With Instant Pages, Google launched a new product today that could significantly speed up page load times for sites that rank high in the company’s search results. There is a clear need for a product like this. While Google today said that the average website loads in about 5 seconds, new data from Aptimize, a service that specializes in making sites and apps load faster, shows that when it comes to tech news, the average site on the Techmeme leaderboard takes about 11 seconds to load. That’s 4 seconds longer than the average Fortune 500 website.
It’s worth noting that some of these sites see much faster load times for repeat loads. For Scoble’s site, for example, the load time goes down from over 30 seconds to just about 4 seconds for repeat visitors.
Full disclosure: this site ranked as the 87th “fastest” with a horrible load time of over 18 seconds when it was still called NewsGrange. That made it a bit faster than GigaOM and slightly slower then TechCrunch. Thanks to some more powerful hardware and a smarter web server configuration, pages should load significantly faster now.
It’s worth noting that Aptimize looked at how long it took these sites’ homepages to load. Individual posts will likely load a lot faster, as they generally feature significantly fewer images.
What’s Slowing These Pages Down?
According to Aptimize, these are the top reasons why some of these pages load so slowly:
[list type="tick"] [li] Advertising-heavy pages: this becomes a real issue when sites allow ads to block other content from being loaded[/li]
[li]Analytics products that run in the background, unknown to the user: Google Analytics ranks among the fastest of these statistic products[/li]
[li]Social media widget-heavy pages (including multiple Tweet, Facebook and Digg buttons per page)[/li]
[li]Improperly sized and uncompressed images [/li] [/list]
You can find the full report, including a more detailed analysis of what’s slowing these pages down here.