We all know that clean design and easy navigation is essential for any small business that is driving customer awareness online or deploying an e-commerce site. But do you spend as much time on the other essentials like speed, performance and load times?
Time is Money
Here’s the reality: you can have the most user-friendly site on the planet, but if it is too slow you won’t be found by the biggest search engines. More than two years ago, Google sent the Web development world into a tailspin by announcing that site speed was now going to affect page rankings in their search results. What does that mean, really? It means that you need to care about how quickly your page returns all of its elements.
If being found in the search engines isn’t incentive enough to convince you that website performance can be a competitive advantage, how about these data points from our recent infographic about the cost of poor website performance:
- Over half of Americans shopped online in 2012
- By 2016, online retail will spending will increase by 62% and will account for 9% of total retail sales
- Nearly 10% of e-commerce dollars are spent using a mobile device
That’s good news for online retailers, right? Of course it is! But look at it another way: consumers will have more and more choices for e-commerce and they will go to the sites that are easiest to use and fastest to respond. According to a recent study for travel site users, 57% abandon a site after 3 seconds… will your homepage have loaded by then?
To avoid these issues, make sure you have eliminated excess weight from your pages to reduce the onload time, and use techniques like pre-loading to engage your customers as quickly as possible. Then, download the DéjàClick browser plug-in to measure your site’s response times so you can ensure you have a speedier online presence than your competition (yes, you can measure their performance too). DéjàClick lets you test and monitor your site simply by recording your interactions in the browser and playing that recording back to see all of the measurements behind those interactions.
Make sure your design works
You’ve spent a lot of time and money working with designers and developers to build the best site possible. Before you put it in front of the public, take some time to do some usability testing. DéjàClick includes a couple of powerful features that you can leverage during the design phase as well.
- DéjàNotes lets you use the same easy browser plug-in to annotate the pages as you record your interaction with them. You can place specific notes in areas that you want to change or as reminders to revisit a layout in the future. You can use it to add comments, instructions and detailed messages to DéjàClick scripts. The "notes" appear as an overlay on the screen, popping up at user-specified times during script replays. You can include simple text comments or more complex items like images, hyperlinks, and videos – a powerful combination of ways to communicate your ideas to the larger team so you can build the perfect site.
- Scriptsharing lets you take your annotated recording and share it with another DéjàClick user. Eliminate the need to explain what you were doing when you saw what you saw and when the thing you didn’t like happened. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of one of those explanations or, even worse, tried to write one up, you know that the end result is usually “Can you show me?” DéjàClick solves that by letting you package up the recording and the DéjàNotes attached to it, and share it with someone else. Now you have a real-life example that you can pass around the design and development team so there are no misunderstandings. Oh, and add to that all the great performance measurements the design team gets by running your script and now you’ve got all the tools you need to beat the competition.
So it’s clean and fast… now what?
DéjàClick by itself is a powerful tool for designing and testing your website’s in-browser capabilities using a simple Firefox plug-in (Chrome is in the works too!). But once you’ve deployed it, you need to make sure that it is helping you grow your business and achieve your revenue targets.
And, as we’ve discussed, a big part of meeting those objectives is based on website performance. By taking the scripts you built in DéjàClick and using them in your production environment as performance monitors in AlertSite, you can make sure that your pages perform the way you want… and if they don’t, AlertSite will send you a notification. Now you’ve really got the tools in your toolbox to build and maintain an online storefront that blows away the competition.