The term "download time" is usually misapplied to the entire lapse between the time that you request a Web page and the time that you are able to view the page. In reality, some of this time is accounted for by response time, though page downloading does take the vast majority of this waiting period. The good news is that you, as the person in charge of your site's content, have the ability to control download times. This checklist can help you learn why and how.

Understand How Download Time Is Measured
Think of the telephone call analogy: If response time is the number of rings, then download time is the actual conversation. Suppose the call recipient has to put the caller on hold in response to every request for information; that's what happens when a Web page downloads slowly. On your site, visitors request information by clicking on an icon or link. The information itself is a digital file (text, graphics, etc.). The length of time it takes for your visitor to view the requested file is a product of two things primarily: the user's Internet technology (browser, connection type and speed, etc.) and the size of the file being downloaded. While you have no control over the first factor, you have absolute control over the second. Exercising this control wisely can significantly improve download times for your site and therefore enhance user experience.

Troubleshoot Download Time Issues
When your site is slow to download, don't look at the server right away. Instead, take a careful look at the site. Chances are the problem is internal - i.e., something within the site is causing a backup. In order to construct a fast-loading site that still serves your e-commerce objectives, you'll want to take the steps that are outlined in this section.

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