How to improve a bloated, 'brand-killing' enterprise website

Enterprise websites are increasingly slow and bloated. Give your customers a break and they'll stick around for longer.

As Rupert Goodwins wrote some time ago for IDG Connect, the web is becoming bloated. Little has changed since he penned that piece, except that the situation has worsened. This matters because bloated websites are bad for business.

Your website is a window into your organisation and also a primary sales and marketing channel. Yet from an end-user perspective the ethos behind many enterprise websites appears to be: “We've got you here and you'll never leave, so now we'll can bombard you with CPU-hogging rich media and bandwidth-sapping analytics while... wait, where did you go?”

A more effective approach might be: “You've arrived and we'd like you to stay a while, so we'll make your visit as enjoyable as possible, while learning more about you and making our pitch. Thanks for hanging around.” Yet for years enterprise websites have been heading in the opposite direction.

The publishing model is broken by horrible practices but there is a way out. Check out: Bloat-to-content ratio is killing the web – here’s how to fix it

The blame for this lies in several places. First, the revolution in JavaScript development. JavaScript used to be a fairly clunky way of providing client-side interactivity within web pages. Much of the code was spent finding out what browser the user was running, then delivering the necessary actions while taking into account the individual quirks of that browser. It was unreliable, and writing genuinely portable JS was difficult, but it was the only option for interactivity at the time.

Then came the libraries, such as jQuery, node.js, angular.js and many others. These took away much of the heavy lifting by providing ready-built routines that JS developers could call as required. JavaScript development took off like a rocket and now accounts for a big proportion of web-based applications.

Unfortunately it also hits users' devices hard. It's not for nothing that the NoScript Firefox plug-in, along with similar add-ons for other browsers, has become so popular. Partly this is due to an increasing desire for privacy and ad-blocking, but selectively disabling JavaScript also makes web browsing much faster.

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