According to the HTTP Archive, the average web page is now more than 1 megabyte (MB) in size. As Strangeloop president Joshua Bixby detailed in this post for GigaOM, this will have negative effects on both site owners and mobile internet users.
Showing 8% growth in just four months, the HTTP Archive's web stats showed an average page size of 1042 kilobytes as of May 1, 2012. At current growth rates, the average page will hit 2 MB by 2015.
Large page sizes are bad news for everyone, especially mobile internet users. With data at a premium, users could be hit with severe roaming charges for what amounts to routine internet use. Even for those who avoid roaming, stingy data caps threaten to further hamper mobile performance as users suffer with slow mobile sites.
The trend has a disproportionately negative affect on mobile performance, as outlined in the graph below:
Bloated pages cost site owners too. Bigger pages hurt website speed, and when people visit slow sites, they spend less, view fewer pages, click fewer ads, and spend less time on site.
Though the two main culprits for this growth are images and third-party scripts (analytics, ads, social sharing buttons), the data points to two larger trends at play: users’ insatiable desire for richer content, and site owners’ widget-happy attempts to monetize their pages.
Here's how Strangeloop helps you regain control over out-of-control third-party scripts...
The question is, since these slow-loading scripts are controlled by third parties, how can site owners prevent them from adding critical seconds to their page load times?
This feature – called Third-Party Timing and SLAs – allows site owners to create automated service level agreements (SLAs) that allot a maximum wait time for each third-party script on a page. If the script has not loaded within this time frame, it's deferred until after the page renders, or else it is cancelled altogether. This eliminates delays and page timeouts caused by poorly optimized third-party scripts.
Many script libraries aren't needed until after a page has finished rendering. Downloading and parsing these scripts can safely be deferred until after the onload event. Our development team has identified a number of script libraries that can be deferred safely until after the rest of the page has rendered.
This feature is fully customizable. You have complete control over the settings for each third-party script -- from the amount of time to allow each individual script to load to the decision as to whether or not to cancel the script completely if it fails to load within the designated time. Once you've set your third-party controls, our automated solutions manage your scripts in real time. You can adjust your settings at any time.
Whether cancelled or deferred, Third-Party Timing and SLAs prevents unoptimized scripts from needlessly holding up the initial rendering of important page elements.
In the web performance industry, the dynamic between front-end optimization and content delivery networks is seldom discussed. To shed more light on the topic, Strangeloop president Joshua Bixby addressed the 2012 Content Delivery Summit with a presentation on the performance benefits of combining CDN and FEO solutions.
If you've ever looked for hard data on this topic, these slides are a must-see. Joshua outlines a case study in which the acceleration gains achieved through a CDN were enhanced by adding FEO, with clear improvements in conversion rates, cart size, and overall sales:
With 2012 set to mark a series of major advances in both the CDN and FEO industries, this topic will be heating up in the coming months. Five out of ten internet retailers plan to implement an automated FEO strategy this year, and with the prevalence of CDN already firmly established, expect to see more hard data on the relationship between these technologies.
Strangeloop offers our thanks to Dan Rayburn for organizing the summit and inviting Joshua to speak!
Joshua used the Strangeloop Site Optimizer to accelerate the Velocity site in this case study. Learn how Site Optimizer works in our 3-minute video explainer.
The Content Delivery Summit – which takes place on Monday, May 14th – is a one-day conference that brings together telecom carriers, service providers, content owners, and industry vendors to look at how CDN platforms deliver video and content acceleration.
Joshua joins a speaker lineup that includes presenters from Amazon, CloudFront, Cisco, Comcast, Dell, EdgeCast, and F5 Networks. His presentation – entitled Marrying CDNs with Front-End Optimization for Maximum Acceleration – will outline real-world examples of how leading e-commerce sites have combined CDN and FEO to reach new levels of performance for content-rich pages.
On May 17th, Joshua will be presenting a session on Advanced Mobile Optimization at an official meetup of the New York Web Performance Group. The presentation will focus on overcoming barriers to delivering a fast mobile experience for users, with discussion on the real cost of slow pages in terms of lost visitors, conversions, and revenue.
For those unable to attend the sessions, slide decks from both presentations will be posted to our blog after the events.
Are separate pages for mobile necessary? How fast are major websites around the world? What effect do mobile sites have on KPIs? The Web Performance Hub has been updated with new links to the latest case studies, reports, opinions, and developments.
Web performance is an increasingly hotter topic, as Strangeloop's Joshua Bixby and WPO guru Steve Souders both weighed in on the subject. Elsewhere, the debate over mobile performance intensified, as usability expert Jakob Nielsen stirred the pot with some controversial opinions.
How fast are websites around the world?
Faster pages lead to a better user experience and more conversions, but how fast are pages around the world? Google’s Site Speed Reports provides detailed latency data for page load times by separating data according to device, location, and industry.
Facebook’s “Like” Button = 84Kb or 1.34 Seconds?
For some in the WPO realm, the fact that an 84Kb download is required to display Facebook’s “Like” button is sheer madness. Last Drop’s Matt Ogborne discusses his decision to remove the button.
Average UK website has 14 trackers per page
Despite the prevalence of privacy policies, over two-thirds of trackers on UK websites originate from third-party companies, and almost half embed themselves permanently.
“Speed Index” introduced as new performance metric
The Speed Index metric has been added to WebPagetest, helping measure the speed at which page contents are visually populated. The tool is especially useful for comparing page experience before and after optimization.
More ways to measure web performance with User Timings
Google Analytics has expanded its collection of Site Speed reports with a new feature called User Timings. The feature enables tracking of specific load times for discrete hits, images, and other user interactions.
Level 3 and Strangeloop reduce Golf Warehouse load times by 50%
Learn how the world’s largest golf retailer is enjoying remarkable improvements in both site performance and user experience: "Level 3's Total Site Performance solution cut our load time in half from 10 seconds to five without the need for additional hardware...”