Facebook's war on slow webpages
An expected announcement from Facebook appeared on their blog today. They are setting back slow web pages in your news feed and start favoring fast loading sites in the next few months. This change can affect not only small business owners, but large enterprises and of course, users too.
Already a common practice
Google and its competitors have already started disfavouring the old, laggy web months ago. If you live in a developed country with good internet infrastructure, you won't consciously notice the loading speed on web pages; however, metrics clearly showed that at large enterprises that even a 1-3 hundred millisecond increase in loading time had resulted in an immense drop in customer engagement therefore influencing their revenue. (Source, Source and Source)
In developing countries, the milliseconds of increase US customers are unable to notice can mean minutes in some cases. In countries where VPN is used to avoid censorship these minutes can add up to hours through a day and people can find themselves wasting lots of time. With mobile apps and the mobile web this speed is horrible for the user and for the provider too.
Companies have come to the great understanding that load times can greatly influence their grasp on customers engagement, causing a plummet of users for their merchandise. The matter was presented to many large developing companies, therefore they have handled the issues. Yet with newly/smaller companies, they were significantly set back, having no ways of progressing the concern and bringing forth a conclusion.
What are the implications of Facebook's new algorithm?
There are a few, both on the short- and long-term. The most obvious one is that some of your favorite websites, online stores and news websites may disappear from your news feed and be replaced by New York Times, Amazon and the biggest players with dedicated teams. These are the companies that influence most of the people already.
On the long-term though, smaller brands will realize the mistake they made by neglecting their load speed and they will fix this issue, making the internet a place where information will be generally way faster accessible than now. Facebook's decision is important because it will have visible, day-to-day consequences and these small players will have to take a step.
I'm working for one of these small brands. What can I do?
If you are the owner of the employee of a smaller company with a website or an ecommerce store you have multiple options. First make sure to discuss these changes with your boss and make him aware of the traffic drop (which can be up to 100% in case of very slow webpages) that will come if he / she doesn't make a decision.
I can also recommend the tool we built with my co-founder foreseeing these events happening last year, called Phanten. It uses modern AI and Blockchain technologies to measure and find any major scalability bottleneck in your system, analyze your users interacting with your site and test your scalability and load speed by simulating the most common actions your customers would do on your website. It does all this in large scale - the largest tests we ran, went well over one million virtual concurrent users. This way we can make sure you are up to speed and follow the standards Google, Facebook and other organizations increasingly require from you to run a successful business, not to mention the mentioned psychological effects on users, independent of how search engines rank the website.
Do you have any questions? Ask me on Codementor!