So why do I need to think about the performance of my website, you might think. Well, maybe you don’t. If you’re making a niche website, which exports a large data set to XML, the user probably doesn’t mind if the transaction spans four or ten seconds. But chances are that you’re actually doing something where performance is an issue. Research shows that 75 percent of your visitors are less likely to return to your site if you present them with a slow experience.
Furthermore, Google announced in 2010 that site speed is now used in web search ranking (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html). This basically means the following: if the user googles some keyword and you and your competitor has exactly the same ranking, the fastest site is presented first. This can have a huge impact on your number of visitors. Of course, the example is very simplified. A lot of factors are in play when Google decides which result to show first, and website performance is only a small percentage of the complete picture. But you probably get the idea that performance is important for Google rankings as well.
Finally, the performance is important in order to avoid your site crashing when multiple users suddenly decide to visit your site at the same time. When looking at a single page load, you could think that three seconds’ load time is acceptable by all your users. But think about the scenario where multiple users request the same resource at the same time. Most of us are on cheap hosting servers, not scaled for thousands of simultaneous requests. The result is that your load times will increase. I will talk more on tools to performance test your site with hundreds or thousands of simulated users in a later post.
Well, this is pretty much the introduction to the subject. In the next post I will get more technical. See ya!