Reader expectations are evolving: here is how your publication can meet those expectations with game-changing features.

Faster & Better Performing:  
The Key To Publishing Success

Why focus on mobile?

Mobile continues to reshape reading habits: in 2017, 85% of U.S. adults used mobile devices to read the news. This number stood at just 54% in 2013. As mobile grows in prominence, so does speed: platforms are now using it as an SEO ranking signal and readers expect a fast experience on all connections.

The bottom line, in today’s ecosystem, is that publishers simply need to be blazingly fast with optimal smoothness.

Why publishers need high performance

Mobile speed is an important SEO ranking signal.
In 2017, 
68% of all digital media time in the U.S. was spent on mobile devices. As a consequence of this trend, the largest mobile search platforms—such as Google  and Facebook —now demand speed. To be discoverable and leverage the traffic that can be acquired on those channels, publishers must meet those demands.

Users demand speed and high performance.
In 2016, Google announced that 
53% of mobile users abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. In the same report, it was revealed that the average loading time on mobile is 19 seconds. As readers become used to browsing on mobile devices on a range of internet connections, they reject slow experiences.

Media sites can be negatively impacted by advertising.
The performance of websites is affected by third parties like ad servers, and ads are JavaScript heavy. This means that media sites are particularly susceptible to poor performance and need to save code to be as efficient as possible everywhere else. Otherwise, publishers risk being penalized by the render-blocking weight of their major source of revenue.

Why publishers need high performance

Page speed is objective and can be tracked. There are free tools available to help publishers check the performance of their website with insight into how to improve it.

Test My Site With Google
This tool tells publishers how quickly their mobile website loads on 3G connections and provides an estimated visitor loss. 3G is so critical because 70% of cellular network connections globally will occur at 3G or slower speeds through 2020. Usefully, the tool also provides industry comparisons.

PageSpeed Insights
This Developer tool assesses the use of best practices in mobile web development. It also gives publishers more actionable recommendations and helps to identify potential optimizations that can improve performance.

Lighthouse Test
This tool measures the PWA, Performance, Accessibility, SEO, and Best Practices of a mobile site. After completing the audits, Lighthouse produces a score in each of these categories and an acceptable score is one above at least 75 in each category.

Publishers face a host of challenges when optimizing for speed and performance: development costs are high and require specific knowledge and resources. Efficiently applying new functionalities and features with JS requires development ingenuity and optimizing for mobile requires a vigilant finger on the pulse of new development strategies.

How publishers can improve their performance

Google has set the threshold to loading after-the-fold content on mobile at under 1-second. To do this, publishers need to leverage the most sophisticated techniques.

Content Delivery Optimization.
Publishers should use Points of Presence (POPs) extensively to ensure they are delivering content as close as possible to the end user, and benefits from advanced techniques such as HTTP/2 push.

Server-Side Device Detection for Mobile.
Resolving which version to show the reader at the server level reduces the requests needed to identify the device type, dramatically improving page speed. It prevents the rendering of assets and resources meant for desktop so that a mobile user receives the first meaningful paint instantly, without any scroll jank or layout thrashing.

Optimize Assets.
This includes optimizing heavy media assets like images and typographies by using the most cutting-edge compression algorithms and formats like Brotli and WebP to reduce the size of resources and keep improving page speed.

Reduce JS and CSS Dependency.
Only the minimum amount of CSS stylesheets are needed to render the first viewports and allow the user to start reading as quickly as possible. Ensuring all JavaScripts and remaining resources load in an asynchronous way after that further optimizes speed and performance without any content shifting or flickering.

Lazy Loading.
Lazy loading means that media assets and embeds load as the user scrolls, ensuring that valuable bandwidth can be reserved for a frictionless on-screen experience. By focusing only on the assets that are required for a user to continue consuming the content on their screen, enhanced performance and page speed is a welcome byproduct.

Now that you're on the road to best-in-class performance, discover new monetization techniques.

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Marfeel 2018