Understanding Page Load Time

It's no secret, Google is bringing it's vision of cloud-based computing to reality with it's recent release of the Chromebook as well as it's constant launching of new and innovative cloud-based applications. For Google, one of the main limitations is the high speed internet infrastructure that most Americans use to get online. We live in an expansive country which means laying down new cables to create more bandwidth is a slow and costly endeavor, much slower than the pace at which our technology is innovating and sucking up all that extra bandwidth.

Google found a novel way to mitigate this limitation, by leveraging it's Search Engine market share to manipulate the web ecosystem to run slimmer. By introducing Page Load Times into the SERP algorithm, Google has incentivized web developers to develop the web on lighter, cleaner, more standards-based markup. This solves the bandwidth capacity issue by having the entire web cutting all their fat, freeing up unneeded bandwidth without having to wait for ISPs to upgrade their lines. Since Google has such a large market share, most users will still trek over to Google without even realizing a change in their search experience. But, their results will slowly begin to show the slimmer sites nearer to the top, which will result in more users clicking the slimmer sites even further freeing up bandwidth by essentially herding users to areas of the web where they will collectively use less bandwidth.

Google is a trend setter and is sometimes flat out copied (both domestically and abroad), so it will come to no surprise when other search engines begin using page load times in their own search algorithms. This will even further expose more users/developers to the slimmed-down web paradigm and further help solve some of the bandwidth issues.

What does this mean for web developers? You need to start cutting the fat.

There are a lot of places you can look to start trimming down your page weight, since each has it's own nuances I decided to break them up into individual posts you can find below (non-linked items means item coming soon):

  • Images/Sprites
  • Minify HTML, JS and CSS
  • Caching
  • Using CSS3 instead of Images