Web page load times

Most users spend most of their time on other websites. Your website is viewed a very small proportionate of their time. Therefore if you make your pages load faster than most other pages on the internet, your users will believe your website is lightning fast. Generally the optimal speed at which a website loads is based on a comparison against other websites.

Superman flying through a cityIf users look at your website and compare the loading times against others, that means that a single page load is probably not sufficient for the user to make a correct comparison. Most likely the user would need to view multiple pages of your website to make a judgment about the load times.

Therefore we believe it is ok that your website loads a little slower on the first load. This means cram all your CSS and Javascript files into your first load. Even if this does bloat your page, it should be acceptable as the user won't notice after traversing your site. After all the files have been loaded and they will be cached in the users browser and therefore subsequent pages will load faster.

It is the web page load times of each page after the first initial load that the user will remember. Make sure subsequent pages load faster by using correct caching mechanisms and keeping your HTML succinct. We wouldn't worry about trying to split your CSS and javascript files up for different pages unless you have a very smart system to do this (which we actually do), just get everything loaded as soon as possible so the experience after the first page is one of pleasure.