Dick’s Sporting Goods moves up the performance index by cutting its number of hosts and Lands’ End restructures the order in which content loads.

Apparel retailer Lands’ End Inc. had one of the largest month-over-month performance improvements on Internet Retailer’s July Desktop Performance Index.

The July Index monitored Internet Retailer’s Top 100 retailers’ desktop home pages between June 19-July 2, according to data provided by digital performance analytics company Catchpoint Systems Inc. Catchpoint provides Internet Retailer with two monthly site performance indexes, one for mobile sites and one for desktop sites.

Lands’ End, No. 49 in the 2017 Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, moved to No. 47 on the July Index, loading in 3.33 seconds. That’s up from No. 62 in June when the desktop home page loaded in 4.26 seconds.

The retailer sped up its site by restructuring the order in which the content loaded, making it appear like it loads faster, Catchpoint says. In fact, Lands’ End’s total downloaded bytes actually increased month over month to 3.99 megabytes, up from from 3.64 megabytes according to Catchpoint data.

“This is a prime example of how restructuring a page can improve users’ performance perceptions,” a Catchpoint spokesman says. “The page has been tweaked to load content essential to user interaction ahead of non-critical content, which is the majority of scripts, that can continue loading in the background if needed.”

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Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (No. 56 in the Top 500) made a similar performance improvement to its home page without changing its total downloaded bytes.

The sporting goods retailer reduced its page load time by more than 1.4 seconds and loaded in 2.51 seconds on average during the two-week period, rocketing up the index to No. 24 in July compared with No. 56 in June. The main reason for the speedier site was because Dick’s reduced the number of hosts to 46 in July from 53 in June, and reduced the number of items on the home page to 144 from 174.

“This is consistent with a recent Catchpoint analysis showing that the number of hosts on a site—and the back-and-forth interactions each one requires—can have as big, or even bigger, an impact on webpage load time than total downloaded bytes,” the Catchpoint spokesman says.

Both Lands’ End and Dick’s Sporting Goods’ load times were consisted with the index average of 3.71 seconds. Here are the top 10 performers:

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For the two weeks of June 19-July 2, the Top 100 retailers’ average load time was 3.71 seconds compared with 3.63 seconds the previous month. The 100 leading North American retail sites are those ranked by Internet Retailer by online sales in 2016, according to Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com.

The average page weight was 2.77 megabytes compared with 2.67 megabytes the previous month, and the average number of hosts was 48 compared with 49. The average number of items per page was 172, the same as the previous month. The 100 sites were, on average, available 99.95% available between June 19-July 2, compared with 99.91% for May 22-June 4.

Catchpoint monitors each website’s home page with measurements taken from Catchpoint’s in-country or in-region monitoring nodes, at intervals of five minutes for two weeks each month. Backbone monitoring nodes are the locations of Catchpoint’s devices that are near data centers operated by the main internet service providers that provide service to a city. The nodes simulate end-user contact with each website. Catchpoint monitors web page load time, availability, hosts and items.

They are defined as follows:

Web page load time: The time it takes for enough page elements to load for a consumer to begin interacting with a page, such as searching, tapping or scrolling. From a consumer point of view, the time it takes for the progress bar or spinning wheel to stop.

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Availability: The percentage of time during the two-week test week that the site can be successfully reached by a consumer.

Host: Any domain that delivers data, content or services over the internet to the site.

Items or Requests: Web page components, such as files or images that a page loads from internal and external hosts or domains. These can include PDFs, PNGs, JPEGs and GIFs.