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Optimization Week Issues

Optimization Week Issue #136, Jan. 3, 2018

The Best Travel Tripod: Optimizing a Gitzo GT4552TS
You can tailor your tripod to your own needs with third party parts.
PPC Optimization: Ad Text
Learn the best practices of PPC ad text optimization.
PPC Optimization: Ad Extensions
Adding ad extensions to Call Only campaigns can boost click-through and conversion rates by 15% or more.
PPC Optimization: Early Warning
In Google Adwords, you can use phone call metrics as an early warning system to optimize text ad conversion performance.
PPC Optimization: Wordplay & Humor
Humor and wordplay can make your advertising stand out from the crowd.
PPC Optimization: Strange Attraction
Learn how using strange attraction in your ad text can lower CPC and boost CTR and conversions.
Teachthought.com Dedicated Server Upgrade
In this case study, moving from a shared to dedicated server improved TTFB by 75% and repeat view load times by 70%.

Optimization Week Issue #135, Dec. 21, 2016

PPC Optimization: Gender Targeting
Learn how to squeeze more leads out of your PPC spend by targeting high performing demographics singly or in combination.
PPC Optimization: Age Range Targeting
You can target specific age ranges in Google Adwords to optimize conversion rates.
PPC Optimization: ZIP Code Targeting
Learn how to add ZIP code targeting to your PPC campaigns to boost conversion rates.
Using a Wordpress Caching Plugin for Website Speed
Learn how a caching plugin can speed up your site by 22% to 58%.
Optimizing Youtube Video Loading Speed
We show a JavaScript technique that substitutes static "poster" images for the videos speeding up page load times by nearly a factor of 5.
Optimizing the Arca Swiss B1 Ball Head
Extend the life of your ball head and save weight by rebuilding with lightweight components.
PPC Optimization: Average Income Targeting
Targeting your desired audience within particular geographic area using income is a powerful tool you can use to improve your conversion rates.
Call Only PPC Optimization II
Learn how adding more Call Only PPC ads can increase your conversion rate and reduce the cost of phone calls.

Optimization Week Issue #134, June 18, 2015

Optimizing a Complex Site for Pagespeed II
In Part II of our series on speed optimizing a complex site we explore caching plugins.
Optimizing a Complex Site for Pagespeed
In this article we show how to boost the Pagespeed scores of mymanhattancosmeticdentist.com with mod_pagespeed, some manual tweaks, and the WPOptimize Speed Plugin.
Google adds Mobile Responsive Ranking Factor
With Google now factoring in mobile responsiveness to search rankings, making your site mobile responsive has just become more important.
Case Study: WordPress Theme Optimization
This article tests the benefits of optimized WordPress themes and hosting.

Optimization Week Issue #133, February 25, 2015

Empirical Study of Web Site Speed on Search Engine Rankings
This empirical study found that website crawl time and its variability strongly correlates with search engine position.
Case Study: Responsive Design of PhillyDentistry.com Results
A new responsive design improved key metrics for both desktop and mobile visitors.
Case Study: PhillyDensitry.com Responsive Redesign
A new responsive design for PhillyDentistry.com tested about twice as fast.
Healthcare.gov One Year Performance Review
After one year of improvements, how fast is the healthcare.gov website?
Case Study: PhiladelphiaOrthodontists.com Mobile Responsive Redesign
What happens when you convert a site to be mobile responsive?
Case Study: Walkerworldtrade.com Server Upgrade
Moving to a faster server can cut page load times by more than half, and improve behavior metrics like conversion and exit rates.
Form Conversion Rate Optimization
Learn how a combination of form optimization and speed improved conversion rates by more than 92%,
Upgrade to a Faster Server: Results
We further explore the results of upgrading to a faster server. Overall the site showed improved response speed and website "stickiness."
Upgrade to a Faster Server
Upgrading to a faster server can improve web page speed significantly, up to 66% faster for first paint time and 29% for load times.

Optimization Week Issue #132, August 20, 2014

CONTEST: Free Pass to Velocity NYC
We've teamed up with O'Reilly to offer subscribers a chance to win a free 2-day pass to the O'Reilly Velocity Conference in New York, a $1650 value.
NET NEWS: Google Uses HTTPS as Ranking Factor
Google has announced that they are now using HTTPS as a search ranking signal. In an effort to make the Internet safer, Google is now factoring in HTTPS encryption as a ranking signal to about 1% of global queries. WSO is rolling out a faster server service with optional HTTPS to keep pace.
Website Speed and SEO
Having a consistently "responsive" site will ensure that your site will be crawled and fully indexed, and will not suffer slow-loading ranking penalties.
Average Web Page Breaks 1600K
The size of the average web page passed 1600K for the first time in July.

Optimization Week Issue #131, Mar. 26, 2014

Beware HTTP Redirects for SEO and Performance
Standardizing on an authoritative URL form is a best practice for search engine optimization and performance.
Why Simple Websites are Scientifically Better
In short, visual complexity gets in the way of conversions.
Install Mod_Pagespeed
Installing mod_pagespeed can make significant improvements in web page performance. We test the module on an example site.
DC Tops in US Broadband Speed
The District of Columbia had the fastest average broadband speed in the USA.
Avoid Mass Web Hosting
We investigate moving an example site from a slow mass host to a lightly loaded host.

Optimization Week Issue #130, Nov. 29, 2013

Speedy Mobile Sites Impact Google Search Rankings
Having a speedy mobile site affects your search engine rankings.
Use a Website Accelerator
Automated website acceleration products can speed up your site without developer intervention.
Velocity 2013 New York City Highlights
We've got highlights of the first every Velocity NYC.

Optimization Week Issue #129, October 5, 2013

Healthcare.gov Performance Review
We diagnose the website performance issues of the healthcare.gov site, and offer some solutions to improve the patient's health.
Mexico Tops in Broadband Growth
Mexico was tops in broadband penetration growth in a recent survey.
Optimize Start Render Time
HCI guidelines say load useful content within 1-2 seconds, do your pages measure up?

Optimization Week Issue #128, March 25, 2013

Speed Up Your Netbook
Learn how to speed up your netbook or low-powered laptop with more memory, a solid state drive, and software on a Toshiba NB525 netbook.
Over 700 Million People on Mobile Broadband
More than 700 million people subscribe to mobile broadband plans worldwide, according to a recent survey.
New Zealand Tops in Broadband Growth Worldwide
New Zealand topped all countries in broadband growth in a recent survey.
Average Web Video Duration 5.4 Minutes
The average web video has grown by 20% in the last 2 years.

Optimization Week Issue #127, Dec. 3, 2012

Localize External Resources
Ah the perils of third-party widgets. Even popular offsite widgets can slow down or hang your web pages. Learn how to localize offsite resources to improve web page performance.
Average Number of Web Page Objects Breaks 100
The size and complexity of web pages has increased at an alarming rate.
Average Web Page Size Triples Since 2008
Within the last five years, the size of the average web page has more than tripled, and the number of external objects has more than doubled.
FCC Tests Broadband Performance Among Large ISPs, Part II
In terms of web performance, the most effective upgrade consumers can make is moving from 1-3 Mbps to 6-10 Mbps broadband.
FCC Tests Wired Broadband Performance Among Large ISPs, Part I
Although the gap between advertised and actual broadband speeds is closing among US ISPs, there is still a 25-33 percentage point difference between the fastest and slowest providers at identical speed tiers,
Newsletter Delivery Change
We have switched our delivery software from our old vender to a new open source solution for this Optimization Week newsletter.

Optimization Week Issue #126, April 30, 2012

Blocking JavaScript with Web Page Test
Learn how to simulate the elimination of JavaScript with Web Page Test.
Blocking CSS with Web Page Test to Simulate Elimination of CSS
Learn how to simulate the elimination of CSS with Web Page Test.
2012 Olympics to Strain Broadband Networks
The 2012 London Olympics could place a major strain on the existing broadband infrastructure, warns the ISPA.
Newsletter Delivery Change
Due to a price increase, we are switching our delivery software from our old vender to a new open source solution for this Optimization Week newsletter.

Optimization Week Issue #125, March 17, 2012

New Service: SEO Analysis Tool
This web-based tool automatically analyzes your site to check for any architectural, content, and linking issues that could harm your search rankings.
New Service: Internet Marketing for Dentists
Announcing our new dental-specific marketing service from WSO.
US and Canada Drop in Broadband Penetration Worldwide
The United States and Canada both dropped in worldwide broadband rankings last year, according to a recent broadband survey.

Optimization Week Issue #124, January 13, 2012

1.2 Billion Active Mobile Broadband Users
There are over 1.2 billion active mobile broadband users worldwide, according to a recent survey.
Diagnosing Slow Web Servers with Time to First Byte
You can test for slow server response times with the time to first byte metric.
Rural States Go Wireless
Rural states in the US are adopting wireless technology at a faster clip than urban states.
Upcoming AdWords policy
Google is now enforcing a policy of requiring a privacy policy disclosure on sites that use Adwords advertising.

Optimization Week Issue #123, September 9, 2011

JPEGmini: More Efficient Image Compression
JPEGmini is JPEG optimization software that reduces the size of photographs by up to 5 or 6 times, while maintaining their visual quality.
US Broadband Penetration Drops to 27th Place Worldwide
The United States dropped two places in broadband penetration rankings in just over a year, according to a survey by Point Topic.
Website Optimization: An Hour a Day (upcoming book)
Rich Page has announced that he will be writing a new book for Wiley titled, Website Optimization: An Hour a Day.

Optimization Week Issue #122, August 15, 2011

Average Web Video Size Triples Since 2003
The size of the average web video has more than tripled since 2003.
The Benefits of Broadband
A recent report on the spread of broadband throughout the world quantified the many benefits of broadband.
Velocity 2011 Web Performance Conference
Highlights from the 2011 installment of O'Reilly's Velocity web performance conference, held in Santa Clara, CA in June.
Average Web Page Size Septuples Since 2003
Within the last eight years, the size of the average web page has more than septupled, and the number of external objects has more than tripled.
FCC Broadband Report: Higher GDP = Higher Broadband Adoption
The FCC's annual broadband report found a strong correlation between broadband adoption and income.
Page Speed Online
The online version of Google's Page Speed browser extension features a new mobile web page analysis mode.
Apple iTunes Penetration Closing Gap with Microsoft
Apple is closing the gap with Microsoft in streaming media player share

Optimization Week Issue #121, March 31, 2011

Serving 2012 Olympic Tickets: Long2012 15, CoSport 0
The race is on to get tickets to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.
NET NEWS: The HTTP Archive Launches
The HTTP Archive is a permanent repository of web performance information, including page size, composition, and download speed.
BANDWIDTH REPORT: Over 2 Billion Internet Users Worldwide
More than 2 billion people use the Internet worldwide, according to a recent survey.

Optimization Week Issue #120, March 15, 2011

European Mobile Broadband Penetration Nearly Twice the Americas
Europe leads the world in mobile broadband penetration with nearly twice the adoption rate of the Americas.
Speed Optimizing Google Analytics
Learn how to speed up web pages that use Google Analytics with a few simple changes, while maintaining its advantages for faster- loading sites.

Optimization Week Issue #119, Feb. 2, 2011

ETags Revisited
Learn how to configure or eliminate ETags to improve website performance.
SEO TIP: ZIP Code Optimization
Learn how to use ZIP codes as a shortcut to geographically SEO optimize websites.
NET NEWS: SiteSpect AMPS Mobile Multivariate Testing
SiteSpect has developed a non-intrusive multivariate testing product that doesn't require any coding changes to websites, but uses a reverse proxy server instead.

Optimization Week Issue #118, January 6, 2011

Nearly Two-Thirds of US Broadband Subscribers are Wireless
Most broadband subscribers in the US are wireless, according to a recent survey.
New Case Studies Section Launched
We've launched a new case studies section of the WebsiteOptimization.com web site.
US Broadband Gaps Analyzed
Broadband adoption has increased by nearly 7-fold from 2001 to 2009, from 9% to 63.5%.

Optimization Week Issue #117, November 16, 2010

Automatically Speed Up Your Site with mod_pagespeed for Apache
mod_pagespeed is an open-source Apache module that automatically speeds up web sites.
US Broadband Speed Jumps to 16th Worldwide
The US has improved its broadband speed rankings from 22nd to 16th worldwide.
Boost Conversions with Clickthrough Heatmaps - Crazy Egg
Visualize your visitor behavior with click heatmaps from Crazy Egg.

Optimization Week Issue #116, October 8, 2010

What to Expect from a Web Performance Audit
Google's new search rank measure, site speed, is one more reason to make sure your pages fly. Find out what to look for in a web performance audit.
Apple to Pass Microsoft in Streaming Media Players by Early 2011
Apple is poised to pass Microsoft in the streaming media player market, according to a recent survey.
Two-Thirds of Americans on Broadband
While two-thirds of adult Americans now use broadband, the spread of broadband in the US has slowed dramatically over the past year. growth.

Optimization Week Issue #115, September 14, 2010

Average Web Page Size Quintuples Since 2003
Within the last six years, the size of the average web page has more than quintupled, and the number of external objects has more than doubled.
Andrew King Interviewed by Joshua Bixby of Strangeloop Networks
Joshua Bixby interviewed Andrew King about the web performance industry.
CBC Radio's Spark
Heard a great radio program on the way back from Canada: CBC radio's Spark.
Velocity 2010 Web Performance Conference
Highlights from the Velocity 2010 conference on web performance.
US Stays at 15th Place in Broadband Penetration Worldwide
The US remained at 15th place in broadband penetration worldwide, according to a recent survey.

Optimization Week Issue #114, May 4, 2010

WebPageAnalyzer.com Server Upgraded
Over the weekend we upgraded our server devoted to the Web Page Analyzer to improve response times and to increase capacity.
Apple Bites into Microsoft's Streaming Media Lead
Who will get the biggest piece of the streaming media pie? By sometime next year it could very well be Apple.
US Drops to 22nd in Broadband Speed Worldwide - Fastest Broadband Cities: College Towns
The average connection speed in the United States fell from 18th to 22nd place worldwide in the last quarter of 2009.

Optimization Week Issue #113, April 13, 2010

Page Speed Factored into Google Search Rankings
Google's addition of a page speed signal to its search rankings algorithm officially links performance with search engine marketing.
New Polish and Simplified Chinese Translations of Website Optimization Book
O'Reilly has released two new foreign language translations of our Website Optimization Secrets book.
PNG24 and PNG Optimization
Which program is the alpha transparency dog of PNG optimization?
Study: Two-Thirds of World Mobile Subscribers
Over two-thirds of the world's inhabitants have a mobile subscription, which is driving more Internet users to use wireless broadband connections.
US Broadband Penetration Drops to 25th Worldwide
The US dropped to 25th place in broadband penetration worldwide, according to a recent survey.

Optimization Week Issue #112, January 25, 2010

Anatomy of a Redesign
A behind the screens look at a recent redesign of WebsiteOptimization.com.
Study: Americans Lead World in Broadband Use
The US ranks near the top in Internet usage.

Optimization Week Issue #111, December 17, 2009

Website Grader
This new SEO too analyzes your site using twenty on-site, and off-site criteria. On-site criteria include metadata, headings, image alt tags, and readability level.
FCC Identifies Broadband Gaps
A Harvard study commissioned by the FCC found that open access to broadband lines through local loop "unbundling" is one key factor in fostering widespread adoption of broadband in the US and other countries.
Thousand Islands Life Publishes Andy King's Photos
In an unrelated to Website Optimization topic, I was fortunate enough to be published recently in Thousand Ialands Life, an online magazine devoted to life in the Thousand Islands region of upstate New York and southern Ontario, Canada.

Optimization Week Issue #110, October 14, 2009

Book Review: The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited
This newly revised (nearly 70% new) book delves into how to trigger, spread, accelerate, and measure mainly positive buzz about your company.
Memory Markers and the Subjective Duration of Experience
New research shows that Web developers need to balance the need to create rich, immersive experiences with tolerable download times and scant distractions.
Monaco Wins Broadband Jackpot
Monaco trumped the world with the highest broadband penetration rate of 47.4 percent among all countries surveyed.

Optimization Week Issue #109, September 18, 2009

US Broadband Speed 18th Worldwide - Delaware Broadband Fastest
The US came in 18th worldwide in average connection speed, growing at about half the worldwide average increase over the past year.
Web Page Performance Thesis
We summarize a Ph.D. thesis on web page performance that quantifies the key factors in web page response times.
Film vs. Digital
Dr. Roger Clark has shown that resolution alone does not properly quantify apparent image quality, the signal to noise ratio of the capture medium must be taken into account.
Leica Releases the M9
Leica has released the first full frame digital camera, the M9.
Majority of Americans Wireless
More than half of all Americans have accessed the Internet by wireless means, according to a recent survey.
Japanese Broadband Nears 50% Fiber
Japan is poised to break an important milestone this summer, with 50% of broadband users on high-speed fiber-optic lines.

Optimization Week Issue #108, May 20, 2009

Interview with Andrew B. King
Author Andrew B. King was interviewed on VoiceAmerica talk radio on Thursday May 21, 2009 at 7pm EST (4pm Pacific time) in a one hour show. Host Stephan Jacob interviewed the author of Website Optimization Secrets, from O'Reilly on optimizing websites, and quizzed him on his related song knowledge.

Optimization Week Issue #107, April 28, 2009

Usability Study: Men Need Speed
In a recent usability survey, researchers from Southern Illinois University found that after ease of use, men prefer fast download speed to easy navigation.
Study: Web Users Prefer Speed Over Customization
The most important interface design factor is speed, according to a new HCI study.

Optimization Week Issue #106, Mar. 16, 2009

Apple Streaming Media Players Target Microsoft - European Broadband Grows 20% to 110.5 Million Connections - US Broadband Growth Slows to 59% Penetration
The popularity of Apple's iTunes and QuickTime players has grown from 32% to 36.4% over the past year, while Microsoft's Windows Media Player has remained unchanged at 50.7% share.
UK Broadband Penetration Breaks 95% - US Broadband Penetration Grows to 93.4% among Active Internet Users
Broadband penetration in the UK has gone so high that the Office for National Statistics has discontinued its quarterly reporting of broadband growth.

Optimization Week Issue #105, Feb. 14, 2009

Offload Resource Intensive Scripts to Improve Performance
This article shows how offloading resource intensive scripts can significantly improve web server performance.
Average UK Broadband Speed Is 3.6Mbps
Broadband subscribers in the UK experience an average download speed of 3.6Mbps, only a fraction (45%) of the advertised speed of up to 8Mbps.
WSO Redesign Progress
We've finally redesigned the WebsiteOptimization.com web site (pending).

Optimization Week Issue #104, December 29, 2008

Average Top 100 Weblog Performance Survey
We compare the home page performance of the top 100 weblogs with the top 1000 websites.
Universal Broadband Plan Calls for $44 billion in Spending
The new Obama administration has pledged to deploy next-generation broadband to every community in America, but has offered few specifics. The Free Press has published a specific plan to accomplish broadband for all.
New Adaptive Multivariate Testing Service
WSO's new adapive multivariate testing service quickly finds the best combination of elements to maximize the conversion rate of your PPC landing pages.
Google Online Marketing Challenge
Professors, you have until January 23, 2009 to register for Google's annual online marketing challenge.

Optimization Week Issue #103, November 18, 2008

Universal TV White Space Broadband?
The FCC has released the 'white spaces' of unused television spectrum to the public.
Slashdot Reviews Website Optimization Secrets
Slashdot has reviewed the Nighthawk book, calling it engaging and comprehensive.

Optimization Week Issue #102, October 29, 2008

O'Reilly Books on Web Performance
We sum up the available books on web performance from O'Reilly.
UK to pass Canada in Broadband Penetration in 2008
The UK will pass Canada in broadband penetration in late 2008, according to projections by Website Optimization.
Italian Book Review of Website Optimization Secrets
Paulo De Nictolis has reviewed the Nighthawk book for the main Italian IT portal Programmazione.it.

Optimization Week Issue #101, October 20, 2008

Solid-State Drive Web Server Test
We test a new server with solid-state drives and faster processors. Upgrading our dedicated server improved performance by 35% to 50%.
World Usability Day
Andy King will be participating in World Usability Day in November.
New Blog Marketing Service
WSO has added a new blog marketing service that builds inbound links faster to raise search engine rankings.
Website Optimization Tips Article - CSS Performance Tests
CSS performance testing done by Jon Skyes reveals different rendering speeds depending on the type of CSS selectors you use and the type of browser rendering those selectors.
Web Page Analyzer Moved to Own Server
Due to high demand, we've moved the Web Page Analyzer to its own dedicated server.
About.com, ClickZ.com, and WebReference.com Review Website Optimization Book
Since our last newsletter three top sites have reviewed the Nighthawk book.
Speaking of the book companion site, we've acquired a new domain name.

Optimization Week Issue #100, September 30, 2008

Web Page Analyzer 0.98
A major upgrade, version 0.98 features performance improvements, HTML and CSS Tidy integration, and a faster server to improve response times. We've updated the HCI thresholds based on the latest research.
US Drops to 19th in Broadband Penetration Worldwide
US broadband penetration dropped from 17th to 19th place overall among all countries surveyed over the past two quarters.
New CMS Performance Analysis Services
We've added two teams to analyze and optimize websites run by content management systems (CMS).
Upgraded Dedicated Server for WebsiteOptimization.com
The new server features dual Xeon processors, a RAID of solid-state disc drives, plenty of memory, and increased throughput.

Optimization Week Issue #99, September 5, 2008

YouTube Dwarfs Top Video Sites
YouTube continues to dominate the top ten video sites, with over 77 million viewers in July. The US ranks 15th in broadband speed worldwide behind top-ranking Japan, according to a recent study.
Optimize Drop Shadows
Learn how to create optimized drop-shadows in Photoshop to minimize the size of web graphics.
New Web Page Analyzer Pending
At long last we've got a new version of the Web Page Analyzer working on a test server.
Book Reviews: Website Optimization Secrets
Since our last issue we've received a number of reviews of our new book, Website Optimization. We summarize the highlights.

Optimization Week Issue #98, August 7, 2008

Website Optimization Secrets Book News Blog
We've launched a blog for our new book. In it you'll find the latest news, reviews, interviews, and releases about the book.
US Broadband Penetration Breaks 90% among Active Internet Users - July 2008 Bandwidth Report
For the first time, US broadband penetration broke ninety percent among active Internet users in June 2008.
Making a good first impression really counts on Web sites
The Ann Arbor News interviewed author Andy King for their July 20, 2008 issue.

Optimization Week Issue #97, July 16, 2008

Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine, & Conversion Rate Secrets at Amazon.com
Our new book is now available at Amazon.com. Eighteen months in the making, this new book shows you how to optimize your website for higher visibility and performance.
Conversion Rate Optimization Sample Chapter 5 (PDF)
Reveals the top 10 factors that you can use to maximize the conversion rate of your site. You'll learn how to use persuasive copywriting and credibility-based design to turn your website into a more efficient sales tool.
SEO Case Study: PhillyDentistry.com Chapter 2 (PDF)
This chapter demonstrates the benefits of natural SEO and best-practice WSO techniques. You'll learn how conversion rate optimization, credibility-based design, natural SEO, and a dash of PPC were used to increase the number of new clients for a business by a factor of 47.
Book Release Prizes
For a limited time, we're giving away one book a week to current and new subscribers to our Optimization Week newsletter. As a reward to all of you loyal readers we're making everyone who is currently subscribed, as well as any new subscribers a chance to win. Every week, we'll randomly pick one lucky winner and send them a signed copy of my new book, Website Optimization. Help spread the word and tell your friends.

Optimization Week Issue #96, July 9, 2008

Website Optimization Secrets Companion Site
Announcing our new book companion site for Website Optimization Secrets. The companion site now features book chapter summaries, full-color figures, code listings and working samples, examples, worksheets, and movies. You can preview the book here with these resources, and soon we'll have sample chapters for you to review. The book will be printed on July 10, and is due in stores July 17, 2008.
US Needs Broadband Czar Says FCC
In order to compete worldwide, the US needs a "broadband czar" to coordinate how government agencies promote broadband. The average broadband speed in the US is more than ten times slower than Japan at four times the cost. June 30, 2008.
Meryl.net 8th anniversary birthday bash
Congratulations go out to Meryl Evans on the eighth anniversary of her blog. As part of the celebration Meryl has kindly agreed to give away free copies of my new book.
Computer Model Names Agatha Christie's Sleeping Murder as "The Perfect Title" for a Best-Seller
What characteristics do best-selling book titles have? To find out, Lulu.com conducted a study of every novel to have topped the hardcover fiction New York Times bestseller list from 1955 to 2004, and compared them with the titles of less successful novels by the same authors.

Optimization Week Issue #95, May 1, 2008

Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine, & Conversion Rate Secrets
Announcing our new book, Website Optimization Secrets, the definitive guide to optimizing web sites. With this book you'll learn best practice search engine marketing, conversion rate optimization, and web performance tuning techniques to fully optimize your website.
Average Web Page Size Triples Since 2003
Within the last five years, the size of the average web page has more than tripled, and the number of external objects has nearly doubled. While broadband users have experienced somewhat faster response times, dial-up users have been left behind.
The Slashdot Effect for Average Web Page Story
We were fortunate enough to be Slashdotted this week for our Average Web Page story. What is it like to be Slashdotted one reader wrote?

Optimization Week Issue #94, April 22, 2008

Survey: 12% 'borrow' free Wi-Fi
Some 12 percent of consumers 'borrow' free wireless connections, according to a new survey.
Survey: Europe to Pass US in Wi-Fi Use - FCC Redefines Broadband
Europe will soon pass the US in wireless usage at current growth rates, according to a recent survey. The FCC has redefined how it measures broadband, more than tripling the defined speed and eliminating the zip-code designation.
Secret Publishing Project
The secret's out. We've just completed a large publishing project about WSO.

Optimization Week Issue #93, Feb. 28, 2008

Inline Images with Data URLs
Learn how to embed images into your web pages with data URLs.
The Cost of Banner Advertising on Web Performance
The cost of banner ads for the average website is about one-sixth more objects and one-third more latency.
US Broadband Penetration to Break 90% by Mid-2008 Among Active Internet Users
Broadband penetration among active Internet users should break 90% by mid-2008 in the U.S, according to projections by Website Optimization.
AOL's Pagetest, a newly open source web performance testing tool that we mentioned last issue, has now been webified.

Optimization Week Issue #92, Jan. 22, 2008

AOL Pagetest Web Performance Tool Released as Open Source
AOL has released an open source web performance tool called Pagetest. Pagetest is an Internet Explorer plug-in that measures and analyzes the performance of web pages. It features waterfall timing graphs, optimization checklists, and more details than competing software.
iTunes Player Hits a High Note, Passes RealPlayer
Apple's iTunes player passed RealPlayer in 2007 to become the second most popular streaming media player on the Internet. Growing at an annual rate of 26.8% iTunes hit a high note while the rest of the band was flat.

Optimization Week Issue #91, Jan. 4, 2008

Optimize Parallel Downloads to Minimize Object Overhead
With the average web page growing past 50 external objects, object overhead now dominates most web page delays. Increasing parallel downloads by using multiple hostnames can realize up to a 40% improvement in web page latency. Dec. 26, 2007.
The Whole Shooting Match Digital Film Restoration
We review the screening of The Whole Shooting Match, a lost classic film that was digitally restored. Time is running out for our classic films and producer Mark Rance says digital restoration is the answer.

Optimization Week Issue #90, Dec. 18, 2007

Broadband Achieves Majority Fastest
Faster than any other consumer technology, broadband achieved more than 50% adoption according to a survey by Pew Internet.
SEM Trends: The Shift to SEO
This presentation explores trends in search engine marketing and how budgets are shifting from traditional media to new media including the Internet.
Use Delta Encoding to Compress RSS newsfeeds
Learn how to use delta encoding to compress your RSS XML newsfeeds. Nov. 30, 2007.
How Four Airlines Plan to Connect Fliers to the Web
At least four airlines have announced plans to offer broadband access in their planes. Dec. 7, 2007

Optimization Week Issue #89, Nov. 21, 2007

The companion site to the upcoming book "High Performance Web Site Techniques," includes a new CSS Sprite Generator tool.
Actionable Web Analytics
Jason Burby and Shane Atchison of ZAAZ fame have written a new book on web analytics. The book's focus is on using analytics that can make a difference to your ROI.
Japanese Broadband World's Fastest, Cheapest
Japan leads the world with the fastest and lowest unit cost for broadband, according to recent data from the OECD.

Optimization Week Issue #88, Nov. 6, 2007

Suture CSS or JavaScript Files to Reduce HTTP Requests
Learn how to "suture" CSS or JavaScript files together before delivery from the server to save HTTP requests. You'll have your organization and eat it too with this server-side approach to merging files.
Western Europe Leads North America in Broadband Growth
Western European countries are adding broadband subscribers at a faster pace than the US and Canada, according to a recent report by Point Topic.

Optimization Week Issue #87, Oct. 3, 2007

Book Review: Influence: Science and Practice
We review and summarize a classic book on human psychology. Influence shows us how six core techniques are used to persuade people to say yes. Through dramatic examples and psychological principles Robert Cialdini shows how "influence practitioners" tap into our mental shortcuts to get people to comply with their requests. Oct. 3, 2007.
CSS Sprites: How Yahoo.com and AOL.com Improve Web Performance
Learn how AOL and Yahoo! use CSS sprites to improve performance for their busy home pages. CSS sprites save HTTP requests by using CSS positioning to selectively display composite background images. To maximize accessibility and usability, CSS sprites are best used for icons or decorative effects.

Optimization Week Issue #86, Sep. 20, 2007

Europe Passes US in Broadband Penetration
The EU has passed the US in broadband penetration, according to a recent broadband survey from ECTA.
Safari 3 Windows Performance Analysis
A performance analysis of the Safari 3 web browser shows that Apple's claims of speed improvements over IE and Firefox are not far off the mark.
Internet handshake extends the human touch
Scientists have developed a means of shaking hands across continents by using the Internet to transmit such properties as grip, movement, even skin texture.

Optimization Week Issue #85, Sep. 6, 2007

Mono-Image CSS Rollovers
Learn how to create menu rollovers with different graphic backgrounds with one image. Save HTTP requests by combining on and off images into one mini-sprite and position with CSS.
Outstanding Internet Books: Call to Action, Transcending CSS
We highlight two great books we're reading that you don't want to miss. One on conversion rate optimization and one on CSS design.
US Jumps to 24th in Worldwide Broadband Penetration
Reversing a previous trend, the US jumped to 24th place in worldwide broadband penetration in the first quarter of 2007. While South Korea remains the leading broadband nation, Hong Kong should pass South Korea in household broadband penetration this summer at current growth rates.
CSS Mastery Book Review
This 255 page book shows intermediate to advanced CSS designers best practices for using CSS to design websites. The book brings together the most useful CSS techniques into one place.

Optimization Week Issue #83, July 31, 2007

Minimize Noise to Maximize Graphic and Video Compression
Noise is the enemy of efficient multimedia optimization. Learn how to minimize the noise in your images and videos to maximize compression.
High Performance Web Sites
This 256 page book presents 14 specific rules that will cut your website response time by 20% to 25%. Steve Souders, Chief Performance Yahoo!, discovered these techniques when profiling and speed optimizing Yahoo!-based properties to maximize speed.

Optimization Week Issue #82, July 19, 2007

Google Dominates Top Web Video Sites
With its acquisition of YouTube, Google now dominates the top ten video sites on the Internet in unique users, stickiness, and growth.
The Power of Internet Job Recruiting
Read the story of how we recruited a Ruby on Rails team in a matter of minutes, using the power of the Internet.

Optimization Week Issue #81, June 29, 2007

Web Video Optimization Tips
With the popularity of YouTube and video sharing services the use and size of web video has increased significantly. Learn some best practices to optimize videos for the web.
Over Half of US Households Subscribe to Broadband
53% of all US households now subscribe to broadband, according to Leichtman Research Group.

Optimization Week Issue #80, June 1, 2007

Home Page Usability and Credibility Survey
A usability survey revealed that high growth companies are not evaluating and improving their home page designs in a systematic way.
OECD Broadband Report Questioned
Questions over a recent OECD broadband report have caused a broadband broughaha among the cognoscenti.
Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers
Written primarily for web programmers, this new book shows you how to download, parse, and manipulate web pages and data. Written by Michael Schrenk, an experienced webbot programmer, the book shows programmers how to create automated webbots and spiders that mimic human behavior while honoring website protocols and conventions.

Optimization Week Issue #79, April 24, 2007

US Falls to 25th in Broadband Penetration Worldwide
The US fell from 23rd to 25th place in worldwide broadband penetration in the last half of 2006, according to a recent survey by Point Topic. An OECD study confirms the slowdown.
Update: Pro Ball Head Review
Updated with the newest models, we compare some pro-level ball heads and offer some tips for sharper photographs.

Optimization Week Issue #78, April 3, 2007

Replace GIF with PNG Images
PNGs are designed to be a more efficient, flexible, and patent-free replacement for GIFs. By replacing your GIFs with PNGs you can speed up your web pages and save bandwidth. March 31, 2007.
Web Page Analyzer 0.964
By request we've updated the analyzer to support IP filtering.

Optimization Week Issue #77, March 19, 2007

US Broadband Penetration Breaks 80% Among Active Internet Users
US broadband penetration broke 80% among active Internet users in February 2007. Canada spends more time online than any other country, according to a recent survey by comScore Networks. Mar. 19, 2007.

Optimization Week Issue #76, February 26, 2007

iTunes Popularity to Surpass RealPlayer in 2007
Unique iTunes users will exceed RealPlayer users by the first half of 2007, according to projections by WebSiteOptimization.com. European broadband penetration growth is slowing as the US approaches 80% penetration among active Internet users. Feb. 26, 2007.
Web Page Analyzer 0.963
We now calculate download times for each object type by user request. Also fixed a lagging bug when calculating total page download time. Feb. 8, 2007.

Optimization Week Issue #75, February 5, 2007

Book Preview: Information Foraging Theory = Natural Selection Meets the Web
We interview today's digital Darwin Peter Pirolli, summarizing his revolutionary new book Information Foraging Theory. Hungry minds are foraging for valuable information on the Web. Learn how to boost your website's information scent or risk becoming a missing link.
Broadband Black Holes Persist - UK Broadband Cheaper than Dial-up - US Broadband Penetration Climbs to 78.5% Among Active Internet Users
Despite President Bush's promise of universal access to broadband by 2007 there are still areas within the US that have little or no coverage. In the UK, broadband has become cheaper than dial-up access. Meanwhile in the US broadband grew to 78.5% in December among active Internet users.
Search Analytics for your Site
Analyzing your data logs is a great way to close the loop to find what your users are searching for. Congratulations to two men from Michigan, Louis Rosenfeld and Richard Wiggins on their upcoming book "Search Analytics" from Lou's new publishing house. Due out in spring 2007.

Optimization Week Issue #74, January 17, 2007

Automated Color Harmony Tools
Make your designs sing in four-part color harmony with these automated color harmonization tools. We review a joint effort by Microsoft and Tel Aviv University to automatically enhance the color harmony of an image.
Presentation: Website Optimization Introduction: Company, Services, and Case Studies (PDF, 1951K)
An introduction to Website Optimization, LLC and the process of web site optimization in general. Describes the services available including website performance, search engine marketing, and usability and accessibility reviews and testing. Shows case studies of actual WSO clients and results. Talk given at an advertising firm in Detroit, Michigan in January 2007 by Andrew B. King.

Optimization Week Issue #73, December 12, 2006

Don't Let the Graphics Grinch Steal Your Christmas Bonus
Know what jolly old site owners get when they let their graphics get so plump they shake like a bowl full of jelly? A lump of coal for Christmas. Let our Rudolph guide your way to a merry Christmas and happy New Year with an inspirational rendering of 'Twas the night before Christmas.

Optimization Week Issue #72, November 29, 2006

The Interactive Effects of Website Delay, Breadth, and Familiarity
A recent study examined whether website delay, breadth, and familiarity have interactive effects on user psychology and performance. We summarize the article and interview the lead author about his findings.
UK Passes Japan in Broadband Penetration - US Broadband Penetration Slows to 76.6% Among Active Internet Users
The UK passed Japan and the US in broadband penetration during the first quarter of 2006. The UK's faster growth rate propelled it to second place in the G7, behind first place Canada.

Optimization Week Issue #71, October 26, 2006

Use a Web Accelerator
We review Google Web Accelerator to see how well it speeds up web browsing. Web accelerators speed up web browsers with look-ahead caching, HTTP compression, and proxy servers.
Update: eGovernment Site Credibility: Comparing Speed, Accessibility, Typos, and Validity
After our initial review, Australia had their site spell checked and corrected, totally eliminating their spelling errors.
The Average Web Page
Reports on some preliminary results of the average web page run for WSO by Ryan Levering. The average web page is about 130K in size with 25K of HTML.

Optimization Week Issue #70, October 17, 2006

China to Pass US in Total Broadband Lines - UK Broadband to Double by 2008 - US Broadband Penetration Jumps to 76.3% Among Active Internet Users - October 2006 Bandwidth Report
China will pass the US in total broadband lines by the third quarter of 2006. UK broadband penetration will nearly double by 2008 and US broadband penetration among active Internet users broke 75% in September 2006.

Optimization Week Issue #69, September 25, 2006

Acrobat 8 Professional Review
We review Adobe's new Acrobat 8 Professional (pre-release) for performance against PDF Enhancer 3.1. The new Acrobat features faster operations, smaller PDFs, a new interface, and the ability to combine different types of files into one PDF.
European Broadband Penetration Gap Widening - US Broadband Penetration Nears 75% Among Active Internet Users - September 2006 Bandwidth Report
The broadband gap in Europe is widening, according to a recent survey by ECTA. While Denmark, the Netherlands, and Finland top the EU, Greece, Poland, and Slovakia are trailing in broadband penetration.
New Website Security Test
Ensure that your server is secure from hackers with our new server vulnerability scanning service. WSO has teamed up with ControlScan to offer webmasters a free 30-day trial of this automated server scanning service.

Optimization Week Issue #68, September 12, 2006

eGovernment Site Credibility: Comparing Speed, Accessibility, Typos, and Validity
Is your government credible, or not to be believed? See how five major powers stack up in this web site shoot out.
New Jersey Leads Nation in Broadband Penetration - US Workplace Broadband Breaks 90% - August 2006 Bandwidth Report
New Jersey edged out Hawaii for the highest broadband penetration rate in the US. 48.6% of New Jersey residents enjoy broadband, well above the national average of 35.1%. Workplace broadband broke 90% for the first time in July, while video and VOIP traffic surged.

Optimization Week Issue #67, July 27, 2006

Clickstream Study Reveals Dynamic Web
The nature of how we interact with the Web has changed, according to a large browser study. University of Hamburg researchers found the Web moving from static hypertext information to dynamic interactive services.

Optimization Week Issue #66, July 21, 2006

US Drops to 20th in Broadband Penetration - US Broadband Uptake Grows to 73.1% of Active Internet Users
Despite leading the world in broadband subscribers, the US dropped from 17th to 20th place in broadband penetration over the past year.
Highlight the Current Page with CSS: The Body ID/Class Method
Learn how to automatically highlight menu items that correspond to the current page using CSS and XHTML.

Optimization Week Issue #65, June 15, 2006

Home Broadband Growth Doubles with 42% of all Americans on High-Speed - DSL overtakes Cable
Home broadband adoption has doubled over the past two years with 42% of all Americans using a high-speed connection at home. Broadband is fueling a digital renaissance with 35% of all Internet users posting content to the Internet, most of which are on broadband. DSL has passed cable in the US, and broadband penetration among active Internet users jumped 1.3 percentage points to 71.76% in May 2006.
Combine Images to Save HTTP Requests
Learn how to reduce the number of HTTP requests required by your web pages by combining adjacent images and optionally imagemapping the links. This tutorial shows both client and server side techniques you can use to save precious HTTP requests and speed up your site.

Optimization Week Issue #64, May 17, 2006

Website Spell Checking Service
Our new free spell checking service scans your site for spelling and grammatical errors and sends you a free report. We've teamed up with TextTrust to offer webmasters this free trial of their website scanning service.
Bush Broadband Goal Gored - US Broadband Penetration Breaks 70% Among Active Internet Users - Broadband Study Highlights Two-Speed Europe
President Bush's goal of universal broadband access for all Americans by 2007 appears to be in doubt, according to a recent GAO report.

Optimization Week Issue #63, May 8, 2006

Faster Dedicated Server for WebSiteOptimization.com
We're pleased to announce that we've switched over to a faster dedicated server for Website Optimization, LLC. The new server is four times as fast, has four times the memory, and includes other performance enhancements to improve response times.
CSS Overlays: Using CSS Positioning to Overlay Web Objects
Learn how to create an eye-catching overlay with CSS positioning.

Optimization Week Issue #62, April 18, 2006

John Wilkin on the U-M - Google Digitization Project
John Wilkin, librarian at the University of Michigan, discusses the partnership between UM and Google to digitize 7 million bound volumes. The project is part of Google's quest to become the modern equivalent of Alexandria.
US Broadband Penetration Nears 70% Among Active Internet Users - US-Canadian Broadband Gap Narrows
US broadband penetration will break 70% this month among active Internet users, according to projections from Website Optimization. The US has narrowed the gap with Canada in broadband penetration. In the US, cable is losing its dominance over DSL for Internet service.
Professional Website Graphics Optimization Service
We've added a new service to our growing stable of website optimization offerings; graphics optimization. Our Photoshop experts optimize your web graphics to speed up page download times and reduce bailout rates. Our graphic designers use the latest image optimization techniques to optimize your web site graphics while maintaining quality.

Optimization Week Issue #61, March 31, 2006

Accessible CSS Forms: Using CSS to Create a Two-Column Layout
Websites have become less accessible and more complex over time according to recent studies. Learn how to buck the trend by creating fast, accessible CSS forms that work with modern browsers and gracefully degrade.
Getting Real The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application
37signals has released a new e-book that shows the philosophy and ideas behind the creation of their streamlined web applications including Basecamp, Campfire, and Ruby on Rails.

Optimization Week Issue #60, March 22, 2006

Apple's iTunes Player Climbs Streaming Media Charts - PC Time Tracks Broadband Penetration - US Broadband Penetration Jumps to 68% Among Active Internet Users - March 2006 Bandwidth Report
Podcasting is taking off and iPods are seemingly ubiquitous. Unique users of Apple's iTunes player should pass RealPlayer by mid-2006 with nearly 30 million users in the US alone. People are tuning in over twice as long with iTunes than with RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. As broadband penetration increases we are spending more time on our computers.

Optimization Week Issue #59, February 28, 2006

Internet Videos Spawn Performance Anxiety - Rural-Urban Broadband Gap Closing - US Broadband Penetration at 66.7% Among Active Internet Users - February 2006 Bandwidth Report
As higher bandwidth content streams to more bandwidth-hungry users quality of service can suffer. Some industry experts are wondering if the Net can scale to handle the load. Meanwhile, the rural-urban broadband penetration gap is closing in America. Broadband penetration rose to 66.7% among active home users in January 2006.
Bookend Lists: Using CSS to Float a Masthead
Learn how to create that 'bookend' look with lists and CSS positioning. This CSS-layout technique saves a significant amount of XHTML code over tables.

Optimization Week Issue #58, January 23, 2006

China will pass US in Broadband Lines in Late 2006 - Worldwide Broadband Survey - US Broadband Penetration Breaks 65% - January 2006 Bandwidth Report
China will pass the US in total broadband subscribers by the end of 2006. The US fell to 19th overall in broadband penetration worldwide, and is in danger of being passed by Slovenia in early 2007. Meanwhile, in December 2005 US broadband penetration broke 65% for the first time among active Internet users.
First Impressions Count in Website Design
Web designers have as little as 50 milliseconds to capture the interest of potential customers. Through the halo effect, first impressions can influence subsequent judgments of website credibility and buying decisions.

Optimization Week Issue #57, December 19, 2005

Telcos Tout Two-Tier Internet - Hotel Broadband Battles - US Broadband Penetration Nears 65% - December 2005 Bandwidth Report
AT&T and BellSouth are lobbying Congress to create a two-tier Internet where their own services would have higher priority than their competitors. US broadband penetration neared 65% in November among active Internet users.
The Bandwidth Report Weblog
We're pleased to announce the launch of the Bandwidth Report as a monthly weblog. Powered by Movable Type, all the past issues have been converted over to MT format. Feel free to comment on current or past stories, and subscribe to RSS feeds for the latest report.

Optimization Week Issue #56, November 15, 2005

US Passes Singapore to 15th in Global Broadband Penetration - US Broadband Grows to 63.8% among Active Internet Users
The US has passed Singapore in broadband penetration among 100 inhabitants. Broadband penetration grew 1.3 percentage points to 63.8% among active Internet users in October 2005.
Multichannel Blogsite Service
Our turnkey blogsite service adds a multichannel weblog to your site. Blogsites raise Internet visibility, establish thought leadership, and build brand equity.

Optimization Week Issue #55, October 25, 2005

UK Passes US in Broadband Penetration - US Falls to 13th Overall yet leads all countries in total subscribers
The UK passed the US for the first time in broadband penetration on a per-capita basis in August. The US continued its fall to 13th in broadband penetration among all OECD countries, yet leads all countries surveyed in total broadband subscriptions. Finland, the Netherlands, and Norway lead the pack in broadband penetration growth. Meanwhile, US broadband penetration grew to 62.5% among active Internet users in September 2005.

Optimization Week Issue #54, October 12, 2005

Slow Download Times Haunt Halloween Sites
Oooh, it's downright scary how long some Halloween shopping sites expect visitors to wait. Home pages haunted by usability ghouls and bandwidth goblins may leave these sites drowning in blood-red ink. Pull up a crypt, we'll leave the fright on for you.

Optimization Week Issue #53, September 29, 2005

US Broadband Breaks 60% among Active Internet Users, but growth slows - UK Broadband Penetration Nears 75% at Home - September 2005 Bandwidth Report
US broadband penetration broke 60% for the first time in August 2005 rising to 61.3% among active Internet users. However, broadband penetration growth is slowing according to a recent study. Britons enjoy a commanding lead over the US with nearly 75% of UK Internet households reporting a broadband connection.

Optimization Week Issue #52, August 18, 2005

FCC Ignores Digital Divide While US Broadband Drops Worldwide - US Broadband Nears 60% in July 2005 - August 2005 Bandwidth Report
While the FCC crows about broadband growth in the US, the US is actually falling behind other countries in broadband speeds and penetration due to market and policy failures. Meanwhile, US broadband penetration neared 60% for active Internet users in July.
Web Page Analyzer 0.961
Web Page Analyzer 0.961 fixes a blank results page bug.

Optimization Week Issue #51, August 1, 2005

Web Page Analyzer 0.96
Web Page Analyzer 0.96 features a new batch mode for licensees.
FCC Fudging Broadband Figures? - US Broadband Penetration Jumps to 58.6% in June 2005 - July 2005 Bandwidth Report
The FCC's recent broadband penetration report has critics wondering about its accuracy.

Optimization Week Issue #50, June 28, 2005

Photoshop Soup2Nuts 2.0 Conference
A report from the annual Great Lakes Digital: Photoshop Soup2Nuts 2.0 Conference from June 24 to 25 held at Washtenaw Community College in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The conference gave a glimpse into the future of Photoshop and digital photography.
US-Canadian Broadband Penetration Gap at 20 Points - US Broadband Penetration Crawls to 58.8% in May - June 2005 Bandwidth Report
Canadians enjoy a 20 point lead over the US in broadband penetration. U.S. broadband penetration crept up 0.36 percentage points to 58.82% in May 2005.
Web Page Analyzer 0.95
By popular request we've updated the Web Page Analyzer to be compatible with PHP 5.x.

Optimization Week Issue #49, June 1, 2005

A Philadelphia Orthodontist success story
Read what happened when two successful orthodontists hired WSO to revamp their site and raise their rankings. Big smiles all around.
ASP.NET and IIS Serve More Fortune 1000 Sites than Any Other Web Server Technologies
Port80 Software just released a survey of the Fortune 1000 finding Microsoft dominating the web site software landscape.
A new Korean translation
of Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization is now available. May 2005
Wayne State SEO Panel
Linda Girard and Andy King spoke in a SEO panel moderated by Dan Klyn at Wayne State on Tuesday.

Optimization Week Issue #48, May 16, 2005

UK's Digital Divide - US Broadband Penetration Jumps to 58.5% in April - May 2005 Bandwidth Report
In Britain, broadband penetration tends to be higher in younger, more affluent political constituencies. U.S. broadband penetration jumped by 1.42 percentage points to 58.46% in April 2005.
Organic SEO Presentation: Best Practices for Maximum Rankings (PDF, 1056K, right click to save)
An in-depth tutorial on natural SEO with real-world examples and case studies.
AOL.com Trip Recap
I had the privilege of presenting my speed analysis of key AOL pages to the staff of AOL last week at their Dulles, Virginia headquarters.

Optimization Week Issue #47, April 29, 2005

Belgium Leads European Countries in Broadband Penetration - US Broadband Penetration Grows to 57% in March - April 2005 Bandwidth Report
Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland lead European countries in overall broadband penetration.
Aruba SEO & Broadband Presentation
My presentation on "Tropical SEO and The Future of Broadband" is now available as a PDF.
Aruba eMarketing Trip Recap
Had a wonderful time down in sunny Aruba. Thanks to the Aruba Tourism Authority and the Government of Aruba and all who made it possible.

Optimization Week Issue #46, April 6, 2005

It's a Broadband World After All - US Broadband Penetration Grows to 56.3% in February - March 2005 Bandwidth Report
Worldwide, over 62% of the Internet population uses broadband as their primary connection. While broadband penetration grew by 24% last year, narrowband connections still dominate many rural areas. In the U.S. broadband penetration grew by .55 percentage points to 56.29% in February 2005.
Update: Web Page Analyzer™ 0.944
Our latest update fixes frame foibles, self-authenticates for password protected directories, and we've updated our desktop version. Be sure to turn off ad-blocking software when running the analyzer, otherwise the URLs not always appear in the results, but the file sizes will still be reported. If you've licensed the desktop or server version, email us for an update.
Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results
Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg have written a new book on conversion rate optimization for websites. I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy of the book, which has many nuggets of web site wisdom. The book is a compilation of their writings from GrokDotCom, ClickZ, seminar presentations, and their staff and colleagues. Each article is a few pages long on a specific topic, all revolving around boosting your ROI through conversion rate optimization. The Eisenbergs are the acknowledged masters of conversion rate optimization, having practiced what they've preached since 1998. The book, which is priced to sell at only $13.95, is due to be released May 9, 2005. More info at Future Now Inc..
Aruba Bound
If you happen to be in Aruba next week, stop by the Wyndham Hotel for the 2nd annual eMarketing Conference, I'll be giving a talk on Search Engine Optimization and broadband. Yes that's right, your humble narrator got a call recently he just couldn't refuse. I'm still furiously putting together the preso, so if you've got examples of great or awful SEO, send them in.

Optimization Week Issue #45, March 10, 2005

Update: Web Page Analyzer™ 0.94
We've updated our free page analyzer tool to support (i)Frames, CSS image grouping, faster response time, an XML interface, and higher thresholds for CSS and JavaScript file sizes.
Broadband Buyers Dominate Online - Europe's Digital Divide - US Broadband Penetration Grows to 55.5% in January
Broadband users buy over two thirds of online purchases, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. While women now outpace men in European Internet uptake, the digital divide remains. In January 2005, U.S. broadband penetration increased to 55.5%.

Optimization Week Issue #44, February 14, 2005

Optimize PDF Files
We review Acrobat 7 Pro's PDF Optimizer and Apago's PDF Enhancer 3 (beta) with tips and tools for optimizing PDF files for the Web.
Czech Translation of Speed
We're happy to announce that a new Czech translation of Speed Up Your Site is now available.
Web Page Analyzer Copyrighted
Well it's official, the Web Page Analyzer is now registered with the United States Copyright Office.
Ann Arbor IT Zone Panel
Thanks to Linda Girard of Brightweb, LLC and Dan Klyn of Fry, Inc. for participating in the SEM Panel discussion at the Ann Arbor IT Zone last week.

Optimization Week Issue #43, January 23, 2005

Update: Use a Ball Head
Updated with the latest products, this article compares new ball heads from RRS and Markins, including two new titanium models. A solid ball head means sharper and smaller photos and videos.
January 2005 Bandwidth Report - U.S. Broadband Users Up 35.9% in 2004 - U.S. Broadband Penetration Jumps to 54.7% in December
In 2004, the number of broadband users in US homes increased by 35.9%, outpacing the growth at work by nearly 15%. In December 2004, U.S. broadband penetration climbed 1.1 percentage points to 54.69%.
Web Page Analyzer 0.938
The analyzer now features textarea input with optional base href, 404 detection, and a max_page_size (set to 1MB) limit.

Optimization Week Issue #42, December 17, 2004

December 2004 Bandwidth Report - U.S. Broadband Penetration Climbs to 53.6% - U.S. a Generation Behind in High-Speed Broadband
US broadband penetration climbed 0.73 percentage points to 53.59% in November 2004. The U.S. is a generation behind in high-speed broadband, according to Technology Futures, Inc.
Crop Images Contextually
Cropping images in context gives faster downloads and higher impact. By cropping maximally and resizing you can convey meaning without slowing down your web pages.
Itanium inventor bobs to surface as chip's savior?
The Register broke the news about a new startup dubbed Secure64 that is set to release a web server accelerator appliance in early 2005. CEO Peter Cranstone says the new product, optimized specifically for Intel's 64-bit Itanium chip, is secure and up to 20 times faster than existing servers. Placed between your server and your network, the Secure64 Web-Edge Accelerator utilizes 64-bit HTTP compression, SSL acceleration, and caching to dramatically speed up web transactions while preventing DoS attacks. The Register, Dec. 1, 2004.
Web Page Analyzer Desktop
By popular demand we've completed work on a desktop ".exe" version of our popular Web Page Analyzer program. The desktop version runs on Windows machines and supports authentication just like the licensed server version. Serlient from Triplehash cc converted our PHP code to executable .exe with few changes required to our code. We'll be rolling out the desktop version to selected licensees in the near future.

Optimization Week Issue #41, November 24, 2004

US Broadband Penetration Jumps to 52.9% Among Active Internet Users - Interplanetary Broadband Laser
US broadband penetration jumped 1.53 percentage points to 52.86% in October 2004. NASA has begun work on a laser-based interplanetary broadband link to transmit data from the red planet. From the November 2004 Bandwidth Report.
Refactor to Improve Code Design
Refactoring restructures your code into a more simplified or efficient form in a disciplined way. Refactoring JavaScript, Java, and Flash code improves its internal structure without changing external functionality for more efficient execution, faster download speed, and easier updates.

Optimization Week Issue #40, November 9, 2004

Sink the Splash Page
Skip intro splash pages degrade performance, increase bailout rates, and decrease your search engine rankings. Most importantly splash screens reduce web credibility with up to 30% traffic loss.
Web Page Analyzer 0.934
We've updated the analyzer to fix some bugs, including more accurate object size calculations and security fixes. Due to increased usage, you may have noticed some slowdowns lately with the site. We've pinpointed the problem and are working on a more memory-efficient version.
Web Developer Extension Features the Web Page Analyzer
Chris Pederick's Firefox and Mozilla extension includes our Web Page Analyzer among its many features. The toolbar is designed for developers who want to peer behind the screens to analyze their CSS, HTML, cookies, headers, and entire web pages.

Optimization Week Issue #39, October 25, 2004

Use Server Cache Control to Improve Performance
Learn how to configure your Apache server for more efficient caching to save bandwidth and improve web site performance.
US Broadband Penetration Drops to 51.3% Among Active Internet Users - FCC Approves Broadband Over Power Line Rules
For the first time, US broadband penetration decreased among active Internet users in September 2004. In an effort to boost US broadband penetration the FCC Thursday approved rules governing broadband over power lines.

Optimization Week Issue #38, October 4, 2004

Get a Dedicated Server
Upgrading to your own server improves performance, reliability, and control over your website. Andy King talks about his experience moving to a dedicated server for WebSiteOptimization.com.

Optimization Week Issue #37, September 20, 2004

Beach, Blanket, Broadband! - US Broadband Penetration Grows to 51.4% Among Active Internet Users - September 2004 Bandwidth Report
US broadband penetration continued its steady growth past 50% among active Internet users in August 2004. Broadband penetration tends to be higher in affluent coastal cities versus inland areas.
Cut the Comments
Eliminating comments within your XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript code helps optimize your web pages for maximum speed.
WebSiteOptimization.com Server Upgrade
We're moving to our own server this week, due to increased traffic on the site, and the WebPageAnalyzer.com script.

Optimization Week Issue #36, September 7, 2004

Size Images with Width and Height Attributes
Using width and height attributes on images ensures fast webpage display. Using the actual size for thumbnail images conserves bandwidth.

Optimization Week Issue #35, August 24, 2004

US Broadband Penetration Breaks 50%
For the first time, US broadband broke 50% among active Internet users in July 2004. Broadband share in the US should exceed 70% by November of 2005.
Convert Graphic Text to Styled Text
Converting graphic text to CSS text speeds up your site, makes it more accessible, and search engine friendly.
Web Page Analyzer 0.93
Thanks to your feedback we've updated the Web Page Analyzer to recognize alternate stylesheets, the base tag, favicons, extensionless JavaScript and CSS files, and mixed case CSS files.

Optimization Week Issue #34, July 18, 2004

Hawaii Homes Hot for Broadband - US Broadband Penetration Nears 50% Among Active Internet Users
Hawaii leads all states in residential broadband penetration. US broadband penetration grew to 49.5% among active Internet users in June 2004.
Use Short Relative URLs
Using short, relative URLs saves space, speeds page display, and eases migration headaches. The little-used relative base element can save even more space. Learn how to avoid long URLs while making search engines and IAs happy.

Optimization Week Issue #33, July 13, 2004

Abbreviate URLs with mod_rewrite
We look behind the screens at Yahoo and Webreference to see how using short abbreviated URLs and mod_rewrite can save space for maximum speed.
Web Page Analyzer 0.911
Updated to detect nested CSS imports, eliminate JavaScript dependence, and add more robust error handling.

Optimization Week Issue #32, July 6, 2004

Rewrite URLs with Content Negotiation
Content negotiation can make your URLs shorter and more abstract. By rewriting URLs without file extensions to the right resources you can save size and migration headaches.

Optimization Week Issue #31, June 28, 2004

Use Lowercase Markup For Better Compression
You can improve HTTP compression by using all lowercase markup. We test five popular sites for improved compression. Remember, all characters are not created equal.
Web Page Analyzer 0.90a
Completely rewritten in PHP and cURL, our free page analysis tool now features more accurate results and better performance. Now with uppercase URL support.

Optimization Week Issue #30, June 22, 2004

Web Page Analyzer 0.90
Completely rewritten in PHP and cURL, our free page analysis tool now features more accurate results, Flash detection, improved CSS backgrounds, compression detection fixes, and improved performance.
US Broadband Penetration Grows to 48.6% - Broadband Households vs. Broadband Users
US broadband penetration grew by 0.74 points to 48.6% in May. Broadband penetration for US home users should break 50% by July 2004. Meanwhile, broadband penetration in wired US households should break 50% by summer 2005.
Use an Optimization Tool
Web page analysis and optimization tools can quickly help locate and minimize performance bottlenecks. They can also help improve accessibility, spelling, XHTML markup, and even search engine visibility. We survey the webpage optimization tool landscape.

Issue #29, June 14, 2004

Use Shorthand Hex Colors
Shorthand hex notation substitutes 3-character color values for 6-character colors when each of the color channels is identical in an RRGGBB hex triplet. Shorthand hex colors can help optimize your style sheets, especially when combined with shorthand properties and grouping.

Issue #28, June 7, 2004

Use Conditional Server-Side Includes
Conditional SSI let you deliver customized content to different browsers and platforms without requiring additional HTTP requests. With conditional CSS, you can include additional styles for modern browsers, without upsetting older ones.

Issue #27, June 1, 2004

Graphics: Blur Backgrounds for Optimized JPEGs
Background blurring reduces non-critical details to make the JPEG algorithm work more efficiently. Converting to Lab Color mode allows you to maximize blur for minimum file size.

Issue #26, May 24, 2004

Will Broadband Penetration Peak at 75%? - US Broadband Penetration Jumps to 47.9% - May 2004 Bandwidth Report
US broadband penetration jumped by 1.9 percentage points to 47.9% in April. Is there a broadband saturation limit?
Graphics: Minimize Dithering
Dithering uses existing colors to strategically change pixels to minimize apparent banding. While dithering increases file size, when used in combination with lossy compression and weighted optimization, dithering can allow lower bit-depths for GIFs and PNGs.

Issue #25, May 17, 2004

Graphics: Influence Histograms
Histogram influencing minimizes banding in GIFs and PNGs by weighting color palettes towards problem areas. Lower banding at lower bit-depths makes for smaller images.

Issue #24, May 10, 2004

Graphics: Minimize Bit-Depth
Minimize the number of colors in GIFs and PNGs to optimize file size. Lower bit-depths mean smaller palettes and code widths, which makes for smaller images.

Issue #23, May 3, 2004

Book Review: More Eric Meyer on CSS
Eric Meyer's latest book is a collection of ten conversion projects that teach you CSS by example. Converting to CSS can significantly speed up your site.
Substitute CSS2 Menus
Substituting CSS2-styled lists for graphic menus and JavaScript can streamline your pages and make them more accessible.

Issue #22, April 26, 2004

US Narrows Canadian Broadband Lead - US Broadband Penetration Grows to 46%
The US has narrowed Canada's broadband lead by 9.2%. US broadband penetration grew by 12.2% to 46% over the past year, while Canadian broadband adoption grew just 3% to 67% over the same time period.
Graphics: Use Lossy Compression for Smaller GIFs and PNGs
Lossy compression lets you squeeze more bytes out of your GIFs and PNGs. Lossy compression increases identical pixel patterns to improve compression in indexed-color images.

Issue #21, April 18, 2004

XHTML: Omit Redundant Classes and Default Attributes
By omitting redundant classes and default attributes you can shrink your XHTML code to speed page response times. Many tags and duplicate attributes can be safely removed with no change in appearance.

Issue #20, April 11, 2004

XHTML: Layer Tables and DIVs
By layering your content you can display useful content quickly to make your pages appear faster. Feedback can increase your users' pain threshold for delay.

Issue #19, Apr. 4, 2004

BusinessWeek.com Has Slow News Day
We review BusinessWeek.com for speed and accessibility. How long will informavores wait for the news?
XHTML: Use Structural Markup
By using purely structual XHTML markup you can easily target your content with CSS selectors.

Issue #18, Mar. 28, 2004

Graphics: Use Weighted Optimization
Weighted optimization or regional compression applies different degrees of compression to different areas of your image. By varying the quality within images you can improve file size.

Issue #17, Mar. 19, 2004

Graphics: Choose the Right Image Format
Choosing the right image format is the first step in optimizing web graphics. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of the GIF, PNG, and JPEG formats.

Issue #16, Mar. 12, 2004

Flowing with Yann Arthus-Bertrand
We review Yann Arthus-Bertrand's site to view the Earth from Above and find it flow-inducing.
Multimedia: Use a Ball Head
A solid ball head dampens sharpness-robbing vibration for smaller images and videos for the web.

Issue #15, Mar. 5, 2004

Multimedia: Use a Stable Tripod
A stable tripod creates sharper pictures and videos by damping out vibration. Sharper shots mean smaller multimedia for the web.

Issue #14, Feb. 24, 2004

Multimedia: Use Image Stabilization
Gyroscopes are steadily creeping into more consumer-level cameras and binoculars. Gyro stabilization lets you create sharper and smaller photos and video destined for the Web.
February 2004 Bandwidth Report - US Broadband Penetration Crawls to 43% in January - Sweden Tops in Internet Penetration
Broadband adoption crept up 0.15% in January to 43% in the US. Sweden leads all countries in Internet penetration at 76.9%.

Off week due to family emergency.

Issue #13, Feb. 10, 2004

Valentine Flower Sites No Bed of Roses: Usability Thorns Await
With Cupid waiting in the wings, we aim our slings and arrows at flower delivery sites. Will these Valentine sites deliver your love, or just raise your blood pressure?
Remove Whitespace
Whitespace removal should be part of a balanced web page diet for faster downloads.

Issue #12, Feb. 6, 2004

CSS: Use Descendant Selectors
Descendant selectors are an elegant way to apply styles to specific areas of your page while reducing the need to embed classes within elements.

Issue #11, Jan. 28, 2004

Super Bowl Site in No Rush
Do you need broadband to enjoy SuperBowl.com? How accessible is the site for people with disabilities? Our Super Bowl reporter investigates.
CSS: Use Type Selectors
High-level type selectors can style all elements of the same type without the need for extra classes.

Issue #10, Jan. 22, 2004

January 2004 Bandwidth Report - US Broadband Penetration Jumps to 42.85% - US Ranks 11th Worldwide
Broadband adoption jumped to 42.85% in December, up 1.31% from 41.54% in November 2003. 57.15% of U.S. home users connect to the Internet with connections of 56Kbps or less. Broadband usage at U.S. firms jumped to 75.7% in December, up 1.5% from 74.2% in November 2003.
CSS: Group Common Styles into Shared Classes
You can group styles shared by multiple elements into shared classes to help optimize your style sheets.

Issue #9, Jan. 16, 2004

Shipping Bits: Who's Faster on the Web? FedEx, UPS, or DHL?
Shipping speed in the offline world is measured in days. But on the Web, users absolutely have to have it within 8 to 10 seconds. How did FedEx, UPS, and DHL stack up when it comes to web delivery speed? Read on to see who won the online speed derby.
JavaScript: Defer Execution with the defer attribute
Our tests show that the defer attribute can defer the execution of your JavaScripts to improve page display performance. At least in IE4+.
December Bandwidth Report: US Broadband Penetration Slows to 41.5%
US broadband adoption slowed in November at home and at work. Dec. 31, 2003

Issue #8, Dec. 24, 2003

Happy Holidays
Optimization Week will be on holiday until January 2004, stocking up on holiday cheer with family and friends. In the meantime, in case you missed the latest version, here's the poem we featured in last week's issue. See you next year.

Issue #7, Dec. 17, 2003

Slow Shopping Sites Delay Santa: Scrooge Response Times
Popular shopping sites put unnecessary wait on Santas worldwide, increasing anxiety for last-minute shoppers. Optimization Week's recommendations could speed up Santa's sleigh and give savvy sites an edge. Dec. 17, 2003
Minimize HTTP Requests
By combining external files and embedding CSS and JavaScript within your HTML you can minimize the number of HTTP requests required to render your page.

Issue #6, Dec. 10, 2003

HTTP Compression Revisited
We update our HTTP compression article with more real-world tests, average compression ratios and mean HTML page sizes, and quotes from industry experts. HTTP compression compresses your textual content to speed downloads and save bandwidth.
Group Selectors and Declarations
By grouping CSS selectors that share the same declaration and declarations that share the same selector you can apply multiple declarations to multiple selectors to optimize your style sheets.

Issue #5, Dec. 4, 2003

Overweight Travel Sites Delay Holiday Travelers
The Shangri-La of travel sites would feature speed and ease. Years after the first travel site appeared on the Internet we have to ask: "Are we there yet?" To find out, we compared the home pages of Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity for speed and accessibility.
Use HTTP Compression
Compression can reduce frustration and save on bandwidth costs. Learn how content encoding can help speed up your site.

Issue #4, Nov. 26, 2003

Epicurious.com Needs Wait Loss Recipe
We taste test the Epicurious.com home page for speed and accessibility. Make sure that you don't burn your butterball waiting for that recipe.
JavaScript: Delay Loading
You can delay loading your JavaScripts to speed up content display. By redefining empty stub functions with scripts loaded late in your page, you can ensure that your content displays quickly.
November Bandwidth Report - US Broadband Penetration at 40.9%, Broadband Use Tracks Household Income
In wired US homes, broadband penetration jumped to 40.9% in October, up from 40% in September 2003. 59.1% of US home users connect to the Internet with narrowband connections of 56Kbps or less. Cable dominates DSL in the US, while DSL dominates cable worldwide.

Issue #3, Nov. 19, 2003

Big Three Automakers in Online Slow Lane
Car companies compete on the road, but how do they fare online? We compared the homepages of Ford.com, GM.com, and Chrysler.com for speed and accessibility. Read on to see which site has the fastest onramp, and the best ergonomics. Nov. 19, 2003
Group Declarations
You can group declarations that share the same selector into one abbreviated rule. Combining grouping with shorthand properties can shrink your styles dramatically.

Issue #2, Nov. 12, 2003

Presidential Homepages Violate Speed and Accessibility Guidelines
Will the presidential homepages bring home the bacon? Not without fast page display and easy accessibility. Read on to find out who is fastest on the draw, and the most accessible.
Group Selectors
You can group selectors that share the same declaration into one abbreviated style. Combining grouping with shorthand properties can shrink your styles dramatically.

Issue #1, Nov. 4, 2003

Home Depot Needs Home Page Improvement
Home Depot recently redesigned their web site to "streamline" the user experience. Our analysis shows that they have some more performance and accessibility problems to address.
Use Shorthand Properties
CSS shorthand properties allow you to group related properties into one abbreviated format. Learn how to use these six properties to take your CSS to the next level.