'How fast is enough?'
Is faster better? Sure. We know customers stay longer and engage more with content when web pages are fast. But that’s not very specific, and not very helpful.
With ecommerce, we can run studies that measure ‘better’ a little more directly, by measuring revenue outcomes for different website page speeds. In these cases, we are more specifically measuring the value of not losing sales to customer balking.
However, this is a good proxy for what’ better’ means, even on non-transactional websites, since user experience matters in both scenarios.
Google wants to help us.
Google provides a pretty great estimator for valuing page speed in mobile commerce. The link can be found in this article.
I’ve plugged in an example we’ll use for demonstration’s sake. The business inputs are not as important here as the “seconds” input, and how the calculator responds.
We can tick that ‘seconds’ counter dial down at the bottom left, and watch the improvement to the big green revenue improvement number:
All efforts are not equally valuable.
I went ahead and clicked through the range and plotted out how the estimate changes under different site speeds; see the graph here.
It’s not that surprising that Google predicts a revenue improvement as page load speed drops from 2 seconds to 1 second. What’s is interesting about Google’s calculator, is that that improvement continues, and accelerates, as page speed drops from 1 second down to 0.6 seconds!
Google is effectively saying that the effort to go from 1.0 seconds down to 0.6 seconds, is even more valuable than the effort to go from 2.0 seconds down to 1.0 second.
What's old is new again.
That is a blazing fast response page load speed, and a 10%+ increase to revenue is nothing to scoff at. So, how do we get there?
There is a new kind of approach to web technology that has been coming along that can get us there. It ditches the dynamic paradigms used by platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and other popular CMS systems. All of these have a rather complicated process of building a web page each time a visitor arrives. It still makes sense for some website activities, but is overkill for others.
The new approach is to have all of the web pages built ahead of time; and in some cases, even let the visitor download all of them on the first page load, so there is no delay whatsoever in navigating around the site.
Why didn’t we use this approach before? Well, to some extent we did. But the supporting browser technology wasn’t quite there, meaning we couldn’t have rich, interactive, user-tailored experiences without heavier workloads put on the server. But over the last few years…it has gotten there.
This overall philosophy is called the ‘JAMstack’, and it’s pretty exciting.
If you want to to accelerate your customers' experience, let’s talk.