Social Media Files Slowing Down My Page

My pages on are typically showing first load times of about 5 seconds. A quick perusal of the waterfall shows that a lot of the time is taken up with loading all the Plus1, Facebook and Twitter files that seem to be needed in order to have the typical social media buttons which everyone seems to use these days. If I delete those buttons from a page, the load time comes down to about 2 seconds.

Is it worth having all that extra load time?

Does it mean anything in reality?

As these are the same files that many other websites call, I imagine most visitors already have the files in their cache and don’t need to load them.

Apparently Google takes page load time into account when ranking a page. Are these sort of results really likely to affect my Google ranking?

I know there are no black-and-white answers to these questions, but I’d be interested in opinions.

I wouldn’t worry about them even if your users didn’t have them in cache as long as you are loading them asynchronously and your site content isn’t blocking on them. 5 seconds is pretty fast and you are probably getting more benefit from the social sharing that you would get dinged for otherwise.

If you have Google Analytics on your pages (or beacons from a performance reporting product) you can get the page load times for your actual users and do a sanity check.

I didn’t know that! I’ve just been looking on Google Analytics and I still can’t find it. Where do I find that bit?

Thanks for the general reassurance, by the way. I’m a bit les concerned about it now.

It’s under content->site speed->page timings

Great thing having it in there is you can slice and dice all sorts of ways and mash it up against your other analytics data.

Ilya Grigorik also had a great post on using it for anomaly detection:

Thanks. I didn’t know that was there. The figures are rather more encouraging there, though the sample is small. It would have been nice to compare the figures for different pages but at the moment most pages only have one sample against them. Hopefully, if I come back in a few days or weeks I might see a much bigger sample from which I can draw better conclusions.

Just reading and understanding the data on Google Analytics is a heavy task. I think I’ll have to restrict slicing, dicing and mashing to my vegetables. :stuck_out_tongue: