Global companies with localized campaigns always need to be able to satisfy customers no matter what part of the world they are from. Perhaps the fastest and most effective way for a business to reach out to customers worldwide is through the Internet in which the frontline would be your website. Of course, if you want to get better online conversion rates internationally, recent user experience research shows that you need to focus on speed and performance.
There are several factors affecting a user’s experience in viewing a website. By far, one of the most important would be the website speed or how fast your site loads. According to a report by Amazon, a company could lose a billion dollars every year if their website is too slow. In the same report by Amazon, it was revealed that revenue increased by 1% for every 100 millisecond speed improvement that they made. And Amazon isn’t the only business to acknowledge this. Even Walmart reported that their revenues went up by 2% for every 1 second improvement they make on the website’s speed.
Why Some Websites Load Slower in Some Countries Compared to Others?
There are two factors behind that: network traffic and the website’s server. Since data will be going through the world network, it will take longer for data to travel from one country to another. For example, if your site’s webhost is physically located in Asia, it usually takes longer for European viewers to load it. The other factor would be the site’s server. If the server is not able to perform server requests in certain parts of the world, then the website will not load fast there. As a result affecting your site’s conversion rates.
A nifty tool that you can use to check your site’s loading time is Bitchacha. Bitchacha is different from other site speed checkers in a sense that it specifically checks the server response time of your website. What is the difference between a site’s loading speed and a site’s server response time? The loading speed would encompass all the factors that affect how fast a page loads (e.g. images, codes, etc.) Whereas the server response time only covers the speed at which the server responds to commands. In a sense, the server response time is one of the factors that would contribute to a website’s loading speed.
The thing about web hosting is that you don’t control it. With that, you won’t be able to do anything about the server response time. However, with Bitchacha, you may check out if your web host has a slow server response time or not.
(Screenshot from Bitcatcha)
As you can see in the screenshot, all you have to do is enter the URL of your website and Bitchacha checks your web host’s server response time. The best thing about this tool is that it can check the speed of your website through eight different countries which means that you can see how well your web host performs on an international scale.
Another great tool that can help you in monitoring website speed is Pingdom. Pingdom is another free page speed testing tool that monitors all the factors of your website’s speed. The great thing about Pingdom is that it also lists down the statistics and figures of the performance data on your website. With this, you can monitor the speed of your website and which parts slow it down.
(Screenshot from Pingdom)
You may also want to check out PageSpeed Insights which is Google’s tool that allows you to monitor your page’s speed. This tool is unique in a sense that it shows you the problems in performance in high, regular, and low priority problems as well as suggestions that can help address these problems.
(Screenshot from PageSpeed Insights)
Key Steps in Optimizing Your Site’s Speed
Now that you can monitor your site speed, here are a few tips on how to improve it.
- Moving Through Network Traffic: Going back to the factors as to why some sites load faster in some regions than others, first let’s look at the first factor which is network traffic. There isn’t much you can do about eliminating network traffic but you can make the journey easier. If you eliminate flash elements and optimize your page’s images, then you’ll not need to send that much information over the world network. This will speed up the process so that people around the globe can load your website much faster.
2. Compressing your Files: You may also compress your website files using Gzip so that the information can travel lighter and faster through the web.
3. Picking a Good Server: As for the second factor, which is the server, you have to be careful in choosing servers. Some web hosts can perform well in only a handful of countries. Pick the one that can perform in the countries that you want to target. If you want, you may also request for multiple servers around the world.
If you see that your website is really slow in a certain country, then you have to take action immediately to not compromise your visitors and potential customers user experience.
Ellie Martin has been in the marketing business (it was called differently then) since 1999. Her works have been featured on Yahoo! , Wisebread, AOL, among others. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and Israel.