Performance is important in all aspects of life, and none more than business.

Oxford Dictionaries define performance as “A task or operation seen in terms of how successfully it is performed”

and this should be applied to every aspect of your business, including your website.

When it comes to performance metrics there are some key statistics you should be measuring on your website including page load speed, page size and number of requests. This is where size truly does matter.

We aim for the below performance metrics, and these are greatly affected by the number of requests and page size, but what does this actually mean? What can we do about it? Why does it even matter?

Performance Aims

Item Aim
First byte (time for server to respond) <-0.3s
Render Start (starts to serve page) < 1s
Load speed (time to complete page) 1-2s
Page size < 0.8 MB
Requests (amount of items transferred) < 30

Terms explained

  • First byte - is a good indication of how well the server is set up.
  • Render Start - is when the page starts to display its elements to users.
  • Load speed - is the total time it takes for the page to load.
  • Page size - is directly related to load speed. This shows the amount of data being received by the browser in order to display the page.
  • Requests - are the number of separate items that a user has to load to render the page.

What does this mean for you and your users?

  • If your page size is large and you have a high number of requests the page will load more slowly.
  • The more requests you have the more possibility for errors and the slower the website.
  • The more users who visit your site the higher the chance your site will break particularly if your pages are large and you have a lot of requests. This depends on your resources and caching of your site.*

What can be done about it?

  • Ditch shared hosting in favour of a VPS (virtual private server), dedicated server or cloud hosting.
  • Ensure an experienced system administrator has correctly set up your server, tuned it, tweaked it and optimised it for performance.
  • Load the smallest size and make sure your images are compressed, your JavaScript and CSS are both compressed and minified, and you are not loading anything that the user can’t interact with.
  • Reduce the number of requests required.

Why does it matter?

Improved user experience.

If it takes more than 3 seconds for a page to load the rate of abandonment is greatly increased. This can have a significant effect of the number of qualified leads you gather, the user journey, the number of sales, the time spent on the site and ultimately your conversion rate.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Google’s algorithm favours websites with fast page load speeds. The reason being that the faster a website is the more likely the user will have a positive and worthwhile experience.


If a site takes a long time to load, the elements don’t render correctly and there are lots of errors it can have a direct impact of the users impression of your company. Organisations with poorly performing websites are viewed as less trustworthy.

Mobile friendly.

The larger your page size and the higher the number of requests the worse your site will perform on browsers on mobile devices. With Google favouring mobile friendly sites in their search rankings, and the rate of mobile browsing overtaking desktop internet use this is significant.