In economics, there is a concept referred to as “The Laffer Curve,” which illustrates how increases in government tax rates beyond a certain level will ultimately decrease tax revenue. It is often visualized with the following graph:
Websites have evolved greatly over the past few years. Once text-heavy websites have become more eye-catching with prominent images and video. But the addition of richer media isn’t the only change impacting websites. Consumer behavior also factors into this evolution, as web access has moved from the desktop realm to a variety of different devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches and TVs – with different dimensions and resolutions. And consumers want to be able to access web content anytime and from any location.
To ensure that website performance is optimized, bandwidth usage is minimized and users have a top-notch experience, we will need to address many challenges.
High resolution images and videos
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, it’s no surprise that website owners are using images and videos as powerful tools on their websites to engage visitors. High-resolution images look best, but these files are so big that they cause websites to load slowly and use excessive bandwidth. These problems frustrate visitors, and potentially decrease their incentive to engage further on the website.
Patience is not a virtue for website visitors and online shoppers. Every fraction of a second counts when it comes to keeping – or losing – a visitor to your website.
Loading time is a major contributing factor to page abandonment, according to an infographic on the Kissmetrics blog using statistics from Akamai and Gomez. Because the average web visitor has no patience for a page that takes too long to load, abandonment increases as a percentage with every second of load time. Nearly 40 percent of users will abandon a page after 3 seconds, the blog noted. Mobile Internet users probably experience the most frustration with this issue – 73 percent noted that they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
Personalization of web content is becoming increasingly important for businesses to gain – and maintain – their competitive advantage. Web personalization is key to increasing conversion rates and return rates, as well as boosting retention, time-on-site, and page views, according to a December 2015 VentureBeat study, which noted that 87 percent of companies have seen a lift of at least 5 percent in their most important metrics as a result of personalization.
Robert Moseley is Cloudinary’s Senior Solutions Engineer, a technology and use-case expert with over a decade of experience in analytics, optimization, and personalization. Here he writes about his experience and reflections from the field.