Website Speed: It’s The Small Things That Matter

If your business draws a good amount of revenue via its Website, you’ll want to make sure that your visitors can navigate your site easily by making your structure as user friendly as possible. Another thing you’ll also want to do is make sure that your load times as fast as you’re able to.

Studies show that as many as 30% of visitors will abandon a site that doesn’t load within the first 6-10 seconds of being called. If you convert this to missed conversion opportunities, it quickly becomes clear how important it is to get your site to screen in as short a time as possible.

We also know that Web search companies like Google favour Websites that load in good time so getting things spot on could even gain you a few positions on a results page. Here are some recommendations that can make a real difference with very little effort or cost to implement. A quick search of each will give you details of how to incorporate these in to your Website.

Resource Compression

You’ve probably come by files that have been compressed. Compression works by removing known or repeated data from a file. The result of this is a file that’s significantly smaller in size that can be transferred at a much quicker rate. When a compressed file is decompressed, the known data that was removed can be placed back by the decompressing program at no loss to the file.

The great thing is that the latest browsers can support compressed files meaning that the source documents for your website can be compressed. The most widely compression for websites is ‘GZip’. It can be used to compress source HTML, JavaScript and CSS. Compressing these source files means that when your site is called by a visitor, the time it takes for your pages to be displayed will be reduced.

Browser Caching

Browser caching is great if you have a visitor base that comes back time and time again. By caching your Website, you can tell re-visiting browsers that certain aspects of the page are unchanged. The visitor’s browser will then display the data that it downloaded the last time they visited instead of downloading the entire site’s contents again.

Image Scaling

One of the common mistakes with Websites are images that are too large. If you’re in digital media or photography, you may have a need to display high resolution images, however if you’re not, it’s worth knowing that your images have no need to be very large. When it comes to site speed, it’s best to scale your images to fit your Websites display settings.

For example, if the container for posted images has a width of 540 pixels, posting an image with a larger width will take longer to load despite being scaled down to fit the container. At times, images can be seen in multiple places on a Website at different sizes. The recommendation is to scale your image down to the largest size that it will occur. It can then be further scaled in the site’s mark-up to account for thumbnails.

Consider A Content Delivery Network

A CDN is like having a clone of your Web server in a many locations around the world. This really benefits businesses with a worldwide audience as the clone servers will respond to site calls according to their location. The benefit is two-fold because your Web server will receive significantly less requests, even in at peak times, saving costly bandwidth and processing power.

Using a CDN can be simple but you should consider setting elements of your site up so that the CDN can fetch and serve the most up to date information. There’s also a cost factor to consider. CDNs can be free in some cases however there may be a cost if you require a higher service level.

Akin Fagbohun is an health blogger with extensive industry experience. He’s also a self-taught front-end developer having worked on some small Web projects. In addition to writing about health and fitness, he is also a researcher and copywriter on behalf of Six Degrees Group, who provide cloud solutions to UK and international enterprises.