Challenge:

Intuit Payroll discovered that its website performance (from a page speed perspective) was hindered by a number of issues, including legacy page tags from its previous testing tool.

Solution:

SiteSpect, which uses a tag-free approach to optimization, enabled Intuit Payroll to accelerate its site performance dramatically while providing A/B and multivariate testing for all areas of its website.

Results:

Within six months of deploying SiteSpect, Intuit Payroll’s page load times improved by an average of 35%.

Web performance matters.

When it comes to the overall effectiveness of a website, there are many variables, but one agreed- upon constant: visitors strongly dislike slow loading pages. In fact, research shows that visitor behavior is directly related to the speed of the browsing experience, and that conversion rates and overall customer satisfaction decreases when a site’s pages load slowly. According to the Aberdeen Group, a one second delay in website performance will result in a 7% loss in conversions, an 11% decrease in page views, and a 16% reduction in customer satisfaction.

In addition to lower conversion rates, slower loading websites also receive less SEO traffic.  That’s because search engines such as Google penalize slower loading websites in its search results by ranking them lower on the search results page. This means significantly less click-through SEO traffic than higher ranked websites. For example, the website at the top position of the search results page receives 32.5% of the traffic while the site listed in the second position receives only 17.6% of traffic.

Unfortunately, the impact of slower page load times on conversions and search traffic can affect a company’s bottom line. These are just two of the reasons that drove Intuit’s Small Business Group to undertake a web performance initiative to ensure that its websites load as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Intuit has built a world-renowned brand by creating an array of easy-to-use accounting tools that help small business owners run their companies more efficiently. One of those tools is Intuit Payroll, which is the number-one payroll solution in the United States (based on aggregate customer count as of June 30, 2013), used by more than one million customers.

Mukul Sheopory, a web marketing manager at Intuit, works with a team of web analysts, developers and graphic designers to help create the best online customer experience possible for Intuit Payroll’s customers. As part of the web performance initiative, Sheopory found that legacy page tags and non-optimized images, among other factors, were causing less than optimal site performance. Sheopory and his team made some strategic site changes that helped to accelerate page speed somewhat, but he knew there was more to do.

A better, leaner, faster website.

Following site improvements based on a performance audit, Intuit migrated its testing platform to SiteSpect for all Small Business Group websites including Intuit Payroll.  Prior to implementing SiteSpect, Intuit Payroll’s website performance was being impeded by the existence of page tags, which are known for slowing down sites. Page tags that change content, such as those used by most testing and targeting tools, are very likely to impact site speed because they delay the full rendering of the page.

In less than six months after deploying SiteSpect, page load times have improved by 35%, a very significant improvement.

“Once we switched over to SiteSpect, we did not need any of the old tags,” said Sheopory. “For example, our home page had numerous tags from tests done over the past two years using our previous vendor. Once we went to SiteSpect, all of that tagging information could be completely stripped out, and what’s left on the page is exactly what matters. And, because SiteSpect does not use tags for testing, it introduced no latency to our pages.”

SiteSpect is an optimization solution that enables companies to test every part of their site — including how it looks and works. Clients such as Intuit can optimize both front-end content and back-end functionality, while creating relevant and targeted experiences for every visitor, without the performance penalty of tags. With the power of the world’s most comprehensive digital optimization platform, online businesses such as Intuit are able to test everything and target anyone while eliminating the flicker effects caused by tags.

Sheopory explained “There are no limitations as to what you can test or who you can target. It’s a powerful testing tool that has helped us to deliver a great user experience, which included speeding up our website.”

Next steps with testing and optimization.

Sheopory advises companies that aren’t optimizing the performance of their sites to start doing so, but to tackle the problem in batches, starting with the easy fixes first and then moving to more complex improvements.

“I would recommend taking stock of what is causing pages to slow down, because it varies from company to company,” said Sheopory.  “There’s obviously some low-hanging fruit like getting rid of old testing page tags, optimizing images, and lazy-loading videos, which should be implemented right away to make rapid site performance improvements. Then, focus on the bigger initiatives, like moving to a tag-free testing tool such as SiteSpect in a phased approach.”

About Intuit Inc.

Intuit Inc. creates business and financial management solutions that simplify the business of life for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals.

Its flagship products and services include QuickBooks®, Quicken® and TurboTax®, which make it easier to manage small businesses and payroll processing, personal finance, and tax preparation  and filing. Mint.com provides a fresh, easy and intelligent way for people to manage their money, while Demandforce® offers marketing and communication tools for small businesses. ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit’s leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants.

Founded in 1983, Intuit had revenue of $4.2 billion in its fiscal year 2013. The company has approximately 8,000 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. More information can be found at www.intuit.com.

About SiteSpect, Inc.

SiteSpect provides the world’s most comprehensive optimization platform, enabling the world’s largest and most successful online businesses to significantly improve key metrics such as conversion rates and revenue. SiteSpect’s solutions include A/B testing, multivariate testing, behavioral targeting and personalization, landing page optimization, mobile web and app optimization, front-end optimization, and back-end testing. SiteSpect’s patented technology and professional services are used by companies such as Wal-Mart, Staples, Target, Urban Outfitters, ASOS, Overstock.com, and leading financial services companies. For more information, visit www.SiteSpect.com or call 617-859-1900.