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The Fastest Website in Rugby

Speed. It makes a huge difference in rugby. A sleight of hand. A short burst through a gap. A try saving tackle. In all these cases, speed is the common factor that can ultimately make the difference between winning and losing games.

The success of a website is based on a number of foundations, one of which is also speed. Users don’t like to hang around, endlessly waiting for web pages to load. Slow page load speed can therefore have myriad effects on a business and should have an important focus as part of any company’s digital strategy. You only have to see the emphasis Google has placed on mobile page speeds with AMP and Facebook with Instant Articles

So how can slow page speed affect a business? Decreased customer satisfaction, poor brand engagement, missed opportunities and ultimately, lost revenue are all consequences of poor site performance. It is difficult enough getting users onto your site, you don’t want to lose them just because pages aren’t downloading quickly.  

 

It is important to remember that whilst some sites load very quickly, they may not actually display much of relevance to the user initially and still risk losing users. First Meaningful Paint is a new performance metric used by web developers that asks how long it takes for the user to see primary content instead of just a nav bar. We work really hard making our websites superfast and are proud of our record, most recently with Leicester Tigers website. It officially tops the speed charts versus other Premiership rugby sites, loading meaningful content within just 488 milliseconds. Most importantly, Leicester Tigers are already starting to see the results with more repeat users of the site, lower bounce rate and higher ticket sales. Now it is up to the players to top the Premiership as well!

You can view the full results for yourself on webpagetest.org

 
First Meaningful Paint Premiership Chart

First Meaningful Paint of Premiership Club Homepages, Source: Webpagetest.org

So how do we make websites load as fast as possible?

  • Designing for performance - website performance starts with design. So Clock weigh every design choice’s impact on page speed against its impact on your site’s conversion rate.

  • Optimising requests - the cleaner the markup, the fewer requests the browser has to make, and the less time users will spend waiting for their browser to make those round trips. So by default we minimise all HTML, CSS, and JavaScript served to users.

  • Optimising images - as the average user’s screen resolutions has increased, so has the average page weight of websites. We are constantly reviewing the effects of additional images on loading time, and compress and optimise all image to remove every last unnecessary byte.

  • Taking advantage of cache - the use of server level caching and CDNs means that users are only ever given the files that they need. And never more than once.

  • Measuring performance - continual testing and benchmarking with leading industry tools, from multiple global locations, and across a variety of connection speeds, provides the tools to determine performance optimisations are paying off.