First session at WordCamp Portland this morning was “Speed Up WordPress” with Jason Grigs of Cloud Four. He jokingly argues that “we’ve remade the internet in our image and the image is obese.” Since 2003, web page size has tripled, number of objects has doubled, and we can partially blame it on WordPress. On the developer’s side, the expectation is that everyone is going to be on a fast connection, with broadband at home or at work.
Page load time, however, determines whether people will stay on your site and do what you want them to do. Speed and performance affect can change perceived quality and credibility of the website. “You can have a great brand and your site is really slow and people will think you’re crap online.” It’s critically important that your application maintains the user’s flow and focus. Amazon says they lose $1 million for every extra second in their shopping cart experience. There’s also an environmental impact for slow site. The number of data centers in the last four years has doubled, and has an energy consumption equivalent to five 1,000 megawatt power plants or the entire state of Mississippi.
In short, build a site that is optimized and doesn’t use more resources than it needs to. Be proactive about it.