Tim Morrow discusses the impact that your web site's performance can have on your business.
Shopzilla is a popular online market place that also provides product reviews. It serves an audience of over 40 million shoppers each month, and that's a decent scale of operation. Tim is its lead architect.
In recounting specific measures that the Shopzilla development team undertook in order to speed up the website, Tim offers interesting insights that you will find useful, whether you are a business person or you work on the technical side of things. He keeps it to-the-point and his point is: people like fast web sites. If you improve your website's performance, you'll get more page views and more conversions (read sale). The reverse is just as true. You have to constantly keep at it, though. That's the price, but it pays for itself and then some more. And this isn't another sermon on the mount. Tim has numbers to prove his game. He tells you how.
Measures to improve performance at Shopzilla included server side optimizations like detecting code smells, flushing the buffer of the response stream on the web server, page-level optimization techniques like output caching, rendering image sprites, minifying heavy objects, using software tools to analyze raw HTTP traffic, to mock requests over limited bandwidth, to get a metric of response time variables such as the Time to First Byte (TTFB), and the response times for loading the various parts of a web page, to deployment strategies such as using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).
The new, faster Shopzilla's recovered its investment in these improvements in just 2 months. Any revenue thereafter was a surplus. And a review of the hardware utilization saved them another $480,000. Sweet!
Now that Google's page ranking algorithm has evolved to consider a web site's performance as one of the key ingredients in deciding its rank in search results, the issue of performance has assumed even more importance from the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) point-of-view. If you thought performance was only a nice thing to have, and not an absolute requirement, especially if your website is an eCommerce application, listening to this talk may just change your mind for good.
Tim Morrow. as the lead Architect at Shopzilla, Inc, is responsible for the design, implementation, and performance of the company’s 8 sites. Tim has over 10 years of experience leading web site design and development. Prior to joining Shopzilla, Tim developed software to support the provisioning of mobile devices and application delivery to mobile devices at Qualcomm. From 2000-2004 he was a key contributor to startup, Project.net. Tim obtained his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Science from Queens University in Belfast.
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