Studies have shown that each one-second increase in page load times results in a 7% loss in converting customers. That’s a pretty big blow to the bottom line, but load testing can make sure that your website can handle the strain of the traffic you hope to achieve. Don’t think that load testing is only for times when you expect an huge increase in traffic – load testing can uncover systemic problems with your site, so it should always be a quality assurance priority.
In this week’s episode of Noodles & Doodles, I’ll walk you through the importance of load testing and how you can make sure your websites are up to snuff.
Image credit: Jeremy Thompson, CC BY 2.0[Chris Manning:] My name is Chris Manning. I’m with 352 Quality Assurance. I’m here today to talk to you about the importance of load testing. Now, companies usually measure their time in hours. But what is a second? I mean, it’s a second. It’s nearly worthless, right? Well, let’s say you have a website with a three second average response time. According to an Aberdeen Group study, a one-second delay in that load time could result in 11% fewer page views, 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7% loss in conversions. Now, what does that mean? In dollar terms, it means if you’re making $100,000 a day on your website, in 1 year you stand to lose $2.5 million per second that your site is slower compared to the previous year or compared to your competitors. Business owners want to know two questions. Can our site survive as we grow, and will our users be happy while they’re using it? In 2012, SodaStream decided to branch into a foreign market, and the U.S. was targeted. Their 30-second ad was blocked from the Super Bowl, and it generated a lot of hype for the company. Well, this resulted in a lot of traffic coming to their website. Eventually, it was brought to its knees and then it crashed. So it’s safe to assume that it wasn’t really properly load tested, if even at all. So what is load testing? Well, load testing is putting a demand on your site and measuring the average response time and how your site handles under that demand. When should you do it? Well, you’re going to do it pre-launch. If you know the projected amount of users that are going to be on your website, it’s safe to make sure that your site can actually handle that before it goes live. When your customer base starts growing. Now, the more users, the more data, the more problems. It’s safe for you to make sure your site can actually handle that before it’s too late. When your website actually starts to slow down. Now, this is more of a reactive phase. But it’s still good for you to get in there, test it, and make sure everything is okay before it’s too late. This is a big one — mainstream advertisements. You know the users are coming. You know you’re about to get hit with traffic. If your site goes down, you’re going to put a bad taste in everybody’s mouth for your website. Not to mention you risk wasting all that advertisement money. Also, overtime. If your operations staff is working overtime just to keep your site up, you’re on the verge of it being too late. So get in there, find the problem and fix it. Now, make sure when you’re load testing, you’re using realistic user behavior under normal and extreme circumstances. Spread the data out over multiple user accounts and multiple database tables. If you put everything on one user and one database table, you’re going to skew your results. Lastly, make sure you have a controlled environment free of any interference, from people developing on a server or network interference. Load testing is a little bit of effort up front, but can have long lasting and profitable effects for your company. If you can relate to anything I just talked about here, I highly suggest you start load testing immediately. Think of it as insurance for your company. I’m Chris Manning. Thank you for watching. Please make sure you subscribe to 352 Inc.’s channel.