According to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting, after 2 seconds site visitors start to get frustrated, and will consider abandoning a page. Older studies are more generous, with visitors giving a site from 10 to 15 seconds to open before moving on. The bottom line, the longer it takes your website to open, the more likely a visitor will not stay to view the content. The result for your website – lost traffic and revenue.
Is there anything worse than a slow loading page?
Absolutely! Worse than a slow website is a website that simply is not there when a visitor tries to access it! If this is a first time visit, unless the visitor has a personal connection or specific interest in your site content, he will NOT come back. Visitors will accept top brand websites who are occasionally MIA, but if you are the newcomer on the block, this is an absolute no-no. Anytime your website is not where it is supposed to be, a visitor views this as if you just put a giant “Closed” sign on your front door. If you were running a storefront business, this would be okay but in the internet world, customers expect your business to be open 24 hours a day, with no exceptions. Or even worse, if there is no indication for the reason for it’s absence (such scheduled maintenance), your sign says “Out of Business.”
How often is there a “Closed for Business” sign on your website?
Many web hosting companies promote guaranteed uptime rates, such as “95% uptime” or “99% uptime” which actually sounds like they are pretty fantastic rates. If you using the mindset of a traditional business owner, they are. In the storefront world, it is an accepted standard for a business to be closed one day a week. This is the equivalent of being open 312 days a year, or about 85% of the time. But an internet business works on a 24 hour a day availability schedule where 85% downtime equals 1314 lost hours in which your customers have ZERO access to the information on your website.
To convert that back to our “real world” comparison – that would be like losing 130 complete ten hour days due to road construction preventing access to your store. When a hosting company promotes guaranteed 95% uptime, what this really means is that your site is closed for business 438 hours a year.
In the traditional storefront business world, that represents less than taking 19 holidays a year. However, digital business availability is counted in seconds and 95% downtime is equivalent to 1,576,800 of them! When we take into consideration the fact that the majority of visitors will abandon a site if it takes more than 10 seconds to open, that’s a potential for an awful lot of lost traffic and revenue! Think 99% uptime is better? Your site would only be closed for 87 hours and 36 minutes. In the storefront world, that’s not even 4 days a year. But in our internet world, where every second counts, it’s like you have the closed sign on your store 315,360 times a year!
Shoot for higher than 99% uptime
99.9 % – closed for 8 hours, 45 minutes and 36 seconds a year
99.99 % – closed for 52 minutes and 33.6 seconds a year
99.999 % – closed for 5 minutes and 15.36 seconds a year
99.9999 % – closed for 31.68 seconds a year
Needless to say, it is imperative that you monitor the uptime (and downtime) of your website!