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.

Here are the slowest loading sites among most influential tech news blogs according to Aptimize: Scobleizer, PreCentral, Cult of Mac, MocoNews and Gizmodo.

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]

Here is also a list with some of the raw data for the top 20 on the Techmeme leadderboard:

You can find the full report, including a more detailed analysis of what’s slowing these pages down here.

10 comments
kbrash01
kbrash01 5pts

@FredericL Thanks for the post! My company, Telligent, is the software that powers the Windows Team Blog. It's great to see public recognition on a well respected site as silicon filter

webdz9r
webdz9r 5pts

There is actually a lot you should clarify in your post... You need to look at whats most important. Like how long does it take for the view to actually view content. NOT how long it takes for 3rd party elements, Javascripts and widgets to actually complete. Those factors should never be involved in benchmarking a websites load time. If you look at that fact alone your top sites actually load faster then 10s. Those background elements have no effect on the user experience

MattieTK
MattieTK 5pts

@webdz9r disagree, they are intimately connected. For example: Techcrunch's initial content loads rather quickly on their homepage, but the sickening number of social widgets they have for each of their articles actually makes it impossible to scroll on Chrome on a 2010 MBP until another 7-8 seconds have elapsed.

edrob
edrob 5pts

BTW - the tests are done with WebPageTest - this is a free tool you can use yourself to test out website speeds from around the world. The team is gradually adding different browser support across locations, so soon we'll be able to benchmark with mobile devices, chrome etc. You see some speed up with newer browsers (but a 30 second load time ain't gonna become super fast), also mobile devices show much slower load times.

highmountain
highmountain 5pts

They used IE7 to test. Not sure why, as IE7 is a minority of traffic for most sites and is considerably slower than Chrome, FF4, Safari or even IE8:

"To obtain these results we used WebPageTest, a free online tool that accurately measures end-user load times (what the user actually sees) using Internet Explorer 7 from different locations around the world."

scobleizer
scobleizer 5pts

Funny, my page is readable MUCH faster than that. I guess they are counting the time for the YouTube videos to load up.

FredericL
FredericL moderator 5pts

@scobleizer I think they do indeed. That's what makes the first load slow.

FredericL
FredericL moderator 5pts

@scobleizer I just looked at the data again. For your site, loading times go down to about 4 seconds on repeat loads. That's actually among the faster repeat load times. I should clarify that in the post.