Have you ever left a website because it was too slow? Go ahead, raise your hand — I know I have. The speed of a site is analogous to the travelling speed on a road. If you’re driving along on one road and traffic starts to slow down, you’ll take a different route, if possible. Online, the same thing happens all the time.
37signals has a post up How Basecamp Next got to be so fast without using much client-side UI and the whole post is about making the app fast. Really fast. In fact, after reading the article, it appears one of the main reasons they’re re-building the product from the ground-up is to make it much faster. I’ve used their current product and it feels fine. Making their product 3x faster will make it feel great.
Rigor (web performance management) has a new tool that will grade the performance of any public website and breakdown all the issues, much like YSlow, but this is generated on the server-side so that it is shareable and doesn’t require a browser plug-in. Take a look at speed.rigor.com and give it a try.
Site and app speed is a competitive differentiator and should be treated as such from the beginning. It is much easier to start with a fast site and ensure it remains fast than to retrofit a complicated one later.
What else? Do you agree that site speed is a competitive differentiator?