9% slower? What were they thinking?

Strangeloop Networks have reported that according to their survey the rop 2,000 retail websites have become – on average – 9% slower than they were in 2011. That’s a worrying piece of news: we have been telling you from the start how important it is to make websites faster, and especially retail websites, for which even 100 milliseconds matter, as mentioned imn the same article (according to Amazon, a lag of 100 milliseconds reduces the revenew by 1%).

Apparently, what resulted in the slowing down of the top websites is their content richness. Well, content is king and we by no means recommend to sacrifice content in order to achieve speed. There are other ways – optimising the code, the third-party scripts, the graphics and the plugins are just a few measures often mentioned, here and elsewhere, that could potentially improve the situation. A lot can be achieved by looking at advanced hosting options and the overall package of measures traditionally referred to as “web operations” and meaning professional support of a web application on the server level throughout its lifetime. Anything – but those website owners just have to make sure their websites get faster, not slower, as the time goes, unless they want to become a laughing stock of the worldwide online population and lose all their customers.

An interesting object mentioned casually in the survey deserves attention on its own: WebPagetest, a free tool supported by Google that can be used to simulate a website’s behaviour in different browsers and evaluate its speed and performance. You might want to run your own business web resource through it one day to make sure it hasn’t become 9% slower than it was last year.