How to Boost Revenue with a Web Accelerator

There is a familiar saying that “time is money,” and in the online realm of digital commerce it couldn’t be more true. That’s because there is a direct relationship between website performance and revenue. That is, the time it takes to load web pages has an immediate impact on a company’s turnover.

The world’s largest online companies have documented how slow website performance results in lost revenues. But this is an issue that affects businesses of all sizes with an online presence. Even highly optimized sites have room to improve. Here we explain how web performance affects the bottom line and offer tips for using web acceleration to speed up poorly performing websites.

Time Really is Money Online

Amazon has found that a one second slowdown in page loading time could cost the company $1.6 billion in sales per year. Google has discovered that they would lose 8 million searches every day by slowing search results by only four-tenths of a second, which would result in lower revenue from serving up far fewer ads.

But you don’t have to be Amazon or Google for poor website performance to be a critical business problem. If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales each year. Your website is vital to your bottom line and can’t become a barrier to delivering an excellent customer experience. Studies have revealed that 79% of customers who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from that site again, while 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.

What Causes Poor Website Performance?

Three primary factors affect website performance: network speed, website object count and backend infrastructure capacity. The first is perhaps the most obvious and something we’ve all undoubtedly experienced. When a user’s Internet connection is slow – whether it’s fixed line, WiFi or 4G – that will affect the time it takes for your web server to receive requests from the user’s browser and send data back.

The second factor is the object count of your website, which is the total number of pieces that make up your website, such as images, JavaScript files and CSS files. Depending on the size and complexity of your website, there can be multiple conversations back and forth between the user’s browser and your web server as pages resolve on the user’s device in a cascade. Each roundtrip adds the relay time in both directions as well as the time it takes your web server to responds to requests.

Finally, the capacity of the backend hardware and software that comprise your web server also influences page loading speed. Overworked, out-of-date equipment, or even new equipment connected to a slow Internet provider or under too high a load, can dramatically slow things down. Computationally-heavy requirements like SSL termination put ever greater load on your web servers.

How Do You Know if Your Site is Underperforming?

Apart from receiving customer complaints about slow page loads (if customers ever provide such feedback), it’s important to fully understand just how fast or slow your site loads. There are numerous tools for calculating your website resolution time. These are some of our favorites:

  • SSL Server Test: A thorough test of your web server to pick up SSL security problems. You should aim to get an A+ rating.
  • PageSpeed Insights: Google’s tool for checking the quality of your page speed optimizations. You should strive for a score of 85 or higher for both mobile and desktop.
  • Pingdom Speed Test: A nice waterfall view of where your website is taking the longest to load.
  • SEO Status: A reasonably thorough and free test of your website’s SEO readiness.
  • Test Your Site: Snapt’s own comprehensive website optimization suggestion tool that will help you with quick fixes and an understanding of your problems.

Improving Performance with a Web Accelerator

Now that you know how your website is performing, what can you do to speed up the resolution times? The smallest improvement can have dramatic results. Even if your website is already highly optimized, speeding up loading times from 3 seconds per page to 2 seconds per page can reduce the occurrence of users abandoning your site by up to 25%, for example.

A web accelerator, like Snapt’s ADC, automatically optimizes your website content, offloads common tasks from your web servers and mitigates the effects of poor network speed, increasing overall perceived performance.

Here are the top three things you can do with a web accelerator to improve your website performance:

  1. Reduce the size of the content. By minimizing JavaScript and stylesheets, removing whitespaces and unnecessary code from pages, and resizing images to be the right size for devices (i.e., smartphone, tablet or PC), we can drastically reduce the total download size of a page. This is especially important for users with slower Internet connections, but it also increases the ability for content delivery networks (CDNs) and proxies to cache the content (which also reduces roundtrip latency times).
  2. Reduce the number of requests in the waterfall. Webpage requests are typically made in sequential order and then delivered as a cascade, or “waterfall”. This is because a user must first request the webpage, which then replies with the next things to fetch on the site (e.g., images). On modern sites, they could reply with JavaScript, which a user then fetches, which then requires more JavaScript, which is fetched again, which then loads more images, and so on. You can have a 100-500ms delay on requesting each file and that adds up very quickly. We combine files and flatten imports, along with other sophisticated techniques, to dramatically cut these times.
  3. Reduce the load and load times of backend servers. Most of the wait times these days comes from how long it takes your web server to generate pages. We can store that data, cache all the images and other elements, to offload this process from the server as much as possible, allowing the server to focus on what it needs to do. Even if we can’t store the data – for example, if it can’t be cached because a user is logged in – we can offload the SSL termination from the server.

By using a web accelerator to ensure your website loads faster, your visitors will be more likely to stay engaged with your site, more likely to make return visits, and ultimately more likely to buy. You can achieve a 50% to 70% reduction in web requests and a two- to five-times decrease in the time it takes to load your site. And then, see how much your bottom line grows. Faster websites result in healthier revenues.

To see how our web accelerator could produce a return on investment in your business, try our ROI calculator.

If you want to see our web accelerator in action, try Snapt today for free!

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