Is Your Web Design Hurting Your Website Performance?

Facts:

    • The webpage weight of the top 1000 websites (Alexa) has increased by nearly 25% per year in the past 3 years — from 0.7Mb in November 2010 to 1.6Mb in November 20131

Page size November 2013 Alexa

  • A webpage needs to be less than 0.3Mb to load in less than 3 seconds on a sub 3G connection
  • 47% of web users expect a page load of 2 seconds or less2

Why does it Matter?

It has a negative impact on your business bottom line. You are losing customers:

  • 1/3 of your website visitors leave your site if the page load takes more than 3 seconds
  • 75% of your visitors leave if the page load takes more than 5 seconds3
  • Bandwidth is not infinite nor free. “Heavy” web pages result in slower response and load times. This is especially evident on mobile devices. But mobile internet users expect the same website performance on their mobile devices than on their desktop, and they don’t have the patience to wait for long load times.

It has a negative impact on SEO. Indeed Google factors page speed into its ranking algorithms, even though the overall impact may be relatively minor.

How to Solve it?

It is crucial to consider how your website design impacts your page weight:

  1. Be cautious about the presence of large images in your design. Images represent the largest part of the page weight (see chart below),Web page weight - Statistics
  2. Make your website responsive, in particular make sure that images are “adaptive” in their sizes for the mobile device user,
  3. Make sure your web designer “optimizes” images, ie. prepare them in screen resolution rather than print resolution,
  4. Detect devices with “retina displays” and only display higher resolution images to these users, rather than to other users (for whom it will slow down load times with no benefits),
  5. Avoid long pages, one page websites, and infinite scrolling pages,
  6. Avoid functionality you don’t need and which adds to the load time (inactive plugins etc.),
  7. Consider placing Google Analytics code at the bottom of your webpage, rather than at the top of your page, so that it doesn’t load before the content your visitor is waiting for.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions to us about website performance!

References:

  1. http://httparchive.org
  2. Forrester Consulting 2009 study – http://www.akamai.com/html/about/press/releases/2009/press_091409.html
  3. Speakerdeck.com/cferdinandi “Wicked Fast WP” Oct 2013 Wordcamp Boston presentation

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