Internet speed has increased exponentially since the time of dial-up modems. With this speed increase has come an increase in what is called ‘website bloat’.

Understanding Website Bloat and How To Avoid it in Website Development

Put simply, website bloat is when a website has far too much data on a single page. This can be caused by over engineering, improperly sized images, importing multiple instances of the same resource, and plain old ignorance. The size of an average web page has increased by 136 times since 1995. It’s a problem that persists on almost every big name site today. From CNN to Yahoo—almost all popular sites take more than five seconds to load a single page.

Why is Website Bloat a Problem?

You may think that website bloat isn’t a problem with high speed internet being so prevalent. Well, website bloat can cause long load times which may cause visitors to a website to navigate away before the page loads. Obviously, this is not good for conversion. Here are a few more reasons why bloat can be detrimental to your website:

  • User experience suffers. Have you ever used a website where you were loathe to click the next link because you know it will take 10 seconds or more to load the page? This is a barrier to conversion.
  • It’s been shown that decreasing load times can lead to a drastic increase in conversion.
  • It affects user’s mobile data plans. Mobile phones generally have slower internet speed, data caps, and less powerful hardware. All of those things add up to slow down the loading of your website even more. This is very detrimental as mobile users generally want fast answers and fast information. Users aren’t go to give your website a second chance if it takes over 2-5 seconds to load.
  • It affects security. More and more sites are using third-party applications and code libraries. The website developers may not have a complete understanding of these applications and libraries. These libraries may also be out of date and vulnerable.

The Problem with Do it Yourself Website Builders

You may have heard of services that allow you to build your own ‘beautiful and responsive’ website without having to code. Well, these services generally rely on large proprietary code bases that users do not have access to.

A lot of the functionality of these website builders comes from multiple javascript libraries and CSS frameworks. Both of those things can make a huge impact in the weight of your site.

More and more of these sites are built everyday and are increasingly adding to the problem of website bloat; almost normalizing it. This has become such an issue that Google now deranks sites if they take too long to load.

How To Avoid Bloat In Your Website Development Strategy

Doing something about bloat is the difficult part. The first step is to start cutting off the extra fat. Check to make sure that you’re not pulling in any unnecessary libraries.

Next, make sure that your images are sized properly. After that, take a look at any fancy javascript effects your site may have and ask yourself; ‘do I really need that?’, or ‘Maybe there’s another smaller library that can do the same thing’. By hiring a professional website developer to build your site you will be able avoid building a bloated website.

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