How to speed up your website

There are few things as frustrating as having to wait for a website to load.  Not only do slow websites make for a poor user experience, they can also have a big impact on your bottom line:

  • Google discovered that adding 500ms to their load time resulted in a 20% loss in page views.
  • Amazon discovered that every 100ms they added resulted in a 1% loss of conversions.

Steve Souders is the main thought leader on how to make websites splitting fast.  Steve works at Google, but before that he worked at Yahoo on an extremely useful project called YSlow.   I have used a lot of his research to speed up my own projects and he’s taught me a lot of simple things that can make a big difference in web performance.

Steve recently taught a class at Stanford on high performance websites and the videos are available online.   The full set costs $600, but you can watch the first 3 for free.  I would recommend anyone building stuff on the web to take the time to watch and learn.

Update 06/07/09: Google recently announced their own version of YSlow called PageSpeed.  It’s got some additional features that YSlow doesn’t have — like giving you optizimed images that can be saved directly from the plugin.  Check it out.