About.com logoAt About.com we've always valued coding and serving our Web pages efficiently. It's good business sense: reducing operating costs while delivering on the promise of giving users the relevant, quality knowledge they need to quickly and easily accomplish their needs.

Our collaboration with Google's 'Make the Web Faster' team this spring has focused on the following projects:
  • Combining multiple CSS and JavaScript files to reduce external page calls.
  • Serving static content from a domain without cookies.
  • Leveraging browser and server-side caching wherever possible.
  • Compressing image file sizes on output, and serving .png wherever possible.
  • Asking rich media vendors and the Internet ad industry at large to take performance considerations into account when building and serving rich media ads. Any improvements made will ultimately benefit the advertiser, the server, the publisher and the user.
Our efforts thus far have yielded positive results: we've improved page load-time by an average of 19% 1, and we expect to see further improvement through the fall as we incrementally roll changes through all 700+ sites on our network. While it's hard to see a causal impact on network-wide CPC2 RPM3 exclusive of market and other seasonal factors, results from two A/B tests have been promising: one showed a 0.9% increase in CPC RPM4 and the other a 0.4% increase in CPC RPM5 on the page and throughout the user session.

Overall, we're extremely pleased with the results and excited to move forward. The experience has invigorated About.com's commitment to providing quality content and good user experiences on light-weight pages.



[1] Percentage based on Google Webmaster Page Speed performance 03/15/10 vs. 06/03/10 on About.com's top ten sites.
[2] CPC is Cost Per Click, cost for the advertiser when the ad is clicked
[3] RPM is short for Revenue Per Mille (roman for thousand) pages. This is the revenue a website makes per thousand views of pages
[4] About.com network-wide A/B test combining external CSS and JS conducted 03/26/10.
[5] About.com network-wide A/B test serving images from a cookie-less domain conducted 04/02/10.