Often on the Faceoff podcast, Mark Sanborn and I talk about how much we love APIs and accessibility to 3rd party tools. While I still agree with that opinion, always make sure that your third party content isn’t bogging down your site. I just went to site who had SO MANY social “add this to XXXXX” buttons that it took a good 30 seconds to load!
There are quite a few ways to prevent this. For example, if you are noticing a slow down because of social “add to” buttons or subscription chicklets, make your own image for them! This will also ensure that your buttons match your sites design and won’t create site loading slow downs. If you are using another site’s API and think that it might be the culprit, do things like cache the API information and update the chache periodically.
Remember, using an API or other people’s storage is great, but don’t do it at the cost of a snappy page load.