The Hidden Costs of Slow Websites

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the Monitis blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, take a look at all of the different monitoring solutions they offer.

The world seems to conceive of a curious bubble separating IT from “the business.”  More so than just about any other pursuit in the commercial world, people think of IT as some kind of island.

It thus becomes easy to conceive of IT goals existing in a vacuum.  “We should optimize the database so that it becomes better.”  “We should make this software work on all platforms.”  The part about “… because that will help us make money” seems never to materialize.

Agile methodologies like Scrum seek to address this separation by encouraging tight interaction between IT and business interests.  Doing this closes the loop between technical actions and profit motives.  “We should make this software work on all platforms in order to increase revenue by 50%.”

If we look at the world of company websites, we can find the ubiquitous argument for faster page load times.  “The site should load faster.”  Today, I’d like to make the business case for why we want this.

But I’d like to dig a little deeper than the most obvious cost.  To understand that, consider articles like this one.  Users tend to bounce in the face of multi-second page loads.  As a result, slow performance could cost a high-throughput giant like Amazon billions of dollars.

I doubt that news shocks you.  So, instead, let’s take a look at more subtle ways that your business can lose money via a slow site.  Let’s examine hidden costs of slow websites.

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