Key Performance Principles of Top Web Businesses

What is meant by ‘performance’ and why should business managers care about it? 

Web or mobile performance is the technical capability of a web-based element — a web page, a mobile web page, or a dedicated application — to be fully available for critical business transactions and to load at speeds that meet a customer’s expectations consistently, during peak periods, at all times of the day and across all geographies.

Sites that don’t perform well — are slow to load, have periods of unavailability or have inconsistent performance – can negatively impact customers’ experience, their satisfaction and the likelihood that they will continue to spend time on the site or make a purchase.

Compuware conducted a study of the impact of performance on conversions, tallying over three million page views for 33 retailers. The study revealed that if a page loads in eight seconds, but can be improved to load in two seconds, the conversion rate increases by 74 percent.

Why is it so hard to deliver a top technical performance?

A significant challenge is that user performance expectations continue to increase while, simultaneously, web sites and mobile applications are becoming more complex.

A survey by Equation Research found that mobile users’ expectations continue to rise.  Participants were asked how quickly they expect a web site accessed on a mobile phone to load compared to the load time on their desktop or laptop PC. The percentage who answered “almost as fast/just as fast /or faster” rose from 58 percent to 71 percent in just that two-year period.

The next significant challenge is the growing complexity of today’s web sites. Not only are the sites becoming more complex, but the path from the host server to what the users see in their browsers is itself becoming more complicated.

Today’s web audiences expect rich graphics, audio and video components, easy checkout functions, complex games or multiple-step applications. While people visit different sites for different reasons, most companies within each industry are competing and differentiating by offering more features. All of these added features can slow down response times.

Key Principles of Top Web Businesses 

Based on more than a decade of helping companies meet the performance expectations of Web and mobile customers, we’ve found that in the best performing Web businesses operate, business and IT have a mutual understanding of performance metrics. We’ve identified five overriding principles these companies follow. Beyond a simple to-do list, they provide you with a template for creating culture of performance excellence. The five principles include:

  • Work with IT to understand the impact of performance on customers;
  • Understand the impact site design and marketing promotions have on performance;
  • Benchmark to ensure customer expectations are met;
  • Establish shared goals, metrics and actions;
  • Aim for continuous improvement.

To learn more, read the white paper “Web and Mobile Site Performance Primer for Business Managers