10 Ways to Improve Your Website Speed & Performance

4 Aug 2019

Why is website speed so important? Every business should want their website to provide their web users and visitors with good user experience, regardless of their industry, to build customer relationships and make them want to visit the website again. Website speed is one of those factors which goes into a websites overall UX (User Experience) that every company should strive to make as good as it possibly can be.

Why? The faster your web page loading time, the better your SEO and greater the possibility of ranking higher on Google’s SERP’s (search engine results pages), which in turn will increase traffic leading to more sales. So, what can you do to improve your website speed and performance? Here are 10 points to consider:

1. Optimise Your Images

Possibly one of the easiest and most beneficial ways of promoting faster loading times on your website. This process is fairly simple and involves correctly sizing images to fit better into website banners and static image blocks, as well as compressing the quality of the image, resulting in less information to download and quicker loading times.

2. Minifying & Combining Files

This is an optimisation technique which involves removing unnecessary characters from the code of your website, such as, spaces, comments and unused code snippets. By doing this, the size of these files will be reduced resulting in a slight boost in your website speed and performance.

3. Remove Render-Blocking Javascript

When a webpage is being loaded, browsers need to build the page by parsing the HTML (analysing a string or text into logical syntactic components). If there is a script present within the initial code, then the browser will pause and execute this script before continuing to build the page. By avoiding or minimising the amount of script present within the HTML, the browser will require less time to load each page.

4. Improve TTFB (Time To First Byte)

TTFB is a measurement used as an indication of the responsiveness of a web server and refers to the amount of time before your browser receives the first byte of data from the server.

This process is comprised of a DNS lookup, server processing and response. If the time to the first byte is under 200ms then your website is performing very well. However, if it is greater than this then you might want to consider improving the server response time. To do this, look for performance issues like slow database queries or lack of adequate memory and look at fixing them.

5. Enable Compression

This is another easy way to promote the load time of your website as the smaller the files, the quicker it will be to load them. “Gzip” compression is fairly standard in well-optimised website hosting and is capable of locating repeated code and whitespace and replacing them to make the file smaller.

6. Support Browser Caching

Webpages are made up of various elements, such as stylesheet, images, JavaScript files, etc. In order to fully promote the load time of your site, enabling browser caching can permit browsers to temporarily store some of these files so that when your users revisit the site, it will load these files from the browsers local storage rather than having to download them again.

7. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

A CDN or content delivery network refers to the geographical distribution of a group of servers that operate together to provide fast delivery of Internet content.

Other than hosting your site on your server, a CDN can be used to cache your website so that when a user visits your site, their request is routed to the closest server. This will reduce the load time of the page as there is a smaller distance the data has to travel, improving overall website speed.

8. Prioritise Above-The-Fold Content (Lazy Loading)

Lazy loading is a smart way of prioritising the content that needs to be loaded first (which is often the content that appears at the top of the page). Other elements in the website will begin to load once the prioritised content has already loaded, or even sooner if it is needed and has come into view.

For example, normally a page with 10 images will need to download all of the images before displaying anything whereas, with lazy loading, the main content will appear first while the remaining images load afterwards.

9. Reduce Redirects

Having too many redirects will create additional HTTP requests which will result in additional time being wasted waiting for them to complete. By simply reducing these redirects, it will result in less time spent executing the HTTP requests and more time loading the desired page.

Some of the most common redirects include; example.com to www.example.com or http://www.example.com to https://www.example.com.

10. Reduce the number of plugins

It might not seem like it would make a difference but having more than a few unnecessary plugins will result in a lot of additional scripts, stylesheets and other files being loaded on each page. As well as slowing down your webpage load time and reducing the overall website performance, they can also introduce certain security threats, server crashes and site errors. It’s good practice to evaluate the plugins on your website every now and again and removing any that aren’t essential or replacing them with a lighter weight or more up-to-date version which doesn’t hinder your site’s performance.

If you’re suffering from a slow website that’s costing you conversions as well as traffic, get in touch with the team at Hush to improve your website speed and performance. By offering entirely bespoke and tailored software development solutions for our clients’ specific requirements, there’s no end to possibilities the team at Hush can provide. Get in touch using our online contact form or call us on 01325 361 729.