School is out, it’s July Fourth weekend. Yes folks, summer is finally here! It’s a time when many of us “rush” to go out and have some fun and relax. But before we are ready to hit the backyard, the beach or the road, most of us get busy on the web, planning our summer activities and acquiring all the gear we need. In fact, a survey by Razorfish stated that over 92 per cent of consumers do online research when making product selections. We look for research, reviews, retailer locations, price comparisons and more. Some websites deliver what we are looking for – and fast – while others are just plain slow. And we know how frustrating that can be.
And this frustration with slow loading web pages has a direct impact on ecommerce revenues. For example, Shopzilla found that reducing their website page load time (or, speeding up their web performance) from seven seconds to two seconds drove an increase in sales of over 10 per cent. At a recent technology conference experts from Google stated that a world-class website should in your browser in about two seconds. But many websites are so slow they feel like you are watching the grass grow. So we decided this week to test the speed of a bunch of popular sites you might be visiting for your summer activities and fun.
Speaking of watching the grass grow, the popular lawn company Scotts had the slowest website in our test. Loading at 10.89 it’s downright painful and does not represent their “Miracle Grow” brand. They have a great website with tips on lawn care, however maybe it’s just too slow to visit more than one or two pages.
Each site we looked at was assigned a score (aka Yottaa Score) which measures several aspects of web page load speed, as experienced by the website visitor. This score factors in how fast the site displays the page title, the time it takes for core content to appear and the time it takes for the page to be fully usable (“time to interact”.) This score ranges from 0 to 100. A higher score means a better page load user experience. Looking at the chart we can clearly see that sites vary greatly in their web performance. Congratulations to Tommy Bahama, ” purveyor of island lifestyles and maker of luxury lifestyle clothing and accessories”, whose site loads in under two seconds and was the fastest in our benchmark. The Tommy Bahama website loads in 1.94 seconds.
The second fastest website was Target. Their website loads in 2.29 seconds. We were not surprised to see other famous name retailers and clothing brands in the top 20 per cent of websites for great performance. They include Sperry-Topsider, Lowes, REI, and Cabelas, and they all had Yottaa scores of 75 or better. Websites with just average performance included Six Flags, West Marine and Coppertone. But if you are surfing for ice cream, gardening supplies or tackle, you should know that summertime websites like Burpee, Baskin Robbins and Outdoorlife.com had below average web speeds.
If all websites were faster we could spend less time waiting for sites to load and more time enjoying the sun, sand and surf.