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Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization

Don't make me wait!

That's the message web users give us in survey after survey. Even high bandwidth users find web sites too slow. And with millions of sites to choose from, they simply won't wait for slow sites. The problem? Bloated web pages. True, server load and network bottlenecks can hurt, but page size and complexity are the real satisfaction killers.

The solution? Web site optimization (WSO). To win your share of users, you've got to adopt the WSO mantra: "every byte counts." Every extra byte you send puts a barrier between you and your users. In this book, you'll discover techniques that can save anywhere from a few bytes to 30 to 60 percent off your entire bandwidth bill.


  • Figure I.1 - Web Connection Speed Trends - U.S. home users
  • Figure I.2 - Download times of Keynote Consumer 40 - 56K modems

Further Reading


The Art & Science of Web Design
An advanced guide to web design, including a chapter on speed. By Jeffrey Veen (New Riders, 2001).
Designing Web Graphics 4
For a great introduction to web design (it's not just about graphics). By Lynda Weinman (New Riders, 2003).
Designing Web Usability
For baked-in usability, including a section on response times, try Jakob Nielsen's best selling book (New Riders, 2000).
Web Design in a Nutshell, 2nd ed.
For a distilled reference. By Jennifer Niederst (O'Reilly, 2001).
Web Performance Tuning, 2nd ed.
A server-oriented look at performance. By Patrick Killelea (O'Reilly, 2002).
Web Style Guide, 2nd ed.
Wonderfully illustrated introduction to web design. By Patrick Lynch and Sarah Horton (Yale University Press, 2002). See also


A Performance Analysis of 40 e-Business Web Sites
By Patrick Mills and Chris Loosley, CMG Journal of Computer Resource Management, no. 102 (2001): 28-33. From Oct. 1997 to Jan. 2001 B2B sites cut their average response times from 12 to 2.6 seconds.
Nielsen's Law of Internet Bandwidth
By Jakob Nielsen, in Alertbox (April 5, 1998). Processing power is increasing faster than bandwidth (Moore > Metcalf).
Web Page Design and Download Time (PDF, 740K)
By Jing Zhi, CMG Journal of Computer Resource Management, no. 102 (2001): 40-55. Shows the factors that affect download times for threaded and non-threaded browsers.
Keynote's resource library
This page has performance-related white papers.
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Last modified: January 11, 2010.

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