Kevin Quirk has started the 512KB club, a list of websites that are under 512 kilobytes in size. It’s a counter to the massively bloated web. There are real costs attached to bloated websites in terms of server, bandwidth and thus energy usage. There are lots of things that can be optimised by lowering the complexity of a website. Low-Tech Magazine has a cool website looking to radically reduce the energy used to provide it. Part of such optimisation is the basic size of the page loaded. And that is what the 512KB club focuses on.
My site isn’t minimalist, one reason being I run WordPress so every page you see here is dynamically rendered each time you look at it. But still, reducing a site’s footprint has been a side interest, as I’m curious about the various dimensions and potential actions for ‘greening’ a website that also provide a better experience to the reader and lower hosting requirements.
At GT Metrix you can analyse your website’s behaviour, and have a look at e.g. its size. My site came in at 980KB about double the limit for the 512KB book club (the mentioned Low Tech magazine comes in at 470KB). Going through the list of files making up that almost 1MB, I noticed that just 2 image files were the main culprits. All it took was optimising those two images (the header image, and a sidebar image), reducing both of them by over 90%. That alone more than halved the size of my site to 487KB.
Image file size optimisation should probably be at the top of my list going forward.