The technological changes the world has undergone in the past half-century are staggering. Developed as a military tool, the Internet struggled to send information to a mere two to four nodes. Today, the it can send information to just about anywhere in the world, nearly instantaneously.
Fifteen years ago, it was a normal and expected occurrence to sit and wait for a website to load. Now that high speed connections are available to almost everyone, the loading of web page isn’t usually noticed. Except, however, if the website doesn’t load quickly enough. A site that loads instantly is no longer a privilege; it’s an expectation. If your site doesn’t load in a timeframe acceptable to your customers, they’ll abandon your site for the competition. For retailers or service providers, that translates not only to lost revenue, but a lost business opportunity, and potentially could cause the loss of a repeat customer.
Load time is the visualization of something known as latency. Latency is the delay between a server being told to send information and the actual transfer and eventual receiving of that information. Regardless of how well your server is set up, or how close it is to the person accessing it, there will always be some degree of latency. Latency is usually handled in fractions of a second. Anywhere between 10 and 500 milliseconds is an expected latency. According to the Harvard Database of Useful Biological Numbers, the human eye usually takes 100 to 400 milliseconds to blink. That’s the level of speed at which latency is handled. You could literally blink and miss it.
Benefits of Reducing Latency
Why does reducing latency matter? These times may seem so fast that a slight increase or decrease wouldn’t matter much. Studies have shown, however, that it does matter in a major way. A full second of delay in a site’s load time can cause a 7% loss in conversion. Amazon experienced a 1% drop in sales from a mere 100-millisecond increase for web page loading. A single tenth of a second lost one of the world’s largest retail giants a full percentage of their sales. Latency matters, even if it is measured in milliseconds.
Online retail is a crowded industry, and therefore competitive and bloodthirsty. If you are not capable of presenting your web page to a customer in a time frame they deem reasonable, you will lose that customer. Alternatively, if your page loads quicker than your competitors’, you’ll likely experience a boost in sales and potentially convert their customers. A fast-loading website fulfills consumers’ expectations. Online shopping is booming with consumers because it is fast, easy, and offers a wide array of choices with a single keystroke. A website that loads quickly is one of the cornerstones of convenient online shopping. On days in which more customers are actively browsing as many sites as possible, these gains and losses are boosted dramatically. Customers search more actively on Cyber Monday, for example, scouring the web for the best deals. You’re more likely to win the sale if your site loads quickly, especially if your competitors’ website is slow and difficult to navigate. With high numbers of customers shopping for deals on Cyber Monday, you can expect thousands of potential sales purely based on your web page’s load time.
How to Reduce Latency
Reducing latency can be a challenging goal, and is affected by a great many variables. First, and most obviously, is the speed of the users connection. Second is the distance between the host and the user. Then, the routing of the connection between the host and the user. Finally, there are innumerable server settings and infrastructure issues that you can change to control latency. At the end of the day, you can’t change users’ connection speeds or their routing. You can only make as many hosts available in as many locations as possible, while actively maintaining with the appropriate settings for reducing latency. Optimizing caching and scripting configurations helps decrease latency, as does sufficient processing power and memory to handle connections.
For e-businesses, the issue of latency can mean the difference between success and failure. With e-commerce peaking during shopping holidays such as Cyber Monday, it’s important that your website has bandwidth to meet the increased traffic demands and avoid major latency issues. CDNetworks has a variety of products to enhance your website features, meet the expectations of your customers, and improve your bottom line. Visit our website to learn more.