Purch is a digital publishing and marketplace platform that owns tech, shopping, lifestyle and SMB brands, including Tom’s Guide, Top Ten Reviews, ShopSavvy and Business.com. The company generates more than $1billion in commerce transaction annually, and with more than 1,200 product categories, Purch is #1 for buying advice for more than 100 million people each month.

Chris McCooey, Vice President of Technology, manages a global team of engineers that are responsible for the front-end development and architecture across the Purch enterprise.  Our team sat down with Chris to learn more about how they are using Rigor Optimization across their development lifecycle.

How is Purch using Rigor Optimization?

At the beginning of the year, our front-end team started an initiative around page performance. We’ve started revisiting several of our outdated templates and optimizing them for the new market. Part of this initiative includes integrating Rigor into our build process.

Once this is complete, we will be running Rigor Optimization against every new build in our staging environment. This will allow our engineers overseeing the builds to have immediate feedback on whether or not the code meets our performance benchmarks and is ready for production.

We also use Optimization to explore the performance impact of third and first-party content. Our engineering team is able to exclude the ads running on our site that create a lot of noise, so we can pay attention to the aspects of our sites that we control. This allows us to focus on tackling aspects of our sites like page design, content, and the weight of page elements.  

How has Rigor helped you optimize for mobile?

With the ever-increasing shift from desktop to mobile, and with Google’s recent announcement about their emphasis on performance of mobile pages, the performance of our mobile pages is now critical to our business.

Traffic on our mobile site is increasing and approaching around 50% of our total traffic. So while reworking our outdated templates, we set pretty aggressive performance benchmarks for our mobile sites. We use Rigor as our single point of truth to monitor how we are doing. For us, it is very helpful for us to run recurring tests in Optimization to see how these key metrics are changing over time.  

What sparked Purch’s efforts to create a culture of performance?

The engineering team at Purch really tries to drive home the fact that performance is not just an engineering problem, but a problem for our entire business.

Our team can apply all of the best techniques for things like lazy loading, light HTML and javascript reduction, but if the page design includes content that weighs too much, there is not a lot the engineering team can do about it after the fact. From design onward, we really have to be conscious of how we are rendering these pages.

I think the conversation has been gaining a lot of momentum over the last few years. When Google pushed out Google AMP, the whole industry started taking note and questioning what signals they were sending. Now we have a much clearer understanding of where they were going in regards to mobile page speed and performance in general.

 

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