Why Slow Loading Sites Mean Death for Marketers

We’ve all seen them – the website that just seems to take forever to load. It just crawls along and seems to never quite get to the point because it’s got lots of graphics and or lots of flash animation. These things may seem cool to you and it may even be awesome to allow people to see the full color pictures of your perfect pizza pie in all 10MB and 20 megapixels of its glory. However, the fact is that for most of us, this is a waste of effort and in fact will get customers to leave. Here’s what you need to know:

The 5 Second Rule

Check out the average time on site for most sites and you will notice an alarming statistic. In most cases, the average time on site for a significant portion of your potential customers is around 5 seconds or less. If you do a really good job on building your website, it may be that you’ll only have around 35% of your customers doing that. If you do a bad job, it could be as high as 95%. You can find out about this through your Google analytics information.

People may come to your site after finding you in a Google search for any number of different possible keywords. They will then take no more than 5 seconds to decide whether or not your site is one that they want to spend time on. If it takes those 5 seconds for your site to begin to load, guess what? You just lost around half of your customers (at least).

Even When They Come from e-Mail, You Need to Be Concerned

Now you might think to yourself that if you are sending out e-mails (this is after all the List Guy blog) that this is not so much of a problem. However, you’d be wrong. A good e-mail pitch is mostly designed to get people to the site. You might gain an extra second or two if people are really excited by what they read on the e-mail but not much more than that. Most people will have their curiosity piqued around the same amount as if they were to find you via a Google search and will spend around the same amount of time deciding on whether or not you are worth looking at.

Speaking of Google…

While this blog is not really about SEO, a word about SEO is still warranted here. Google’s employees do not manually review websites. They don’t have the time to do it. Instead, they send out a special program called a search spider which follows links all over the web and indexes the sites that it finds. The spider is a busy little program though. If it finds a site which doesn’t load correctly or loads too slowly, it will simply move on to the next one and mark your site as one which is currently problematic.

Bottom line, forget the cutesy graphics and super high res images. Instead, just get to the point.

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