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The Lucky 13: A Checklist for Web Site Best Practices

We’ve mentioned before that driving optimum web performance is never a one redesign event. It’s a constant for any site owner.
Take Orbitz, for example. It’s always in the top five of the Keynote Web Performance Index but even they experienced a big slowdown of its Mobile Web site in August – followed by a rapid speed up. Any particular reason? Nothing stood out but sometimes it’s out of a site’s control. For example, the reliance on a cellular network can impact performance, which can often damage the business brand.
We see a number of brands who maintain their spots at the top of the mobile index – Choice Hotels, Comfort Inn, Best Western, Motel 6,, and Travelocity. For the past month they all maintained a sub three second load time.
So how can you ensure the best performance for your site to handle the visitors and breadth of devices and networks?
One big contributor is designing the construction of your webpage objects. Both Travelocity and keep their object count under 30. This is higher than recommended for mobile sites in high traffic categories such as retail, but, travel and hospitality sites are a particularly visually-rich industry. None of the top travel or lodging sites has fewer than 20 objects.
We give Travelocity, for example, a B+ in our Keynote Health Score, primarily due to the large number of JavaScript files being used. The Keynote Health Score is a methodology we use to evaluate all the critical elements that influence site performance against industry best practices. It allows Keynote to then grade sites objectively. We’ve covered many of these various elements in past reports but to summarize, the lucky 13 key factors are:
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) File consolidation
JavaScript File consolidation
Images reduction
Content Error reduction
Accelerating First Paint
UX Time (full rendering path)
Third Party mitigation
Redirect minimization
Early Objects
File Size reduction
Deferred Processing
Cache Control
Early APIs
If brand site owners continue to make these categories a priority, and implement the best practices associated with each (which we cover in detail each month), they have an important checklist for ensuring optimum performance.
The Keynote US Lodging Performance Index – for Desktop Sites
Anyone can also sign up for a free weekly email delivery of the Index. Use it to track how your company’s performance is doing against the competition, or just to follow what some of the major names are setting as performance standards. Keynote runs a large number of US and global Indexes, across a range of industries and government, which many organizations use as the benchmark to achieve their own optimum Web performance.
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