One of the greatest things that social networks like MyBlogLog and Blogcatalog do is presenting a form of social proof to your visitors. We are social and seeing that someone else, perhaps even someone we know and easily recognize, provides us with a “feel good” about our action feelings.
But is it really worth it?
I’m a rather active member of the 2 social networks I have mentioned above and was proudly displaying their widgets on my blog. And for that I had suffered time and time again slow loading blog pages. It is really quite annoying when a widget placed on your blog to help you retain the visitors actually causes them to leave.
Slow loading blog makes people click away!
It is very rare that a person comes to your blog and will have enough patience to wait until pages load, especially on broadband connection. As we become more accustomed to fast Internet – slow loading pages is number 1 reason people leave. And unfortunately on way too many occasions I have noticed MyBlogLog and Blogcatalog take their sweet time to load and what is even worse completely time out during load.
According to my stats over 80% of my visitors are new to my blog, they have no idea of what information I present and no reason to wait for my blog to load for 2-3 minutes. However much I would like to believe that my content might be worth the wait – new visitors don’t know that!
People simply click away when load times are too slow …
So I have made a decision to remove the widget responsible for displaying recent visitors from 2 networks. I’ll be paying very close attention to my stats over next few days to see if this improves or damages my “average time on site” stats.