Ideas for what to do when speed is good

According to Google Webmaster Tools, pages on my site load on average in 1.0 seconds. This number has varied plus or minus 200 milliseconds over the past three months.

I’m finally satisfied with the speed, and I think I can now afford to implement changes that may even slow the load time down a little, as long as they help in other areas.

The site I run is a small hobby forum. I decided to increase the maximum number of displayed posts before page split from the default 15 to 100(!). Tests of a few 100-post long pages show approximately 30% slower load time in comparison to their old 15-post short version. So the speed is still very good IMHO.

I’m hoping this change may improve the user experience because readers will be able to read in most cases the entire thread without having to click to go to the next page.

This change reduced the number of URLs on my site by about 20%, which I think is beneficial, too.

I’m hoping that search engines may rank some of my pages now better because they now contain more text.

The time will tell if this was a good move or not. :slight_smile:

Remember people on slow speeds, don’t know the content of the posts but paging is there because it makes for more readability and easier to access certain posts within 100’s of posts.
I’ve never come across a forum that lists a 100 posts on one page.
Maybe a javascript version would be better where the next 30 or so posts are loaded by Ajax on the page directly (like Twitter)
As for better ranking because of content, I would say since most of the content is (likely) going to be repitition of the same thing then it wouldn’t be of any benefit.

I will certainly keep an eye on the traffic and rankings over the next couple of months before I decide whether or not to keep the current pagination settings. I know a 100 is a bit extreme, and some of the review threads on the forum do have well over 100 replies. It is a forum based on vBulletin. A default vBulletin forum with 100 posts on a page would likely be unbearably slow. My installation has been highly customized for speed, so I’m hoping this will not be too big of an issue. I just did a few tests in various test locations, and a page with 100 posts, even with a few images, still loads in about 1 second:

But I will monitor it for the next little while, and if the traffic/rankings is negatively affected, I will revert the change.

Personally, as a forum user, I don’t think I’d appreciate 100 posts/page. I have it set to 25 on a forum I own (fully loads within 500ms), and believe anything above 30 would be too ‘scroll-intensive’ (if they’re still reading at post 31, I’m pretty sure they won’t mind clicking through). I’d rather click through a few different pages than lose track of posts on a single lengthy page. I suppose it does depend on your content, however. Why not ask your members via a poll and/or give them the option of setting the number of posts per page?

Robzilla, check out this 163 posts long thread (on a single page) at I actually read the entire page a couple of months ago, and it didn’t bother me a bit that it all was a very long page. Actually it makes it rather easy to do a Ctrl+F search on the page, which would be difficult if the thread was split to 10+ pages. doesn’t seem to have any pagination of threads implemented on its forum, as far as I can tell. Even their longest threads seem to load fast.

I think it’s a matter of personal preference, and one of context. I would expect such a page on Drupal to list all comments because, well, that’s what I’ve come to expect from pages that allow for user comments but that aren’t forum threads, such as blog posts, where you rarely see pagination. On forums, however, I’m used to it, and find it a bit daunting when that scrollbar gets so tiny that it’s harder to click. It might make sense to have them all on one page if, like on Drupal, posts tend to be short – on one forum I own, posts are often made up of multiple paragraphs, and something like 60 posts per page would simple be too much text (and KBs).

Robzilla, thanks very much for the replies. I consider this pagination change a trial. If I don’t see a positive effect on rankings I may revert it.

P.S. Drupal, even in its forum does not seem to use pagination for threads. But I failed to find an extremely long thread to post here as an example. The longest ones I’ve seen had just over 70 posts (a single page).