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Does web page size affect traffic?

I was watching a video of Marissa Mayer from Google. There is a lot of good stuff in there but I wanted to cover this one part.

Google does a lot of A/B testing. They asked users if more results per page would be better and they said yes. Google went and did some testing to see if this was true. They found out that traffic went down by 20%. It was not because people were finding what they wanted it was because of web page load time. Remember here we are talking Google who return results in 0.16 seconds. She said returning 30 results only doubled the time so worst case it was still less than one second load time. She did not say when this test was done so it could have been when there were more people on dial up. Even if it was Google still loads very fast on dial up even 5 years ago. She then talked about Google Maps and how when it launched it was 120k in size. They reduced the size by 30% and they got 30% more maps requests. People want content fast.

Just about every site I have had to do an SEO evaluation for is over 500k and I have seen several that were 1mb. People need to understand that websites are not a TV commercial or a magazine spread. On TV and magazines you get the information instantly. You do the same thing on a website and people will be just sitting there for a bit. If a site takes longer than a few seconds to load people will hit the back button.

I have seen websites with 100k just in text from javscript, css, and html. Then there are the images. This is where things get out of hand. I had one client that had put huge .bmp files on the front page. This is an extreme and I have only seen once. The point is scale down your images and remove some altogether. Only use css that you are going to use on that page. Don’t load the css code for every page on your site for every page load.

People also need to calm down on the javascript. Very few people know how to code javascript very well so most webpages just have a script they downloaded and they have no idea what it does. Also stay away from the rapid deployment asp.net stuff. A hello world page can be 100k or more. That stuff is designed for intranet web apps. It should never be used on an active public website.

If you really care about people spending time on your website make it fast. People want information and accomplish goals they don’t want a bunch of pretty pictures and fancy navigation. Your goal is not to impress your boss or friends it is to keep people on your website. The biggest mistake that people make is they show their website already loaded to a friend or boss and ask them what they think. That is an invalid test. First off the person is only looking at it like they do a TV commercial or magazine. That is not how they will look at it if they found the site by themselves. There is a big difference. Most people are in a big hurry very few people spend a ton of time on the Internet. Granted there is always an audience that does want all the bells and whistles and is willing to wait for the load time but they are in the minority.

{ 33 comments… add one }

  • WebHosting February 24, 2009, 1:31 am

    Hi there !
    Nice vision of things. SEO it`s in a continuous change and re definition. For a web-designer , or web-developer it`s vital nowdays to know the basics and principles of SEO . Best Regards , Albert !

  • hyip March 8, 2009, 3:38 pm

    Speed matter but when a site offers quality, I’ll be far more patient.

  • Promotif March 9, 2009, 9:39 pm

    People are so impatient when it comes to internet content and rightfully so. I find myself to be among them if I’m surfing. If I’m looking for something particular I will wait for the load time.

  • Malta March 24, 2009, 9:04 am

    Page load time is very important, I tried a new template on my blog and although it was nicer, was loading much slower and noticed a drop in traffic too. Even when browsing myself, if something does not load instantly I just look elsewhere for the info :P

  • Freeiphoneblogs April 8, 2009, 5:18 am

    There is a good practice to make any web page with loading time less than 4 seconds, so traffic also depends on web page loading time. Still many internet users are having low speed connections.

  • Fat Cow Hosting April 14, 2009, 12:53 am

    People need to understand that websites are not TV commercials where information is instant but at the same time it is important that due importance is given to the fact that webpages load quickly so as to ensure visitor retention.

  • Nash Bridges DVD April 15, 2009, 11:11 pm

    SEO is a different subject, it’s not related to TV. Usually Internet is becoming popular in different areas. There are fore we must care about the content. Think about DVD market. Their are a lot things.

  • poker sites May 2, 2009, 6:00 am

    Sometimes web site size may effect to traffic. Because all don’t have high speed internet connections.

  • Instant Activation Hosting May 4, 2009, 3:01 am

    Great traffic to seo, and also seo is generate traffic and use to highly to alexa and pr

  • Instant Activation Hosting May 4, 2009, 3:14 am

    I would add a fourth “main area” to focus on for performance; you database.Optimized application code and streamlined websites will still slow to a crawl if your database is poorly indexed or if your queries are poorly formed

  • Freelance programmer May 4, 2009, 9:36 am

    Don’t forget those designers who replace text with images that just contain text – a classic bandwidth hogging technique, and pointless from a SEO point of view too!

  • Mathew May 13, 2009, 6:46 pm

    well once i was having a very long page , and i saw that my visitors are just leaving in between only , so it is better to have short pages.

  • Ricky May 15, 2009, 4:16 am

    webpage size surely effect the number of visitors. no doubt on that.
    even i leave the pages which are too long and doesn’t seem to end.

  • baby shower ideas May 17, 2009, 11:05 am

    well web page size , i think do not effect your traffic that much. well if your content is good then no matters how long is your page , people will read it.

  • casino deposit methods May 20, 2009, 1:47 am

    Some great tips here, and something for me as a front-end developer to bear in mind.It doesn’t matter if my beautifully commented css & js works perfectly in the prototype stage if it falls over on the live server because it is too heavy.

  • Russel May 20, 2009, 7:33 am

    traffic do depends on web page size and there is no doubt about it.

  • Bent June 3, 2009, 2:28 am

    but if you have a good web page with very good content then even long pages have good visitors.

  • Forex Trading Forum June 3, 2009, 2:59 am

    It may affect bounce rate and return visits but I doubt it has effects on initial visitor numbers?

  • Google Press Release June 7, 2009, 12:21 pm

    Slow loading pages tend to have a higher bounce rate, we have to remember that lots of people still use slow internet connections. I often skip a page when I’m browsing on my mobile phone, i just don’t have the time to wait for a page to load.

  • Unlock iPhone 3G June 12, 2009, 3:58 pm

    It depends on controls

  • ravinket June 13, 2009, 8:27 am

    well i had a page before , it was somewhat a long page , and i saw a low level of traffic in it as compare to my other pages.

  • derik June 14, 2009, 7:09 am

    well there should be no doubt that longer the web page lesser will be traffic.

  • Motorcycle Helmets June 19, 2009, 6:21 am

    Larger pages will take longer to load and will probably have higher bounce rates as a result, which could see google penalising you on traffic from their search engine…other than that i cant really see a reason why larger pages will have less traffic.

  • Adwido June 20, 2009, 9:30 pm

    Very valid points. I work as a freelancer building websites and I try to communicate that to people all the time, but they insist on making their sites look pretty because they think that’s what customers expect. Little do they know, some of the ugliest and simplest sites make the most money.

  • Lanz Castre June 25, 2009, 9:23 pm

    “If a site takes longer than a few seconds to load people will hit the back button.”
    This is very true based on my observation.
    Cos its always a waste of time for me. It so discouraging.
    Sometimes i get annoyed with those sites that loads very slowly especially when i am in a hurry. It really sucks. Site owners must take note of this issue cos their traffic will be affected.

  • Ken June 27, 2009, 8:36 pm

    I don’t think it affect the traffic. It’ll only take time to load up the site for few seconds and will eat a lot of memory especially if you’re using Firefox.

  • Kenny July 3, 2009, 7:00 am

    I hate flash and java web sites, most are so poorly done that it crashes my browser sometimes let alone takes years to load up. Altho some java actions are great but only when they are made properly.

  • EdZee July 18, 2009, 1:03 am

    When I do blog walking on a free traffic site that requires members to review their co-members’ sites, I am very particular about the loading time and the length of the site’s homepage. I always say that most readers prefer to click and open another page than wait for a long one to open and scroll down.

  • DoFollow July 18, 2009, 10:49 am

    I work as a freelancer building websites and I try to communicate that to people all the time, but they insist on making their sites look pretty because they think that’s what customers expect.

  • Mike July 26, 2009, 7:44 am

    Tbh, i think with a properly designed site using xhtml/css and a good broadband connection there really isn’t any excuse for slow loading pages. Its usually those added little scripts that bog down the pages, in the majority of cases they are pointless anyways!

  • Jason October 15, 2009, 12:44 am

    For sure the website size is important for traffic. More pages can address even more keywords than a small one… -> more visitors

  • rc airplanes December 17, 2009, 7:01 am

    Yes i think web site page effect traffic, some time if the page is heavy and does not load in a short time then it force visitor to visit other sites that load much faster. On other hand your web site having good content must be slow but showing good relevant ads.

  • Website Flipping December 31, 2009, 4:27 am

    Well the more content the more possibility for keyword rankings, so if the size of the page is in proportion to the content then I would say YES, page size does affect traffic.

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