O’Reilly interview: Web performance for mortal companies

Mac Slocum interviewed me at Velocity, and we covered a few topics: mobile web performance, the difficulties of data gathering, site speed and SEO, and easy ways that every “mortal company” (aka a company that’s not Google, Microsoft or Amazon) can optimize their site. Here’s the video:

Some of the points that came up:

We need to gather data and create benchmarks for mobile performance… FAST

As an industry, we don’t know much about mobile web performance and its relationship to metrics like conversion, bounce rate, page views and revenues. It took years for us to get serious about collecting this data for the regular web. We need to get our act together faster in order to be ready for the massive wave of mobile users that’s about to hit us.

We’re starting to get a sense of how site speed affects Google ranking

After accelerating Whattoexpect.com using the Strangeloop Site Optimizer, we discovered that Google’s bots were able to crawl twice as many pages as they were able to do pre-acceleration. In practical terms, this led to a 10% improvement in search ranking results.

The first thing mortal companies need to do is set benchmarks

Too many companies assume their site is fast because they see how it performs within company walls. You need to test your site using external tools in order to see what your users see. Then set goals for improving your actual speed and calculate the impact this has on conversions.

Don’t forget to pluck the low-hanging fruit

There are a couple of easy things every company should do that will instantly make your site faster. Make sure you have compression turned on. Do keep-alives. All it takes is, literally, a few clicks.

I also mention the 90 Minute Performance Optimization workshop that I did with Strangeloop’s VP Product, Hooman Beheshti. That slideshow is here.

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