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Y is Your Website Running So Slow(ly)?

By John McTigueApr 4, 2011

Remember Yahoo? Yeah, it's still out there despite getting crushed in recent years by the likes of industry heavyweights Google and Facebook. Still, of particular interest to me is an interesting Yahoo Developer Network tool called YSlow. YSlow is a Firefox add-on that helps you evaluate your website performance. I'm not talking about your lead conversion rates, I'm talking about raw speed. How fast does your website display when someone visits? Why is this important?

We talk a lot about business performance - how well does your website attract visitors and capture them as leads - but speed is important too. As we used to say in the 60's and 70's, speed (or lack thereof) kills. A slow loading website is an annoyance to today's Web-savvy visitors and may cause them to bounce without seeing your all-important content and calls-to-action. Did you know that website performance also affects your SEO? As Google announced last year "...like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that's why we've decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings." Your slow website may very well be penalizing you in Google search rankings.

YSlow analysis of googleWe're recommending that you and/or your inbound marketing agency should install YSlow and start paying close attention to its metrics and recommendations. As you can see in the image to the right, even Google has some work to do, coming up with a "D" grade on YSlow.

To improve your YSlow score, you will need to adjust or remove certain well-known speed killers, such as multiple slow-loading images and "flashy" elements that add little value. You will need an experienced Web developer to attack the more subtle, insidious problems, such as multiple css stylesheets, multiple javascripts, excessive http calls and much  more. It may be that you have no control over those elements if you are using a CMS or Wordpress, but you can at least bring these problems to the attention of your Website host or CMS and lobby for improvements.

Why is this important from a business or marketing point of view?

  • Your website may be a distraction rather than an attraction
  • Your competitors may have better performing websites and may be luring qualified sales leads away from you
  • In this day and age, fractions of a second count when it comes to gaining new web visitors and retaining them as loyal followers
  • If you are attempting to develop a universal web presence that works equally well across mobile platforms as well as desktops, the fewer performance issues, the better.

If you run YSlow on our website, you will see that we have some important issues to address as well. We're working on those issues right now.

What are you doing to optimize your website's performance?

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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