Category : Best Practices

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Earlier today, Search Engine Land posted about a new label that Google appears to be testing in its search results pages. The red “slow” label warns people that your site is unacceptably slow. This label isn’t a trivial feature. If you care about performance, user experience, and SEO, then you should care about this potential game-changer.

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If you asked me to name the single greatest indicator of performance for pages served to mobile devices, I’d say this: faster pages are always less than 1 MB in size. Show me a fat page, and I’ll show you a slow page.

This is why it was alarming to discover that, according to the Mobile HTTP Archive (which tracks page metrics for the top million Alexa-ranked sites), the average page served to mobile devices carries a payload of 1109 KB. This number has more than doubled since 2012, when the average page was 511 KB.

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Some of the bulk and complexity of modern web pages is necessary. Larger images sell more products. Third-party scripts help you to better understand your visitors. But there’s a lot of unnecessary weight on most web pages. Rather than focusing exclusively on all the cool new features you want to add to your site this year, spend some time thinking about what you can take away. Here are four tips to help you get started.

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Every quarter at Radware, we release a new “state of the union” report, with key findings about the web performance of the world’s most popular ecommerce sites.

Every quarter, we find that the median top 100 ecommerce site takes longer to render feature content than it took the previous quarter.

Every quarter, we field the question: But how could this possibly be happening? Networks, browsers, hardware… they’re all getting better, aren’t they?

The answer to this question is: Pages are slower because they’re bigger, fatter, and more complex than ever. Size and complexity comes with a performance price tag, and that price tag gets steeper every year.

In this post, I’m going to walk through a few of the key findings from our latest report. Then I’m going to share a few examples of practices that are responsible for this downward performance trend.

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Last week, I was extremely fortunate in being able to speak at the annual Shop.org Online Merchandising Workshop. In the performance community, we so often find ourselves preaching to the converted: to each other, to developers, and to others who focus on the under-the-hood aspect of web performance. Attending this Shop.org event was a fantastic chance to talk with a completely different group of professionals — people in marketing and ecommerce — in other words, people who govern much of the high-level strategy and day-to-day decision-making that happens at retail sites.

When attending other speakers’ sessions, it was gratifying to see performance bubble up as a recurring theme. It was obvious to me that there’s an emerging sense of interest and urgency around performance. The tricky part is ensuring that performance gets its share of mental real estate among a group of professionals who are clearly already burdened with a massive set of challenges in the increasingly complex ecommerce space.