I’m not worried about you. It’s the other guy.
My teenagers are getting that look in their eyes. No, not that look. The look that says, “Dad, I really want to learn how to drive!” So, I’ve started teaching them, just a little at a time, so that when that day comes, they’ll be absolutely as prepared as possible to survive a simple drive to the grocery store with their white-knuckled mother in the passenger seat.
Part of the preparation for this event is my expression of trust in my kids. I am confident that I will do everything in my power to prepare them to drive safely, effectively, and properly, and I tell them so: “I’m not worried about you. I’m going to prepare you. I’m worried about the other drivers who won’t perform as expected.”
It’s not you. It’s the other guy.
That, unfortunately, is how web performance optimization geeks professionals are now forced to approach their own performance when they know that there will be third party ads served up on their carefully crafted pages. I know how to prepare my kids to drive, and I know what to do the first time they drive out of the driveway without a white-knuckled parent at their side (pray & cry!), but what can you do to prevent third party ads from ruining your webperf? Here are 5 suggestions.
- Get a regular Zoompf Free Scan or use webpagetest.org to determine exactly how each element on your pages is performing, or not performing as the case may be. You can easily make this task a big CYA, but it should really be about total performance, including third party ads. There’s a reason that third party ads are being served up on your web site. Hint: it sounds like “honey”.
- Measure the actual performance of those ads to determine if having fewer but better performing (e.g., faster loading) ads would help the page’s overall performance. Here, we don’t mean only the loading speed of the ads, but the click through rates of each ad. If nobody is clicking on an ad, should it even be there, slowing down your web page?
- Involve company leadership to determine what the goals of the page or site are. If the #1 goal is absolutely 100% ad revenue, then you may be fighting a tough battle. However, you have the knowledge that, if a page loads really, really slowly, it doesn’t matter what the goal is because it won’t be achieved. Visitors will simply leave. If the top goal is user experience, which always includes great performance, then you may have the ability to get rid of some of those ads, or at least optimize their performance as much as possible.
- Test using a least common denominator approach, rather than testing in a vacuum. What we mean by this is that you should test using the worst possible functional devices you can get your hands on, and see how your pages/sites perform on those old, slow devices. That means mobile devices, too! Check Google Analytics (or whatever web analytics package you use) and determine what percentage of your visitors are using a mobile device, and then test for webperf on old versions of those devices.
- Experiment with fewer ads, bigger ads, more ads, different ad types, different third party services, etc. The digital marketing experience is about iteration towards the best possible solution. Web performance can be approached in much the same way.
Your kids – your website is your baby, right?? – can be really well prepared to perform optimally, and you cannot predict what that other driver, the third party ad, will do. But you can test those third party ads and make sure they are doing their best.
If you are interested in making sure you are protected and prepared against all types of performance issues, then you will love Zoompf. We have a number of free tools that help you detect and correct front-end performance issues on your website: check out our free report to analyze your website for common performance problems, and if you like the results consider signing up for our free alerts to get notified when changes to your site slow down your performance.