Is Your Web Site Too Big?

The latest survey of web page size and load times conducted by ZDNet reveals that many webmasters still need to sign up for cyber-Weight Watchers!

While many web pages have decreased in size over the past few years, the average web site is still much larger than it ideally should be. A study of 150 web sites calculated the median weight (the average number of kilobytes of data on a homepage) at 89KB. Experts recommend an optimum median weight of 60KB. Size determines how fast pages load into your browser's window. Fancy graphics and advertising banners often bulk up the size, and designers constantly have to balance the need for advertising revenue with the risk that slower download times will deter visitors altogether.

Search engines and portals such as Yahoo.com (37 KB) and Lycos.com (30 KB) are often quoted as the ideal size. Search engine Google.com boasts an anorexic 12KB! In reality, many if not most commercial sites are likely to be in the 50 to 100KB range, if not higher.

The survey suggests an "8 second download rule" - the average surfer gets bored if he/she has to wait much longer than that for a page to open up, and of course e-commerce sites therefore lose business if visitors are too impatient and go elsewhere. One research company estimates that online businesses lose a staggering $362 million per month because visitors won’t wait for heavy pages to load!

A 100KB home page, including images, means an average download time of 38 seconds on a 28.8K dial-up connection. The excellent, free Web Site Garage site will provide an instant analysis of any web page and highlight where improvements can be made - why not run your own site through it and then start thinking about where you can shave a few seconds off your load time?

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