FloorPop -  Internet Marketing that Works, April 2, 2003

Vol. 3, Issue 1

Copyright (C) 2003 Blair Kuhnen.  All rights reserved. May be reproduced in any medium for noncommercial purposes as long as attribution is given (though it would be nice to let me know anyhow).

On The Web, Speed Still Kills

In Web design there are always tradeoffs. The most common is beauty vs. speed. Curves look better than straight lines, Anti-alias looks better than not, and 32K colors look better than 256 colors. With good Web design, you can look professional and still be fast.

Coming home from San Jose, Ca. I sat next to a man who had his own cross-cultural training company. It sounded like a fascinating story of developing a business based on his experiences living abroad. We talked about how he got started, how he got his first clients, when he knew he was ready to make the big leap to be independent.

This business seemed like a natural for Web extension. A global potential customer base (though mostly larger companies) and widely dispersed providers, a consulting business that can not market via tradeshows or through standard direct marketing techniques effectively. I thought that anyone who knew they needed such services (those corporations who send people overseas), would surely be sharp enough to search for this on the Web. My new friend, having a great track record and a golden client list should get plenty of calls from his Web marketing.  A little search engine optimization and buying a few inexpensive sponsorship positions should do the trick.

I asked Gary if the Web had been successful for his business. I was surprised to learn that while he had a professionally designed site and had it positioned with the search engines, he had not received a single lead from his efforts and money. So, I decided to check his site out.

I have DSL at home, doesn’t everyone?  Well…NO.  According to Gartner/Dataquest, 28 percent of households now have broadband access,  while some 41% have access from work.  I also have a 56K modem at home which means that I can download at about 5K per second.  So, I tested Gary’s site on my dial-up.  I did not wait for the whole page to download. There, at the top of the page, was a 111K animated gif of the world turning. Wait, that's not all. Big jpegs, big buttons, more gifs. In total, the page had 19 graphics with a whopping 266K worth of valuable content. Of this total, 5K was html text and code including META tags, etc.

Gary told me that being on the Web made his company seem more astute. If the pages were for demos, I can see that they are all right, but I feel like it's unlikely anyone trying to find these pages ever waited for the download. Thankfully most of Gary's customers are Fortune 1000 and are likely accessing over a T1. Let's hope the proxy server is not busy.

This is actually a 2 part story. While I can pooh pooh the Web Designers for this nightmare, there really are plenty of guys coming across with a decent T1. So, why no calls? More later....

Don't forget, speed still kills on the Web.