Another Useful Resource To Help Survive The Post Net Neutrality Slowdown

Forewarned is forearmed, so to that end you should be up to speed on the impending slowdown that will transpire once the FCC implements its new series of rules that will eradicate Net Neutrality (latest details).

In short, the new goal will be the ability to make page load speeds as low as possible. We examined several tools in September, 2013 that you can use to begin measuring and troubleshooting page load speeds but today’s post will share one of my secret weapons to simultaneously measure speed and pin down specific elements that drag down performance.

How-To Guide

Page Speed 01

  1. Head over to and enter your orchestra’s URL in the “Analytical Review” tab.
  2. Choose the specific test location.
  3. Select the type of browser (sorry, Safari doesn’t seem to be available at this point in time but select “IE9” if you want to test the slowest potential browser environment).
  4. Click the “Start Test” button.

Page Speed 02

  1. The summary results page will provide an overview of the site’s performance ratings across multiple metrics categories; click any to go to the detailed results.
  2. The test measures initial and repeat visit environments, a very handy tool to help determine if your Content Delivery Network (CDN) and/or caching rules are having much impact.
  3. Click on any of the subsequent results charts for greater detail.

Page Speed 03

  1. Click on any line item and a popup screen will appear to display specific info about the respective element; in this case, the laggy culprit is a homepage slider image. Potential solutions include any one or more possibilities: better image optimization, improved CDN usage, using a higher quality solution for that specific element (i.e. the image slider), making sure all scripts are up to date, modifying the page’s load order, and more.
  2. In addition to the details overview, there are three additional screens in the popup that will provide even more detail to help narrow down which solutions might be most effective.

Some of the more common problems are the easiest to fix, such as compressing images. For example, you rarely need to save a jpg at 100 percent quality; instead, half that is usually plenty. Other solutions will require more effort, much of which is usually beyond the reach of day-to-day site admins and will require your provider to implement. provides a great deal of additional detail, some of which will cross the usefulness threshold for some but that shouldn’t stop you from identifying critical areas of improvement using the steps above.

All of this should be one more reminder that selecting which providers you use to host your site is more important than ever; likewise, you should ask your current provider(s) about what sort of plan is in place to help maximize page load speeds in a post net neutrality slow down operating environment (not to mention if they anticipate an increase in your fees to upgrade systems etc.).

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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