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Firms Risk Online Success with Focus on Features Not Speed

Article date: Tue, 09 Apr 2013 12:28 GMT

Lawrence Jones, CEOFirms that do not meet their shoppers' high expectations of superfast and functional sites risk losing their online fortunes to sites that do. Steve Gibson, of web development firm Gibxon Strategy said: "Online shoppers want a rich environment with images and a full user experience. Our challenge is to keep the experience as rich as possible but still quick. "15% of users say that they will abandon a website if it doesn't load within three seconds. User testing has shown that younger audiences will wait even less time." Brad Bagherian, head of e-commerce at fashion brand Aftershock London agreed, highlighting that huge brands are setting a precedent for other small to keep up with. He said: "Our customers want glossy-imagery and editorial looks when they visit a site - you must ensure that your HTML, CSS and Java Script are perfect. "It's about click response rate; it shouldn't take more than a second. If it does they may just go to Amazon where it is easier if I can't serve my page fast enough. It's all about customer satisfaction." Lawrence Jones, CEO of hosting and colocation specialist UKFast said: "Consumers want content-rich experiences online and if they want to enjoy them in high definition then you need capacity. With high volumes of users there will be bottlenecks in every area of delivery, which is why companies have to make sure that their content is optimised. "The most significant factors about web speed that you can control include image size, CSS and code. Improved speed, improves conversion which improves sales, so paying to ensure that these are optimised for a responsive website is more than worth it." Bagherian continued: "Looking at brands like Virgin and Google, we see that they are spending a lot of money on their broadband connections and the trend is the faster, the better. That's the future." The panel, gathered at a round table debate to discuss web speed, offered their top tips to improve web speed and site conversion:
  • Look at your HTML, is it clean? Where is your CSS positioned? Ensuring that the code beneath your website is spot on has a huge impact on the speed of your site.
  • Choose a hosting solution that can handle spikes in traffic at peak times, during marketing campaigns or Christmas for example.
  • Ensure that your image sizes are correct and are web optimised - larger images take longer to load and slow down the time it takes for each page to load.

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