The critical importance of performance in generating traffic to your site is something that you learn very early in your online education. But as your site grows and things become more complicated its true value can often become clouded. So easily are you seduced by more fun and interesting considerations such as functionality, usability, aesthetics, and interface design.
But here’s one simple reason why you can never EVER forget why site performance is so important.
In the last few weeks we’ve upgraded our our blogs and moved our forum to the latest version of vBulletin. Very quickly our sys admin became concerned with the growing pressure on our servers. I’m no expert, but even I could see the dramatic shift in some of the utilization graphs I was shown…
The tipping point was Wednesday and we raised the priority of some longer term plans as well as implemented a quick upgrade to our server hardware (a couple of shiny new AMD Opteron Dual Core CPU’s.)
The effect was instantaneous and dramatic. Our response times were better than before the upgrades…
Result: The next day, bang, a 33% increase in our forum traffic!
So you can search engine optimize to your heart’s content, run A/B split testing, run advertising campaigns, made sure your design is accessible and usable, but it your servers can’t deal with the traffic, you’re slamming the door in visitors faces. And with so much choice these days, they’re not going to wait in the cold outside – they’re off to visit your competitors.