Do travel website landing page download sizes matter?

Catchy title I know. In another bout of procrastination I ran the homepages of a bunch of travel websites and blogs through the “Speed test” tool at Pingdom. I did this primarily because Travelfish.org has a rather chunky homepage and I was wondering if I should spend time re-assessing it to reduce the size so it would load faster. So I ran our homepage along with a bunch of other travel websites and it seems that in most cases, travel websites are not all that worried about having a homepage over one meg in size.

The notable outlier was Travellerspoint, which manages to run a homepage a fraction of the size of any of the others I tested, but their load time was only in the middle of the range — get more hamsters into that server!

TP aside, it does seem that everyone else reckons the readers will wait while they bulk out the homepage with big images, Facebook and Google plugins and so on — isn’t anybody reading Jakob Nielsen?

Some of the websites mentioned obviously will have far higher traffic numbers and I assume server load, but likewise I assume TripAdvisor has a few more hamsters in their server than some of the smaller sites listed. Because of this I ordered them by Pingdom’s “Performance grade” which takes into account a number of features in deriving a final score.

As traffic levels to these sites will vary over time through the day, I’ve linked to the actual Pingdom results are after the image. Through those links you can access Pingdom’s history tool to see historic results for a domain (in some cases I had to run the test a couple of times to get a usable result).

Pass the nachos.

Pass the nachos.

Pingdom results
Bootsnall
Travellerspoint
Gogobot
Tripadvisor
VirtualTourist
MatadorTravel
Tnooz
Travelfish
Eurocheapo
Skift
RoughGuides
Frommers
Fodors
LonelyPlanet