Only 13% of Enterprise Websites are Mobile-friendly and Fast

If you haven’t heard of our State of the Mobile Web Reports, it’s our annual effort to benchmark the websites of bellwethers in business [and other fields] to get a sense of their general readiness for an increasingly mobile Web. You can get all the annual reports for 2016 here. We’d appreciate your feedback if you do get around to reading them.

If you pay attention to what Google says as much as we do, you’ll probably already know that they like websites that are mobile-friendly and fast. Mobile-friendliness and performance have been ranking signals at Google for some time now. However, even with the benefits of better rankings in search results, it hasn’t been an easy road for websites and their owners in the Web page optimization stakes.

In our recent enterprise report on the State of the Mobile Web, we found that only 13% [approximately] of the Fortune 1000 websites were both mobile-friendly and fast. This really shows the dearth in Web performance optimization, especially among the so-called bellwethers of enterprise. The low figure is even more staggering when you consider that about 60% of all the websites researched were mobile-friendly.

Obviously, performance optimization lags far behind optimization for mobile, but the reasons are not entirely far-fetched. Let’s drill down a little more into some of the insights.

Load Time

The percentage of websites that were fully loaded in under five (5) seconds over a cable internet [1 to 5Mbps] connection was only about 46%. Also, only 19% of all websites had a load time of less than ten (10) seconds when the connection was of 3G [0.8 to 1.6Mbps] class.

Speed Index

The percentage of websites with a Speed Index of less than 2000 measured over a cable internet connection was less than 33%. And, using a 3G connection, only 13% were able to come in below a Speed Index of 4000.

Page Size

About 43% of all websites have Web pages larger than 2 Megabytes in size.

HTTP Requests

About 79% of all websites have Web pages that use more than 40 HTTP requests to load. For fast websites, only 56% of them use more than 40 HTTP requests.

Gzip Compression

53% of all websites have Web pages that need gzip compression. This drops to 43% for fast websites.

Minification

86% of all website have Web pages that need some kind of minification i.e. CSS, JavaScript, or HTML. This drops slightly to 75% for fast websites.

Browser Caching

86% of all websites have Web pages that need to leverage browser caching. Among fast websites, this figure is virtually unchanges at 85%.

Render Blocking

This appeared to be the biggest challenge for all websites we researched. No less than 94% of all websites had Web pages that had render-blocking resources. Even among fast websites, this figure was still above 90%.

Optimize Images

This was another major challenge for websites. About 95% of all websites had Web pages that had images needing optimization. And this figure is still above 90% for fast websites. Given that images makes up about 60% of the total Web page size, optimizing images represents one of the biggest opportunities for performance optimization.


And we could probably go on and on. The bottomline is: businesses appear to be paying a whole lot more attention to mobile-friendliness than page performance. Of course, none of these are easy challenges, but here are 5 things every website owner should strive to do ASAP to improve performance:

  1. Reduce your HTTP requests by 50%: Cutting your HTTP request traffic in half would be a good first step on your way to making your website fast. We found that fast websites use half the number of HTTP requests compared to slow websites.
  2. Use Static HTML pages: Removing hypertext preprocessing from one of the chores your web server needs to do could significantly boost your TTFB (Time-to-First-Byte), especially if your hosting your website on shared infrastructure.
  3. Reduce your Web page size: The average Web page appears to have broken the 2 Mb barrier. How about you try and keep your Web pages at [or below] 1 Mb. Optimize all the images, and use gzip compression on your Web servers to keep your payload as small as possible.
  4. Minimize Render Blocking: This is a hard one, but it’s incredibly important. If you can split the resources your Web page needs to function into critical and non-critical, and then sequence critical resources to run inline and non-critical resources to run asynchronously, you will eliminate render blocking and significantly improve the browsing experience for your users.
  5. Leverage Browser Caching: Make sure that you cache as many cacheable resources as you can. Caching will prevent these resources from being downloaded every time the Web page reloads. This will cut down HTTP requests, and also the effective size of the Web page after the first run.

I should also point out that being mobile-friendly is a good thing for your website to be. We found that mobile-friendly websites had a bounce rate that was 6% less than non mobile-friendly websites. Also, we found that about 14% more time was spent on mobile-friendly websites than otherwise.

All tolled, being mobile-friendly and fast should be the default condition for websites — the new normal. Not only does it use less resources, it will cost users less (in dollars and cents) to consume your website (especially over mobile). And, most importantly, it will provide a much better browsing experience for users.

Being mobile-friendly and fast should be the new industry-standard for websites. Besides better search rankings, it provides a much better experience for users. Hopefully, businesses will pay more attention, and the Web community can also develop easier methods of making websites be the best they can be.

We know being mobile-friendly and fast isn’t easy, and we know this from experience; having worked extremely hard to get our website to be both mobile-friendly and responsive, score 100 on Pagespeed, and get a Speed Index below 2000 on cable internet. We’d like to hear what your challenges are and see if we can help. Please let us know in the comments.