January 3, 2022
The story of Delete Agency
As far as I know there is only one other business that is also good at getting a perfect Lighthouse Score: Delete Agency. At the beginning of 2018 they challenged themselves to get a 100% score on their own website, but without changing how the site looked or functioned… and they succeeded!
They optimized their website in every way possible. They created the following checklist:
- tree shaking
- code splitting
- use ES2015 modules
- preload and prefetch
- DNS prefetch and preconnect
- use the correct cache headers
- use Brotli or GZIP
- use responsive images
- use proper image formats
- compress images
- compress SVG
- subset fonts
- use WOFF2 fonts with WOFF fallback
- defer and lazy load scripts
- use lazy loading on images, video, iframes, etc
- use critical CSS
- use service workers for caching
- use save data hints
- use opacity, transform and will-change only on GPU accelerated animations
- use HTTP2
- use HPCACK
- use IPv6
- replace GIF with MP4
Their huge list of optimizations led them to their beloved 100% score. They proudly presented their results and method on the International Search Summit, BrightonSEO and SearchLeeds. I was impressed and wrote some nice words about their achievement.
Only 18 months later their website scored a mediocre 42 out of 100 on the Google rank. That is because the score is relative, according to Polly Pospelova. She is partly right, as the performance score is a ranking. A perfect score means your website has the best performance of all tested websites. To be more exact: ‘The scoring distribution is a log-normal distribution derived from the performance metrics of real website performance data on HTTP Archive’. This score is likely to change over time. A score of 50 means your website scores ‘average’. However, a drop from 100 to 42 is unlikely to be due to this elastic measurement. It seems more like a case of poor maintenance.
Just before Polly went to Digital Elite Camp 2019 in Estionia to talk about Lighthouse Scores, Delete Agency held a hackaton. They basically optimized 3 things:
- They started using HTTP2
- They optimize images
- They deferred the loading of non-critical resources
Those changes led them back to the perfect Lighthouse score. Polly proudly uploaded her presentation to Youtube on april 2020. Her presentation contains some interesting topics and tips and is worth watching.
However, not a year after the upload the websites of Delete Agency is scoring 59 out of 100 again. Additionally the company has been taken over by (or ‘became’) UNRVLD, which has a website that is scoring even worse.
How to prevent this
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