Speed is most definitely a feature you should be thinking about.
As the barriers to entry to start and launch a web service continue to decline, there are few things that can really set you apart. Although you may not think about it, the speed behind services you use everyday play a major role in your web usage.
This post from Robert Scoble got me thinking again today how much speed comes up when discussing and using web services.
Speed does not only affect end user behavior of how they think about your service, but also can have a monetary impact on how your SEM campaign is performing as speed is directly tied to your quality score now within Google AdWords
If you want to test out your site you can use a service like this or start tracking it on a monthly basis to really get at the issues using a service such as Pingdom. Thinking about speed of load times and search queries is important from the beginning.
Sales usually solves all problems, but having fast page load times can help too.
On another note I recently upgraded to the latest version of WordPress 2.7 and wow is it faster. I have been using WordPress for years, and this release is an order of magnitude improvement over the last release. Is this a reflection of my host? WordPress code? ISP speed? a combination? The point is that lowering the possibility of the pain point coming from your page or software makes end users that much more happy – and will speed them up in telling others about your awesome product.AdWords, google, Robert Scoble, WordPress