Speed Kills: Your web globalization investment

Website performance is like the weather — everyone talks about it but nobody seems to do anything about it.

I read a great article recently on website performance — do check it out. In it, Tammy Everts writes: Slow pages undermine overall brand health.

But you’d be shocked if you saw how little attention many global brands devote to website performance — particularly when it comes to their international websites.

For the past eight years the Web Globalization Report Card has tracked the “weight” of the global home pages for all websites. Every year, we weigh the global home page of each website — in kilobytes. We average out total weight of a web page with the cached weight to allow for the performance of local content delivery networks (CDNs). And while I was optimistic in 2022 that we might be headed in the right direction, you can see we are clearly headed in the wrong direction.

I don’t care what kind of CDN you use, a 9MB home page is going to be slow in many markets around the world — as well as for mobile users across most developed markets, including the US.

I won’t pick on the slowest-loading websites but I will call out the most austere: Wikipedia, which comes in at under 1MB. This is one of a number of reasons why Wikipedia emerged number one overall.

Now, I don’t expect most websites to drop under 1MB anytime soon, but I recommend a goal of 3MB, and this can be achieved if you can only set limits internally. I’ve worked with a few companies that have done this and I do understand how difficult it can be to set such limitations, let alone enforce them. But the results have been extremely positive, giving brands a clear competitive advantage over their slower-loading counterparts.

For a list of website weights for all 150 websites, check out the latest report.

The 2024 Web Globalization Report Card

PS: There’s also a very strong argument to be made for reducing the size of your web pages to reduce your impact on the planet. Every kilobyte carries an environmental cost. The subject for a future post…

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