Bandwidth, storage space and computing power (CPU/RAM/etc.) on your web servers represent a distinct and noteworthy cost for any company with a major online presence.
As traffic to a company’s website increases, most opt to throw money at the problem. More servers. Caching systems. More bandwidth.
But these are Band-Aids—temporary solutions to the problem, solutions that will only suffice for so long before yet another round of “throw money at the problem” is required to keep up with ever-growing web traffic.
The real problem is simple: Your web pages are just plain too big.
Way too big. Enormously large. The average website is 2.9 MB in size (as of May 15, 2017). And that’s just the average—an average that is growing. Fast.
Just six months prior, in November 2016, the average was closer to 2.4 MB. One year before that, in November 2015? It was 2.2 MB. In 2014? It was 1.9 MB. And in 2013? 1.6 MB.
That’s right. The average size of a web page has almost doubled in the last 3 1/2 years. At the current growth rate during 2017 (more than 1 MB per year), the average web page will clock in at over 8 MB in the next five years.
Many (many) websites are far larger the average. CNN.com, for example, currently clocks in at a whopping 5 MB. And that’s for a website that is supposed to just show us the news headlines. Is CNN.com dramatically more useful than it was 3 1/2 years ago? No way. Same basic value and content—but the page sure did load a lot faster back then (even on slower internet connections).
The larger the website, the more bandwidth and storage space is needed. If your website, for example, was 3 MB, and you manage to reduce the page size down to 2.5 MB—you’ve just saved nearly 17 percent on your bandwidth costs. And that is with a measly reduction of 500K in website size.
And, let’s be honest with ourselves, most corporate or organizational websites (we’re talking single pages here, such as the home page) shouldn’t need to be even 1 MB, let alone 3 MB. If you can get your size down from 3 MB to less than 1 MB? You’ve just cut your bandwidth needs down to one-third of what they were. Serious cost savings.
Not to mention the fact that visitors to your website will now experience page load times significantly faster than your competitors—thus increasing the likelihood that those visitors will stick around and actually read your content.
2 ways to reduce website size
So, how do you get there? How do you get page sizes down so small?
Two simple strategies:
- Use fewer images and optimize them better. This is an easy one. Very few web developers will disagree with this statement. So, spend your time focused on item #1 above.
Not to mention the fact that if your website loads well in something as “old school” as the lynx web browser, it will almost certainly render properly in almost every web browser on the planet, thus earning you additional platform and browser compatibility without any extra work.
Save money. Make visitors happier. Have a larger potential visitor base.