Successful Ecommerce in Four Seconds (or less)

Jupiter Research and Akamai have published a free report that reminds retailers that a fast-loading Web site still matters.

Says the Tekrati article, “Four seconds is the maximum length of time an average online shopper will wait for a Web page to load before potentially abandoning a retail site.”

A slow-loading site is second only to high prices in turning away potential shoppers.

A fast-loading Web site is as much a part of a company’s brand as the products it sells.

This issue is even more of an issue for companies that support Web sites in countries that don’t have widespread broadband penetration. Should a company use the same bandwidth-hungry Web site in Brazil, with less than 10% broadband penetration, that it uses within the US?

This is a question every company must ask as it goes global.

A company’s Web localization strategy must take into account the Internet connection speed of the target users. And it also must take into account that Google is successful in many markets outside the US, which means that users around the world have come to expect lightweight, fast-loading Web sites.

For the 2006 Web Globalization Report Card, we “weighed” the home pages of 300 global Web sites. While this does not take into account whether or not that company relies on a partner like Akamai to accelerate Web content delivery, it does shed light on which companies have done the most on their end to keep their Web sites fast-loading. So here are the top 10:

1 Google (www.google.com)
2 Kijiji (www.kijiji.com)
3 Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue (www.jonesday.com)
4 PayPal www.paypal.com)
5 Wyeth (www.wyeth.com)
6 Manpower (www.manpower.com)
7 AT&T (www.att.com0
8 ST Microelectronics (www.st.com)
9 John Deere (www.deere.com)
10 National (www.national.com)

Google came in at just 13 kilobytes. Most Web sites average around 175 kilobytes. A few of the sites we measured, we won’t name names, came in at more than a megabyte each.

So if you want to provide a fast-loading Web site, keep it under 150 kilobytes to keep it ahead of the pack. These top 10 Web sites all came in under 100 kilobytes.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.