Image Performance Optimization for Top 10 Websites

top101As you know, optimization is very important even for top web destinations like Google, Yahoo or Live. In this article we will try to see how with simple tools, the most visited sites on the web can improve their response time and also they can optimize their traffic amount of data. These are some simple tests that can be made with tools that are available for everyone to try.For this test we will have the following subjects: Google, Yahoo, MSN, Live, YouTube, Wikipedia, eBay, Amazon, Facebook and MySpace.

We will test them with Smushit and see what’s the possible gain of these front pages. This tool helps you identify the images that can be optimized from the file size point of view, but having the same visual quality. Also, according to some analysis from Yahoo’s Performance Team, 20% of all page views on Yahoo! are done with an empty cache. For this test we will use a 5% but from visits which is smaller than page views, and we will see how much can a site gain from optimizing their images.

1. Google

According to Compete Google has around 140 million unique visitors and 2 billion visits every month. It is the most visited site on the web. You realize that every byte counts for traffic, for faster home page, for a better user experience. We ran Smushit on Google and the result was that the logo can be improved by converting it from GIF to PNG. The improvement was a noticeable 5.92% or 507 bytes. In terms of visits, we can translate it like this: 400 000 000 * 507 bytes = 188.872218 gigabytes. So, 190 GB can Google loose when it comes to monthly traffic.

2. Yahoo!

Yahoo! has around 134 million unique visitors and 2.2 billion visits every month. Their front page is dynamic and we will consider only the interface images. It appears that 4.16 KB can be saved only from user interface elements like icons, panels or backgrounds. This mean that Yahoo! can save a minimum of 440 000 000 * 4.16 kilobytes = 1 745.60547 gigabytes per month from traffic.

3. MSN

MSN has around 88 million unique visitors and 800 million visits every month. We will try to optimize only the interface elements because, like Yahoo!, this home page is dynamic and it has temporary images. After Smushit, MSN can loose 1.65 KB from its user interface elements. Translated into traffic and monthly visits: 160 000 000 * 1.65 kilobytes = 251.77002 gigabytes can be saved monthly by optimizing the images.

4. Live

Live has around 87 million unique visitors and 970 million visits every month. Here the gain is of 857 bytes or 8.67% from the images size. In this case the monthly visits will gain : 194 000 000 * 857 bytes = 154.839829 gigabytes.

5. YouTube

YouTube has around 70 million unique visitors and 360 million visits every month. Smushit can gain for YouTube’s user interface an impressive 30.11kb which represents 28.35% from images size. From optimizing its user interface, YouTube can decrease servers’ operations with 72 000 000 * 30.11 kilobytes = 2 067.48962 gigabytes.

6. Wikipedia

Wikipedia has around 60 million unique visitors and 200 million visits every month. Since this site is non-commercial, it should try to optimize its user interface since Wikipedia is sustained by donations. After we applied Smushit’s magic all over Wikipedia’ UI, the results were quite significant – 5.28kb or 13.35%. So, this means that the month traffic can loose 40 000 000 * 5.28 kilobytes = 201.416016 gigabytes. Not bad in cutting down costs.

7. eBay

eBay has around 80 million unique visitors and 700 million visits every month. We’ve got a 3.84 KB gain after running Smushit on eBay. The same rule was applied here, only user elements were test subjects. It seems like eBay can gain an additional 140 000 000 * 3.84 kilobytes = 512.695312 gigabytes among those millions of dollars from auctions.

8. Amazon

Amazon has around 75 million unique visitors and 330 million visits every month. This site was the hard one. It has many items on the front page and we had to check them all to see which one is from UI. The gain was smaller than eBay’s, at 3.28 KB. I’m sure that Amazon can handle big traffic due to their good infrastructure and nice cloud services. Let’s see what could be the improvement in their case. 66 000 000 * 3.28 kilobytes = 206.451416 gigabytes monthly can be saved with a little effort.

9. Facebook

Facebook has around 60 million unique visitors and 870 million visits every month. Since Facebook has a simple front page with no ads, the job was half done. According to Smushit, Facebook can improve its front page with only 396 bytes or 0.66%. This means that the servers could loose 174 000 000 * 396 bytes = 64.1718507 gigabytes.

10. MySpace

MySpace has around 60 million unique visitors and 800 million visits every month. Compared to Facebook, their gain is significant. MySpace can gain 8.71% or 6.30 KB. In terms of traffic this is 160 000 000 * 6.30 kilobytes = 961.303711 gigabytes.

As you can see, just using a great but simple tool like Smushit, these internet giants can gain some speed and can unload a little the servers. The same thing can be done to your site. With Shmushit you can speed up your site and make it faster for your visitors. Oh, there is another good news for bloggers… WordPress bloggers. Now you can download the Smushit WordPress plugin, and every image posted will be optimized. Smushit, the tool used in this test was developed by Stoyan Stefanov and Nicole Sullivan from Yahoo!. With this post we want to thank them for their contribution to Internet’s health.

Why is this important? Well, according to Akamai State of the Internet Q3 2008 Report, 5% of regular surfers have connections bellow 256Kbps. 5.8% of the U.S connections are below 256 Kbps. In order to offer great user experience, you must consider all your potential visitors and clients. Cheers!

4 ideas on “Image Performance Optimization for Top 10 Websites

  1. Daniel Apt

    Thanks, for this. It has helped me save quite some bytes on my current site

    • Andy Gongea

      I’m glad. Smushit is really a nice application. Hopefully it will be adopted by many and it will become a standard tool for web designers and developers

  2. Ariyo

    Wow, amazing statistics!

  3. newsmagazine

    nice statistics for webmasters