250 milliseconds. That's the difference between a site that loads quickly enough to retain its audience and a site that loses visitors to faster pages. According to the volumes of Internet traffic information collected at Google, a 250 millisecond speed advantage between competing websites will cause web users to abandon the slowpoke site in favor of the just-barely-perceptibly-faster alternative.
In 2009, Forrester Research found that web shoppers expected page loads in the neighborhood of two seconds. Three seconds, and they'd abandon the purchase. Crazy as that number sounds, Microsoft Reasearch says it's outdated. Two seconds is fast, but it isn't fast enough.
As Chrome users know, Google's made faster web speeds a mission for the past few years. The company hopes to see the web grow and prosper, but there's also a cold hard business advantage to Chrome's speedy load times and the competition that's fostered in Firefox and Internet Explorer. As the New York Times reports, Google has a companywide speed budget that it balances new services against. When heavy web applications like Gmail slow things down too much, they re-focus on speed.
Where the average page load is six seconds worldwide and only 3.5 seconds in the US, Google says phones take an average of nine seconds to load a page.
There's money in speed. Faster search results encourage users to stick with Google. Faster page loads likely lead to more overall page loads, which means Google can display more ads. We have different standards for different forms of content, of course, and the device we're browsing on matters too. Where the average page load is six seconds worldwide and only 3.5 seconds in the US, Google says phones take an average of nine seconds to load a page.
That number's going to change. At some point, our impatience in front of the computer will carry over to smaller screens. The Times reports that Akamai, the data hosting company which also offers web optimization and speed services, will be helping mobile sites reduce load times through new software. Once LTE becomes the standard for wireless data, we can all look forward to abandoning videos and shopping carts online when they take more than two seconds to load.
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