it…” and they would have no choice but to agree. Since hearing that, it has been my Holy Grail to find products, solutions and bundles to address customer problems that evoke that type of enthusiastic response. For me, in 2012, when I think of what is most important to online business I think I’ve found my Holy Grail: “Improve your website speed. C’mon, you know you want it…”
Speed equals multiple improvements, from conversion to revenue to retention of your online business. And there is an increasing amount of information from top analysts that proves speed is incredibly valuable. If your site is faster than your competition, then you make more money and keep more customers. The slower that your site performs the higher likelihood is that your customers are not coming back and will be looking for options, which unfortunately are most likely with your competition. Go to www.totalsiteperformance.com to check out how you are performing against your competition.
If CIOs and CTOs can make their customers’ online experiences faster than that of their competition, they stand the best chance of achieving important KPIs in their business. Fortunately for today’s technology leadership, there is a lot they can do when it comes to improving website performance.
On the road to improving performance and hitting those load time KPIs, most businesses begin with data center technology and web hosting environments. Transit providers, ISPs and data centers provide an excellent foothold for getting your environments onto large global delivery platforms that provide a reliable mesh of pipes by which information transits. When you put your content in the data center, you have a limited degree of web performance beyond hosting those servers over your commercial DSL in your corporate HQ. While this data center technology is fundamental today, it is vital to the website acceleration journey. While some investments stop here on the journey of website acceleration, additional technologies have become available that further capitalize on fiber pipes and improve how content moves around the Internet.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) were deployed through the 90s and the resulting improved performance convinced the market that “delivering objects from geographically closer locations to where people were requesting them would logically improve web page load times.” Putting objects on the edge and having software intelligently determine distribution locations makes sense when delivering objects to users who are all over the globe. CDNs are designed to take advantage of the intricate connections that pre-existing fiber technology and these solutions nicely stack on top of to give websites improved reach and performance. Great data centers plus CDNs will substantially improve website load times, but there is more you can do.
On the journey to making your website perform as fast as possible, you have likely invested in the best online design, hired the best developers, use strong data centers and a use a global CDN — and you’re seeing some solid results. Today, you can go a step further and invest in changes to the actual HTML. Front End Optimization (FEO) solutions allow you to automagically rewrite the HTML on the fly to improve website performance and address the payloads that are being delivered.
If you take a website and layer-on technologies, you drastically see results improve:
An important aspect about website speed is understanding how this moves your online business forward; continually measuring how your site is performing is equally as important. Using tools like www.totalsiteperformance.com & http://webpagetest.org will show how your websites stack up and provide some guidance in where to invest in the steps listed above.
Level 3 helps organizations improve the performance of their website today. These efforts involve helping them diagnose their website and apply improvements listed above. We have accumulated average results for a number of major companies using our own monitoring tools, as well as other 3rd-party tools and services available on the internet for the diagnoses and improvements that were done. These average results are influenced by a number of factors, including the methodologies and technologies use by the websites, as well as the delivery and performance of these websites across varying end-user networks and web browsers.
When sites are faster, cart sizes increase and conversions improve. Many other KPIs paramount to most tech leadership today get healthier as well. And while the investment in data centers, CDNs and HTML transformation can take time and require experience and investigations, the results to the bottom line can be fantastic. “Improved website speed. “C’mon, you know you want it…”