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I have blogged before about building trust and leveraging social media to help promote your site, but after a brief hiccup today for some of our clients, I thought I should warn site owners about some risks associated with all of the buttons, badges and gizmos you load to your site.

Many trust marks, live chat, social media toolbars, weather conditions, Google gadgets, Facebook apps and other popular features are pulled in from 3rd party servers.  This is great.  They frequenly give you analytics and are as easy to implement as pasting a couple of lines of HTML text.  The issue for your site is that each time a shopper views a page, the scripts and HTML you have embedded have to send a request and wait for the service providers servers to respond.  All of these requests slow your page load time down. When Google Webmaster Tools sets a benchmark of 1.7 seconds for page load times, a quarter second here, and a quarter second there really start to take a bite out of your site performance.  We have tested sites for some clients and removing one small item can trim 2 seconds off a page load.  Many sites have half a dozen or more of these features.

Meh, half, a second, two seconds, so what? 


Well, as they say on TV, that's not all.  If for some reason (web congestion, server outage, DDOS attack) the service is unavailable, your pages could be stalled completely.  One SSL vendor was subjected to a DDOS attack for their security seal program and any site that had their seal loaded in the footer became unreachable. 

I am not saying not to use these third party apps, just be careful and avoid over use
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