Websites are often coded so that browsers load the same resources multiple times–for example, each time a user returns to the home page. Aptimize’s software identifies website resources that rarely change and tells the browser to cache them for longer than normal (about a year), which also speeds up loading times. And the software has a way of alerting the browser if one of these resources does happen to change. It also performs other optimizations, such as compressing files.
Robinson says that the company currently has about 120 customers, including Microsoft.com.
In upcoming months, he adds, Aptimize plans to focus on doing more to optimize sites for mobile devices. The company will add features such as the ability to detect a mobile device and adjust for its lower screen resolution by sending less information.
Speeding up websites isn’t just important for improving PageRank and performance on mobile devices, says Joe Skorupa, research vice president for data center transformation and security for Gartner Research. In many cases, even a few seconds of delay can cost businesses money. When it’s an e-commerce site, he notes, impatient customers will often leave without completing a sale if they feel a page is taking too long to load. Even for internal corporate websites, lost time can mean lost productivity, he says. If, for example, a Web application used in a call center takes 30 unnecessary seconds per call, that can force a company to hire additional staff members.
Skorupa says that the code that’s slowing down websites is often produced by the toolkits that developers use to speed up the coding process. Many companies can’t afford to spend enough time or money on optimizing their own code. So Skorupa believes there’s a lot of opportunity for companies like Aptimize to help optimize applications in new ways. “There is no shortage of bad code,” he says. “We see, unfortunately, little risk that the code coming in the future will be dramatically better than what we have today.”