Hooray for crude solutions

The good folks at GigaOm take note of a study that shows how web pages have increased in size:

…The HTTP Archive charted the growth of the average web page and found that average web pages have grown from 726 KB a year ago to 965 KB now…

And a graph:

gigaom-chart

GigaOm’s main point is how this growth impacts usage by people visiting sites via mobile. People will bump into their data caps sooner, thus you should make a mobile-friendly site. Fair enough.

My own take on this is if your pages are getting fatter, then they will be slower to download in all cases. This annoys visitors, and negatively impacts your search engine optimization — since Google penalizes slow sites.

The elegant way to address this problem is to clean up your design, tidy page markup, consolidate style sheets, etc.

A¬†cheaper solution may be to throw hardware at the problem. Two weeks ago, I¬†upgraded the server that hosts a number of client websites. Some sites got remarkably more responsive. Here’s the average page load time of one (lower is faster and thus better):

website-response-time

My incremental expenditure was $50 per month. That’s cheaper than just about any page optimization effort.