You know the feeling of dialing a telephone number and then listening to ring after ring on the other end. With every ring you become more tempted to hang up - particularly if you're calling a business. Likewise, potential customers grow more likely to surf over to the competition with every second they spend waiting for your page to respond to their browser. So if your response time is routinely more than one to two seconds (industry average is around 0.8 seconds), you need to take steps to reduce the wait.
Pinpoint Server Problems If your response time is not what it should be, you almost surely have server problems. So you'll need to tackle the situation with the help of your in-house server expert or your hosting service. If you detected slow response times through a third-party service, your Web team or hosting service probably doesn't have the same data. Make sure they have the response-time reports, then follow up with reports from the same third-party source to make sure your problem has been remedied.
Prepare for Traffic Fluctuations Traffic spikes don't always cause a complete site failure; sometimes they just make the server respond more slowly to requests. Although the effect is different, and slightly less severe, you'll want to review the traffic considerations presented in conjunction with downtime for possible sources of response-time slowdowns.