Boost Your Site Speed in 5 Easy Steps
They say that statistics can be used to prove anything, suggesting that numbers and data remain susceptible to the art of creative spin.
However, when it comes to the importance of boosting your website speed, the statistics are irrefutable. As an example, a one-second delay in page loading time leads to an 11% decline in page views and an alarming 16% drop in customer satisfaction.
Not only this, but nearly half of all web users will also abandon a web page that takes more than three seconds to load, while they also expect sites to open within two seconds or less.
With these points in mind, there is clearly a pressing need to optimize the speed of your website and its individual landing pages. in this article, we will discuss five steps that can help you to achieve this objective and build a greater sense of loyalty among your customers.
1. Optimize your images
Images can contribute heavily to slow loading pages, with their size, format and src attribute providing key areas of focus for developers.
We start with size, as it stands to reason that oversized images should take longer to load. You should, therefore, ensure that your images are cropped to the correct size, depending on the pixel width of your page. If your web page is 570px wide, any images that you incorporate must fit comfortably within this if you are to avoid any unnecessary loading issues.
When it comes to formatting, you should try to upload JPEG images wherever possible. This ensures compatibility with all active browsers, as opposed to PNG files which may not be fully supported by older versions of Internet Explorer.
On a final note, you will need to pay attention to the
scr attribute and ensure that this is recorded correctly. This is part of an image’s HTML code, and without a listed source the browser will make a request to the directory of the landing page that it is featured on. This can burden your servers with unwarranted traffic and cause considerably slow loading times.
2. Prioritize content that sits above the fold
Depending on the nature of your website or business, you may need to feature a number of large image files or formats like GIFs. In instances such as this, it is important to give priority to above the fold content and ensure that this loads quickly (even if the remaining content on the page takes a little longer).
This will at least optimize the user experience as much as possible while ensuring that potential customers are engaged with some initial headline copy or a concise call-to-action (CTA).
This can be done by optimizing CSS delivery, which determines the structure of individual landing pages. Remember, websites are made up of several stand-alone elements, and CSS draws these together to establish the layout and style requirements of each page.
The data used by CSS can be accessed either inline (when information is inserted into the HTML document directly) or through an external file. So, you could consider separating your CSS into two distinct parts and using an inline feature to style the content that sits above the fold, before managing the rest externally.
Given that most brands strive to optimize the quality and structure of their above the fold content when trying to get higher on Google, this is an excellent way of simultaneously optimising load times and converting leads.
3. Using Cacheable Redirects
With Google altering its algorithms to favor mobile-first web pages, many brands have opted to create redirects for mobile users, so they only see pages built for mobile screens.
That’s a solid tactic, but only if you’re generating a cacheable redirect that increases page loading times.
This can make a noticeable difference to page loading times, but remember to use a User-Agent in conjunction with a Cache-control. This ensures that only visitors from mobile devices are redirected, preventing your serves from being overwhelmed by sudden and unnecessary traffic.
4. Utilize Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
If you are unfamiliar with content delivery networks (or CDNs to you and me), these represent a geographically distributed network of proxy serves and affiliated data centers which have been designed to optimize the availability and performance of stored assets.
By loading static content on a CDN, you can leverage a network of fast loading servers and dramatically reduce the burden placed on your own resources. This can have an instant impact on individual page loading times, while it is an ideal solution if your site has a large number of pages or is required to hold significant data sets.
Prominent users of CDNs include NBA.com and ESPN, and while this option may be unnecessary for new or smaller websites it is definitely something to consider as your proposition grows and continues to incorporate additional information, content and rich media assets.
5. Clean Up Your Code
If you have ever used WYSIWYG resources, you will know that this simplifies the process of building a web page. This is hugely appealing to some, but it should be noted that these resources can sometimes create messy code that slows your website significantly.
This has much to do with the fact that every single piece of code adds to the size of your page, so eliminating unnecessary line breaks, spaces and indentations and can create a leaner website that loads with far greater speed and efficiency.
Google refers to this process as minification, during which all unnecessary source code characters are removed without impact negatively on the site's functionality.
To minimize your HTML, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Chrome Extension to reveal an optimized version of your code. This will help you to identify potential issues and resolve these quickly, as you look to remove unnecessary elements and establish coding that can support a fast-loading website.
The Need For Speed
By following these steps, you can take small but significant steps towards improving your website’s loading time and its ability to engage visitors. Over time, this should translate into a higher conversion rate while making it far easier to build a loyal and satisfied consumer base.
Do you have any website speed boosting tips? Share them with us in the comments section below!