Speed is King, Content is Queen

When people think of the “King” some might think of Elvis or Michael Jackson. Being a redneck-nerd, I think of Dale Earnhardt and a chess king. When talking about the web, a lot of people say: “Content is King”. I’m going to run with my chess theme- I believe “Content is Queen” and “Speed is King”.

In chess losing your queen, is almost as bad as losing the game, you can still play, however, it’s a lot harder to play without a queen. So you can still play with poor content (your game will suck) but, you can’t even play the game without a king. If your site is slow, and not helping the user meet their goals fast, you can’t even play— checkmate baby.

People do not want to wait, and it’s only going to get worse. I don’t see a wave of patience sweeping across the world anytime soon; I’m the worlds worst if I see a loading screen taking too long, I’m gone! Interrupt my goal of finding a burlap teddy for my wife for Valentines Day with a stupid survey, I’m gone! I’m shopping somewhere else. (I’m joking about the burlap teddy). Microsoft seems to think that 250 milliseconds is the magic number for having a competitive advantage.

Speed up your site with lean coding and goal-driven design

  • Obviously hardware, uptime and bandwidth is going to be a factor here. Make sure, your site is fast and reliable. Periodically monitor your site for any changes.
  • Make sure, your page validates. This will make sure users are seeing your content, the way it should be seen.
  • Follow the recommendations of Yahoo and try to score an “A”. Another good resources is Google Page Insights.
  • Avoid the bloat in content management systems and frameworks. When I view the source and see a site loading 12 JS files and 9 CSS files, I cringe. What about those speedy frameworks? Is the latest and greatest CSS framework worth the 200k download? Find out the how many files users are downloading and the size of your page here.
  • Are your goals and your visitors goals clearly defined? Know the main things that people want to do on your web site and make them obvious and easy.
  • Please don’t block first-time users with unrealistic prompts. Why would a first-time user want to sign up for a survey, like you on Facebook or give you their information before they get to know you?

“Every millisecond matters.”

Arvind Jain
Google Engineer

If milliseconds matter, a user might leave a site before they even get to view the content — Speed is King.