Are load times costing you traffic?

by Martin Reed on 13 March 2007 in Snippets

It is so very easy in this broadband age we are currently enjoying to forget that not everyone has a fast connection. I have been playing around building websites since around 1999. At this time, a 56kbps connection was about the best a home user could expect – consequently those responsible for designing websites paid a lot of attention to load times.

Nowadays I would suggest that even the most professional web designers and developers rarely consider load times as an important factor. I would disagree and say it is still important to reduce load times as much as possible in order to make your site as accessible as possible.

Not everyone is on a broadband connection. Let’s take the connection speed stats from Just Chat for the past couple of days:

Visitor Connection Speeds

As we can see, a good 85% of users are indeed on a broadband connection, but a sizeable minority of about 13% are still on dialup. This is a sizeable minority and is proof that you should still be carrying out the simple task of optimising your web pages.

It is relatively easy to compress your images – often the most guilty components of a slow-loading website. There are plenty of free image compression tools online that can be used. To reduce your load times even further you should ensure that your website’s code is optimised. Reducing your reliance on tables and shifting your styling attributes to an external CSS file will really squeeze every extra millisecond of time from your load speeds.

By including minorities in your website plans, you are making your website accessible to the maximum possible audience. Reducing load time also comes with the added advantage of reduced bandwidth costs for you; a true win-win situation!

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abbigliamento October 27, 2007 at 5:51 pm

I still not build heavy websites because not everyone use brodband connections, i prefer websites built for 56K modem.

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 29, 2007 at 9:30 pm

abbigliamento – It is very easy to forget that there are still people out there on dial-up! You want to make your site accessible to as many people as possible, so ignoring these users puts you at an immediate disadvantage.

Eva White September 9, 2008 at 4:30 am

Oh my, I remember how painful it used to be to download any image rich page on dial-up. I think we used to spend hours getting one image. That’s one thing broadband has changed for the better :)

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 6, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Eva – Yup, I remember those slow load times, too. Amazing how they were so recent. Just remember though, some people are still on dial-up!

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