How many times has this happened to you? You see an interesting link or find a useful search engine result, only to click the link and the site either fails to load or takes so long that you leave?
Site speed & reliability
It happens a lot, primarily because so many site owners put their sites on cheap hosting services. Others have a relatively reliable host, but pack their sites with so many plugins, that every time a page is accessed, it places a heavy load on their server and slows things down to a snail’s pace.
In either case, a site that loads too slowly or is unreliable, can really hurt your Internet marketing efforts.
First Rule of Internet Marketing Jam: Be there!
It is variously said that you have around 5 seconds, some say less, to deliver a page when a new visitor arrives at your site, before they click off. So, it stands to reason that it will take you a LOT longer to build a subscriber base or make volume sales from your site, if you are needlessly losing people because they click off before your site loads.
If someone clicks off your site because it failed to load or because it was so slow that they assumed it was down, as far as they are concerned, you didn’t show up.
Site speed is an even bigger issue these days, as Google now penalizes slow sites and uses site speed in their search rankings. Why did Google do this? Because Google realised that a typical attribute of spammy, scammy sites, was that they were placed on super-cheap hosting and often slow to load. They also saw that serious site owners and businesses, tended to invest in more reliable hosting. So, their thinking, rightly or wrongly, was that by penalizing slow sites, they were more likely to stop the spammers and scammers from appearing in search results.
NB: Read this from Google – Using site speed in search ranking.
If you are serious about Internet marketing, you need to be equally serious about the quality of hosting you use. Yes, it may look like a great deal, to use a $5 a month host, but if it’s losing you a fortune in sales or stopping you from reaching as many people as you should be, it’s not that great an offer. Now, if all you can afford is $5 a month, you need to find the least worst $5 a month host. Good luck with that. However, if you are a serious entrepreneur or business owner, and you can afford better hosting, get it.
I often hear people say they will invest in reliable hosting, once their site becomes “successful.” That’s a little like standing in front of an empty fireplace demanding heat from it, saying you will go and chop some wood and build a fire afterwards, if you get the heat first! Just as you and I click off sites that fail to load in time, so do our readers. We need to remember that, when deciding the importance of site load speed and reliable hosting.
Plugins come in many different flavours:
- Some plugins are essential.
- Some plugins can actually speed up your site. Here’s a useful list for WordPress users.
- Some plugins are clever, but neither essential or useful.
You can increase your site’s speed significantly, by culling your non essential plugins and keeping only the most useful. I spoke with the owner of an accountancy blog last year, who had 40 active plugins on his site. Simply by cutting it back to the 8 plugins he actually needed, his load speed improved by 350%.
From a user-experience you need your site to load reliably and quickly. To get the best from your SEO, Google is telling you that your site needs to load quickly. I’m also suggesting you give site speed and reliability the attention it deserves.
Photo: Max Wolfe