Speaking at Content Marketing World in Cleveland this week, Sally Hogshead who is a speaker and writer caught the attention of a more than Scott as a flurry of tweets citing this quote made its way on Twitter.
I’ve head estimates that are even less then that, but regardless, if you have 9 seconds to make an impression, you had better not use it up just trying to get the web site to display
Of course, there are many factors in play when trying to capture the attention of that elusive visitor and keep his or her eyeballs on your site for longer than that 9 seconds Hogshead referenced.
There is the inextricably linked combination of load time and design. But does the design capture the attention of the user, that combination of colors, look and feel, and of course the content: headlines, copy, pictures and navigation.
And the content itself can have a huge impact on load time. Are you using Flash? Do you have a lot of other media loading on the page? What’s going on in the background as the site opens?
There’s a lot to it, but if you are given just 9 seconds to get all that right, you better be sure your web site is performing optimally. Design isn’t typically the problem of IT, nor should it be, but you have to work with the design staff because if it’s something on their end holding up the load time, you have to work with them to find the most efficient way to display your pages.
Good designers are no doubt aware of the implications of their design decisions and its impact on load time and they take that into account when designing a site, but everyone has to make trade-offs and decisions and it’s not always crystal clear how those decisions could affect overall website performance.
That’s why it’s so important to test designs under a variety of scenarios. As we pointed out earlier this week on the post, Amazon Testing New Web Site Design, testing is an essential part of any website launch:
So you have to test and retest. You have to see how it works on multiple devices and platforms and browsers. You have to see how it performs when you get traffic like ‘Black Friday’ sale traffic and you have to see how it scales up and down.
So keep this benchmark in mind, whether its 9 seconds or even less, you have a limited time to make an impression, and you need to make sure that you give your website every chance to succeed by providing the best performance you can. The rest is out of your hands.