Site Speed Optimization – Wildcard Friday


Increase your Site Speed! With Site Speed Optimization!!

Are User’s Getting More Demanding?

In 2006, the average online shopper expected a web page to load in 4 seconds. Today, that same shopper expects your page to load in 2 seconds or less.
Up to 40% of shoppers will abandon a site after waiting 3 seconds for a page to load. 9 out of 10 people will not return to a site after a disappointing experience.
Of these, 3 will go on to tell others about their experience. Almost 60% of mobile web users expect websites to perform as quickly on their handheld devices as they do on their home computers. About the same number of mobile users say they would be unlikely to visit a site again after a poor mobile web experience.

Sites Are Getting More Complex

Website owners are sending out increasingly huge web pages through a pipeline whose ability has not grown in the same proportion.

Web page objects, then and now:

1995: The average web page contained just 2.3 objects. That means just 2.3 calls to whatever data centers were serving the site.
Today: The average web page contains a whopping 75.25 objects – everything from CSS to images to Javascript. That means 75.25 server round trips are needed to pull all the page’s resources to the user’s browser. The result: pages that load slowly and inconsistently.

Page size, then and now:

1995: The average page size was a lean 14.1k.
Today: The average page size is a bloated 498k.

Browsers Complicate Things

In the mid-’90s, the web was a two-browser universe: Netscape and Internet Explorer. Now, not only is there an array of browser choices for the regular web, there is a growing number of browsers specifically developed for the mobile web.

Each of these browsers follows its own unique standards. This is unlikely to change. Browser manufacturers have a vested interest in keeping their products differentiated, adding proprietary features instead of obeying standards.

As a result of this non-standardization, each browser has its own preference as to how it consumes and displays pages.

In an ideal world, a website’s server environment would generate a unique version of each page of its site, optimized to suit the particularities of each individual browser. However, given the sheer volume of pages and the ever-shifting browser landscape, this is an enormous undertaking.

As a result, servers are stuffing inefficient pages across a variety of browsers: the equivalent of forcing square pegs into round holes.

The lack of browser standardization is unlikely to change, especially as the mobile web matures and new devices – each with their own proprietary browser – are released.

Time Is Money

Companies like Amazon, the largest e-commerce websites, and the companies who supply them have invested billions of dollars to make sites faster.

They are after higher conversion rates, improved search engine ranking, and a greater return on investment from all of their marketing efforts.

If you convert at 3%, and your competitor converts at 5%, who can spend more money marketing?

Up until now big companies like Amazon have had a huge advantage, not because they’ve optimize performance and speed totally, but because they and other big companies are doing a lot more to improve site speed than most sites.

With speed as their advantage, they know they can outperform smaller retailers time after time. By outspending retailers, they are counting on “David” finding it impossible to beat “Goliath.”

Addressing the Problem

Most companies who are facing their web performance issues head-on know that infrastructure issues are not the problem, and that investing in additional bandwidth and servers is not the answer.

To understand the current solution landscape, it’s important to see how the web performance problem can be approached in two ways:

1. Delivery

Delivery-based solutions are focused on getting inefficient data to browsers more quickly. This is a $5.5 billion/year market, encompassing CDNs and network devices/accelerators:

Network devices/accelerators (e.g. load balancers)

  • Pros: Proven technology; easy to implement and deploy.
  • Con: Doesn’t solve the problems outlined in previous slides.
  • CDNs
    Pros: Make sites faster by shortening round trips; easy to deploy.
  • Cons: Expensive; don’t take advantage of acceleration opportunities like roundtrip reduction and optimizing pages for browsers.

The delivery approach is akin to throwing servers and content delivery networks at the problem. You may also look at it as putting lipstick on a pig.

What’s Working Better?

The more recent and effective way to solve the site performance problem is Site Transformation

Transformation-based solutions are focused on analyzing each page of a site from the browser’s perspective and optimizing each page so that it is delivered most efficiently to the browser. Thanks to teams at Yslow and Google, there are emerging sets of best practices that serve as guidelines for this recoding.

Up until now, however, the only way to achieve this solution was to have teams of top-tier developers working in-house to recode each page:

  • Pro: Can be done in-house.
  • Cons: Because browser standards and best practices are constantly changing, transformation is a neverending task; the job requires an organization’s best developers, making it costly and inefficient.

Up until recently, developers have been the only option for transformation-based solutions.

This is where Strangeloop’s automated acceleration products and services come in.

Instantly Accelerate Your Site

Amazon and larger companies can invest in having a team of internal developers, the solution we’re recommending gives you a team of the world’s leading experts in site performance optimization working day and night to make your site faster. The good news is you don’t have to finance this overhead and R&D, but you get all the benefits of it.

Site Optimizer starts learning about your site, and how it interacts with various web browsers, immediately after you plug it in.

  1. Each page is optimized for best performance
  2. Optimization is done to match each browser’s best capabilities
  3. Changes are automatically detected
  4. HTML is rewritten and references to optimized resources are inserted into the page
  5. All treatments are applied automatically

No need for code or network change. Site Optimizer transforms your site instantly. And it updates automatically as it learns, and as the engineers that power Site Optimizer deploy new optimization recipes.

Sample Results

As these before and after waterfall graphs show, the Site Optimizer made dramatic improvements in roundtrips and page load times for both first-time visitors and repeat visitors:

  1. For first-time visitors, page load times went from 9.5 seconds to 3.7 seconds.
  2. For repeat visitors, page load times went from 3.2 seconds to a mere 0.75 seconds.
  3. For first-time visitors, roundtrips were reduced from 63 to 9.
  4. For repeat visitors, that number was reduced still more, down to just 3 roundtrips.

Special Features

Previously, only the largest companies have been able to afford technology like Site Optimizer in order to transform their website.

That has left individual merchants with limited options for improving their site’s speed and performance.

Until now.

Revenue Acceleration

Exclusively through Exclusive Concepts, you can use Site Optimizer to drive more revenue through your site without any upfront costs or servers to manage. Exclusive Concepts has gone through the time and expense of configuring and activating multiple Site Optimizer servers, which would cost most merchants more than $100,000 upfront, in addition to substantial ongoing costs related to hosting, server maintenance, and paid support from Strangeloop.

For Yahoo! Stores: An additional benefit for Yahoo! stores is that as part of Exclusive Concepts’ partnership with Strangeloop, leading experts in the field of site performance optimization have analyzed Yahoo! stores to identify common issues that affect a website’s speed and performance, that come baked in with our solution. As these experts learn more, you will benefit, even though your costs won’t go up.

Available as a Hosted Service


How much faster will Site Optimizer make my site? It depends. Please sign-up for our “test your site” offer, and we will show you how much faster Site Optimizer can make your site. Remember, in addition to helping your site load faster, Site Optimizer makes your site appear to load faster too, which can have a big impact on conversions and sales.

How does it work? When shoppers visit your site, they pass through something called a “DNS.” It is at that point that Site Optimizer rapidly identifies what browser your visitor is using, and serves up various treatments that will allow visitors to view and browse your site faster. As your visitor continues to browse your site, treatments are applied that increase speed, and the perception of speed.

What’s the ROI? That depends on how much traffic you get. Imagine the scenario where your site gets 5 million visitors per year, has an average conversion rate of 1%, and an average order value of $50. If Site Optimizer can help you to increase your conversion rate by 20%, it would generate an extra $500,000 per year in sales. In such a scenario, your ROI could be 2,000% per year.

What happens if it goes down? If Site Optimizer goes down, a back-up server will begin working instantaneously. If that back-up server goes down too, visitors see your site as they normally would without Site Optimizer. To activate Site Optimizer, you will need to manage your store’s DNS through a service like DNSMadeEasy (the largest Enterprise DNS provider, which has offered 8 years of continuous 100% uptime).

Does it work for Yahoo! stores? Yes. Recently we’ve deployed and run a test of Site Optimizer on one of the largest Yahoo! stores. We observed a significant increase in conversion rate and overall revenue.

What does it cost? Cost will vary based on the size of your store, but introductory pricing is currently available. Qualified stores will also receive a 30-day free trial.