How to Improve Website Speed & Performance

Why Is Website Performance Important? 

Website performanceWe live in a world where speed is everything. We’ve grown well accustomed to next-day delivery, instant entertainment streaming, hot pizza in under 30 minutes – the list could go on and on. The same goes for your website. 

The days of dial-up internet are long gone, so you want your users to have the best experience possible based on your website’s speed and efficiency. They expect it. So does Google.

In fact, two competing pages could be identical in all other metrics a search engine analyzes, but if one doesn’t meet Google’s speed and performance analysis, it will lose out in ranking preference. That loss can lead to other losses in visibility, brand awareness, new customers, and new revenue.

You’ll face similar setbacks with users who visit your site but face frustrating load times or poor optimization of features and other performance factors. 

Here are three more reasons why website performance is so important:

1. High speed ensures an optimal user experience.

According to a recent Business.com article, user engagement drops by the second. At one second, the estimated conversion rate is 40%; at two seconds, it drops to 34%…and so on. If your website speed isn’t optimized, you face a huge risk of losing credibility and customers.

2. Improving website performance can reduce your maintenance costs.

Most hosting facilities charge based on bandwidth and storage usage. Optimizing your website performance will save you money by reducing your storage costs and bandwidth usage significantly. 

3. Mobile website traffic beats desktop traffic.

Mobile website traffic has edged out desktop traffic, and mobile users are even more sensitive to poor page loading and will abandon slow sites much quicker than desktop users. If you ignore mobile optimization and performance, you risk losing a lot of potential profit.

(Note that while mobile traffic far surpasses desktop traffic, users tend to spend more time on their desktops vs. mobile devices.)

What Is Website Performance Optimization?

Now that you know why website performance is so critical to the health of your organization, what exactly is website performance optimization? 

Essentially, website performance optimization monitors and analyzes the efficiency of your website. It will identify ways to improve it in terms of speed, features, implementations, design, SEO, and digital marketing. 

By regularly monitoring your website’s performance, you can pinpoint where it’s lacking and take measures to improve it for the best user experience (UX).

Strategies to Improve Website Speed & Performance

Now, while knowing is half the battle – knowledge without action won’t do you any good. So, here are some tips for how to improve your website speed and performance:

  • website optimization servicesReduce what you send to the browser. 

Reducing the amount of data transferred to the browser should be your number one priority when it comes to reducing page load. Here are four ways to do that: 

    • Compress and optimize images.
    • Always use scaled-to-size images. 
    • Remove unused CSS or JavaScript, and then minimize your CSS and JavaScript. 
    • Enable a server-side compression-like GZip. 

Most modern browsers support compression-like GZip, and it will significantly reduce the amount of data passed from the server to the client browser.

  • Optimize what you send to the browser. 

Remove all JavaScript errors and 404 errors that occur on the page. These requests can cause long delays and often cause browsers to crash. 

Also, use efficient CSS selectors. A poor-performing selector that has to search the entire DOM object can significantly slow down your load time. 

Remove any unnecessary markup, avoid CSS expressions and imports, and put your CSS declarations in the document header. You should also look for opportunities to condense and combine CSS files and JavaScript files. 

Finally, defer parsing JavaScript on page load, which is extremely helpful for mobile devices.

  • Let the browser cache resources for you. 

Take full advantage of browser caching. It does not cost you anything, and it significantly reduces the number of requests for static resources from your server. This alone will reduce your server load and improve user experience. 

  • Implement data caching from the server side. 

One often-overlooked caching option is data and server-side caching. Content provided from the data cache is usually stored in memory on the server so the server can access and deliver the data faster, rather than making a round trip to the DB. 

From the application side, choose which page parts can be cached on the server. For example, headers and footers rarely change and can be cached from the server side using techniques like output caching. 

Dynamic content delivered from a database should also be cached when possible. Make sure to implement data caching for the most requested areas of your site!

  • Reduce DNS lookups and redirects. 

Reduce the number of unique domain requests as much as possible. This will reduce the number of DNS lookups, which can be costly in the loading process. 

Also, ensure that your DNS Time to Live (TTL) is not too low because this forces some browsers to do more frequent and unnecessary DNS lookups. 

Finally, reduce or eliminate unnecessary redirects.

There are many different platforms and frameworks available, but these concepts are the same across all of them. There are also excellent tools to analyze and manage site performance, such as: 

    • Google PageSpeed Insights: Tests your CoreWeb Vitals and makes recommendations for improvements.
    • GTmextrix: Tests your site’s performance and provides a report with explanations, recommendations, and resources.
    • WebPageTest: This website performance tool offers advanced configuration options to allow for testing from a wide variety of browsers, devices, and locations and provides insightful metrics.

Your target goal for page load time should be three seconds or less before you turn on browser caching. Start with the homepage and other high-traffic entry pages; then, as time permits, hit the other pages.

How Website Optimization Services Help

Remember, you want your website speed to be more like Usain Bolt and less like the DMV. At Ironistic, all of our website hosting and maintenance clients undergo regular audits that analyze website performance and optimization.

We carefully comb through your website to review your website’s speed, usability, design, security, optimization strategies, and more. We then provide recommendations and support to implement any necessary improvements.

If you are interested in these website optimization services or have questions about website performance, contact Ironsitic today.

 

I Feel the Need for Speed!

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