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15 page speed optimizations that sites ignore (at their own risk)

A recent analysis of twenty leading websites found a surprising number of page speed optimizations that sites are not taking advantage of – to the detriment of their performance metrics, and more importantly, to the detriment of their users and ultimately their business.

I spend a lot of time looking at waterfall charts and web performance audits. I recently investigated the test results for twenty top sites and discovered that many of them are not taking advantage of optimizations – including some fairly easy low-hanging fruit – that could make their pages faster, their users happier, and their businesses more successful.

More on this below, but first, a few important reminders about the impact of page speed on businesses...

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Performance Hero: Michelle Vu

Michelle Vu is one of the most knowledgeable, helpful, kind people you could ever hope to meet. As a founding member of Pinterest's performance team, she has created an incredibly strong culture of performance throughout Pinterest. She's also pioneered important custom metrics and practices, like Pinner Wait Time and performance budgets. We are super excited to share that Michelle is this month's Performance Hero!

Michelle is a web performance industry veteran who has spent the last seven years making Pinterest fast and reliable. She was a founding member of Pinterest's performance team, establishing foundations of their program by setting up its synthetic and real user metrics, proactive alerts, and performance analysis tools, while fostering a culture of performance across teams.

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New! Web Performance Guide

Our customers often tell us how much they appreciate the user-friendliness of the articles we create for them, so we recently decided to make them available to everyone (not just SpeedCurve users). Introducing the Web Performance Guide!

The Web Performance Guide is – as its name suggests – a collection of articles we've been writing over the years to answer the most common questions we field about performance topics like site speed, why it matters, how it's measured, website monitoring tools, metrics, analytics, and optimization techniques. 

You'll find the articles grouped into these topics...

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Performance Hero: Estela Franco

Continuing our series of Performance Heroes, this month we celebrate Estela Franco! Estela is a passionate web performance and technical SEO specialist with more than ten years of contributing to our community. She loves to talk and share about web performance optimization, technical SEO, JavaScript, and Jamstack whenever she can.

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NEW: RUM attribution and subparts for Interaction to Next Paint!

Now it's even easier to find and fix Interaction to Next Paint issues and improve your Core Web Vitals.

Heatmap table showing INP selector performance sorted by page views

Our newest release continues our theme of making your RUM data even more actionable. In addition to advanced settings, navigation types, and page attributes, we've just released more diagnostic detail for the latest flavor in Core Web Vitals: Interaction to Next Paint (INP).

This post covers:

  • Element attribution for INP 
  • A breakdown of where time is spent within INP, leveraging subparts
  • How to use this information to find and fix INP issues
  • A look ahead at RUM diagnostics at SpeedCurve

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Performance Hero: Paul Calvano

Celebrating performance wins is critical to a healthy, well-supported, high-performing team. This isn't a new idea. In fact, it's something that started in the early days of web performance when Lara Hogan, who was an engineering manager at Etsy at the time, discussed the practice of empowering people across the organization by celebrating 'performance heroes'.


In that spirit, we're reigniting the tradition of spotlighting Performance Heroes from our awesome community. It seems appropriate that we'd start with someone who is currently focused on keeping Etsy's site as fast as possible: Paul Calvano

Not only has Paul had a long career dedicated to making the web faster for some of the largest and most popular sites in the world, he is humble, incredibly talented, and one of the kindest people you'll ever meet.

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Five ways cookie consent managers hurt web performance (and how to fix them)

Cookie consent popups and banners are everywhere, and they're silently hurting the speed of your pages. Learn the most common problems – and their workarounds – with measuring performance with content manager platforms in place.

I've been spending a lot of time looking at the performance of European sites lately, and have found that the consent management platforms (CMPs) consistently create a false reality for folks when trying to understand performance using synthetic monitoring. Admittedly, this is not a new topic, but I feel it's important enough that it warrants another PSA. 

In this post, I will cover some of the issues related to measuring performance with CMPs in place and provide some resources for scripting around consent popups in SpeedCurve.

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A Complete Guide to Web Performance Budgets

It's easier to make a fast website than it is to keep a website fast. If you've invested countless hours in speeding up your site, but you're not using performance budgets to prevent regressions, you could be at risk of wasting all your efforts.

In this post we'll cover how to:

  • Use performance budgets to fight regressions
  • Understand the difference between performance budgets and performance goals
  • Identify which metrics to track
  • Validate your metrics to make sure they're measuring what you think they are – and to see how they correlate with your user experience and business metrics
  • Determine what your budget thresholds should be
  • Focus on the pages that matter most
  • Get buy-in from different stakeholders in your organization
  • Integrate with your CI/CD process
  • Synthesize your synthetic and real user monitoring data
  • Maintain your budgets

This bottom of this post also contains a collection of case studies from companies that are using performance budgets to stay fast. 

Let's get started!

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Navigate your way to better performance with prerendering and the bfcache

I was inspired by Tim Vereecke's excellent talk on noise-cancelling RUM at PerfNow this past November. In this talk, he highlighted a lot of the 'noise' that comes along with capturing RUM data. Tim's approach was to filter out the noise introduced by really fast response times that can be caused by leveraging the browser cache, prerendering, and other performance optimization techniques.

I thought Tim's focus on 'human viewable navigations' was a great approach to use when looking at how to improve user experience. But there also may be times when you want to understand and embrace the noise. Sometimes there are opportunities in the signals that we often forget are there.

In this post, I'll demonstrate how you can use SpeedCurve RUM to identify all types of navigations, their performance impact, and potential opportunities for delivering lightning-fast page speed to your users. 

We'll cover things like:

  • Understanding SPA navigations and performance
  • Whether or not to track hidden pages (such as pages opened in background tabs)
  • How to take advantage of prerendering and the back-forward cache (aka bfcache) 

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Hello INP! Here's everything you need to know about the newest Core Web Vital

After years of development and testing, Google has added Interaction to Next Paint (INP) to its trifecta of Core Web Vitals – the performance metrics that are a key ingredient in its search ranking algorithm. INP replaces First Input Delay (FID) as the Vitals responsiveness metric.

Not sure what INP means or why it matters? No worries – that's what this post is for. :)

  • What is INP?
  • Why has it replaced First Input Delay?
  • How does INP correlate with user behaviour metrics, such as conversion rate?
  • What you need to know about INP on mobile devices
  • How to debug and optimize INP

And at the bottom of this post, we'll wrap thing up with some inspiring case studies from companies that have found that improving INP has improved sales, pageviews, and bounce rate. 

Let's dive in!


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