Baroque software can host sites with one of the fastest facilities in the UK

Baroque Software

are web experts

SPEED

  • You must assume the person who is trying to look at your site is only prepared to wait a couple of moments for it to load. So the speed at which your site loads is important. For example, I rarely look at the BBC website. The reason is not because of the content of the site but simply that every page takes so very long to load. Having clicked on a link to a BBC page, I may as well get up from the computer and go do something else. Maybe the page will have loaded when eventually I get back.
  • It is possible for the BBC to get away with this because it can claim authority and unique content. But if you are in a list of organic results, your website is unlikely to have that sort of status. If your site does not load pretty smartly, the user will hit his back button and try another on the list.
  • Even Google woke up to the page speed issue and decided to make it a major ranking factor in 2010. Here is a link where you can hear what Google's Matt Cutts has to say about speed. www.webpronews.com
  • So what can be done about this ? Well let’s analyse the speed at which web sites load. The speed or how fast a website loads is dependent on 4 factors:
    • The speed of your internet link.
    • The speed at which the host can output data.
    • The size of the site and how many files are involved.
    • How the site is written.
  • Baroque Software can do nothing about the first factor but the other three can be tackled.
    • Firstly the speed the host can output the data. Hosts vary enormously. For our own hosting, data transfer speed is around 6500 Kb/sec and that puts us amongst the top ten of the UK's fastest hosts - with 100% reliability. If you want to check the speed of your own host, I suggest you try this link:
      www.webperf.net
    • Of course if your host is not there, maybe they are so slow they don’t want to have the embarrassment of public comparison. A surprising number of hosting companies have knocked themselves off this list for exactly that reason.
    • Secondly, how big is the site? This is a question that we at Baroque Software are skilled at tackling. Obviously you want good visuals but even so a compromise between size and speed can be found. We can find the right compromise as well as writing economical code for the site.
    • Thirdly and lastly why should how the site is writen make a difference? Well, when the site has been downloaded, your browser has to calculate the placement of everything on the screen. If the site is table based HTML as most sites historically have been, that will take the browser three iterations, which is to say it has to go through three complete recalculations of the layout to achieve the final layout and put it out on the screen. That is why none of Baroque Software’s site are table based HTML. Instead they are written in pure CSS. This takes longer to write. It is a much less forgiving process than writing table based HTML, but when your browser has downloaded a pure CSS site, it can place everything on the screen straight away without iterations of complex calculations. The result is speed.
  • Speed can be tested with some objectivity by setting up a fixed setup with an invariant download speed and comparing the time taken to display sites under that setup. There are several websites that do that service. Here is one:
    www.numion.com/stopwatch/
    This site downloads a script to your own computer and uses your own web link to check the speed of a site.
    An alternative approach tools.pingdom.com.
  • Jakob Nielsen says that if it takes more than 2 seconds to load your site you will lose customers. "Download time rules the web" says (see Useability). If you have difficulty believing that, see this BBC news item. Yes, ironically a BBC page! If you can get this page to load in less than 4 seconds you have very fast broadband.