THE GROUNDWORK: THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITE
Here are some basics you will need to understand before optimizing your website:
Know your speed –Any update should start with research. First, you need to measure your current performance. Search for a website speed tool and run some tests. It is best to use at least two website speed tool to get more than one result.
Test your limits –Understanding how much your website can take is also important. Speed tests measure performance during normal conditions. Load testing helps you understand how your site reacts when flooded with traffic. You can also run loads tests on your applications and other software and plugins.
Research how you perform in different scenarios –The use of scripts, fonts, images and video require different levels of optimization. Images and videos require large portions of data on your site. You should also consider connection speeds. Mobile devices range from slow (2G) to faster (3G or 4G). Dial up connections are slow. DSL is a bit faster and Cable offers even faster speeds.
Even though Internet bandwidth has been increasing, your website should be optimized for slower connections.
Not all of your customers will access your site the same way. If you know how people access your site, you can optimize it based on that data. If you are unsure, it is best to optimize for lower speeds.
OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE: MAKING UPDATES
As we discussed, images take up a lot of bandwidth. Image compression reduces the size of image files while increasing your website’s performance.
Reducing the size helps your site load images faster by removing unnecessary bytes in a file.
You can use different image formats to improve speed. Each has a different advantage, but JPGs load slower than PNGs. Due to its limited colors, GIFs load faster than PNGs. Research your platform to determine what files work best for your needs.
When possible, resize images yourself. Do not rely on applications to scale images. This reduces the number of actions needed to load a page.
Hypertext Transfer Protocols (HTTP) brings data from a server to your browser. These transactions take time. Load times increase as HTTP requests increase. The speed tests you ran earlier show you how many HTTP requests your website uses.
You can reduce requests by:
- Simplify your code. Remove unnecessary characters. Remove white spaces, new lines and boundary characters to speed up your website.
- Bundle images together with sprites.
- Remove unnecessary content or plugins.
- Reduce redirects.
Document Object Model
Content Delivery Network
A content delivery network (CDN) connects proxy servers around the globe in multiple locations. CDNs increase availability and performance to serve content faster. You can review CDNs located in different areas of the world. The response time of your content can change drastically depending on the CDN you use. Time To First Byte (TTFB) measures the responsiveness of a webserver. TTFB is another aspect to check when reviewing speed tests.
I like CloudFlare, but you should look at a few before you make decision on the CDN you want to use for your website.
Use Browser Caches to temporarily store files on a user’s computer. Frequent visitors to your site will store data in a browser cache that automatically loads when they visit. This reduces transfer requests your site.
Network protocol and scripting language
Sometimes increased performance just means upgrading your processes. Here are some upgrades to consider upgrading to HTTP/2 from HTTP 1 or upgrading to PHP7 from PHP.
Large databases also use a lot of data. The rules we discussed for images apply here. Remove unnecessary tables. Simply how you access data and reduce unnecessary actions.
Selecting font is not just about personality. There are additional factors to consider when selecting a font. This is because some fonts can hurt your site’s performance. By using minimal characters and fonts, you can simplify your processes.
Host your own fonts instead of pulling them from another location. Prioritize usage based on your web browser.
Contrary to SEO, you can improve performance by limiting links to your content. Hotlink protection prevents other websites from linking to your images. If other sites are hurting your performance, edit your code to prevent them from sharing your content.
Images are not the only content you can compress. You can compress your entire site to reduce bandwidth and increase loading speed. Nginx, Gzip and Apache are just some of the ways to compress content.
How you manage access sets the foundation for the performance if your site. If performance is important to you, spend the money on a quality web host.
Here are some kinds of web hosts:
- Shared hosting – Low price with low customization and performance
- Virtual private servers (VPS) – More expensive, but better performance
- Dedicated servers – The most expensive and usually the most powerful
This article gives you an overview of some website optimization tactics. Can you think of any basic tips you have used to improve your site? Let us know.