Why must developers optimize website performance? Because first impressions are everything, and that’s especially true when it comes to a site. Not only does it have to look good, but it also has to perform well to keep your visitors from bouncing to a competitor. Here are some website performance optimization tips you can implement to make a solid first impression and keep customers coming back for more.
Have you ever visited a website looking to be informed, entertained, or to make a purchase, only to have it load slowly? If so, it probably caused frustration. And it may have even caused a bit of distrust as you wondered if your browsing experience was secure.
If the load speed was slow enough, you might have gone back to the drawing board and looked for an alternative source. And if you visited that alternative and liked what you saw, that original website probably lost a loyal visitor or customer for good.
What Is Website Performance Optimization?
When you’re a web developer or a website owner, you want to avoid the above scenario at all costs. You can do so via website performance optimization, which improves a website’s load speeds. The better the load speeds and the faster the browsing experience, the higher your visitor engagement and conversion rates.
To be a bit more specific, optimizing website performance has the end goal of speeding up the time it takes to display a website page fully so it’s 100 percent functional. When optimizing, you want the total page load time to be as short as possible. This time refers to how long it takes for both the front-end and server-side to load entirely and generate a page. As such, by optimizing your front-end and server-side components, you can improve your website’s performance to provide a positive user experience. Use the following tips to achieve that goal.
Ways to Optimize Website Performance
Use Tools to Test Your Site
One of the easiest ways to optimize the performance of your website is to use tools. Doing so can help you discover your site’s load speeds. More importantly, these tools can help you pinpoint any possible bottlenecks that are causing the site to load slower than it should.
To make the most out of your optimization efforts, use the following tools before, and after optimizing so you can measure any improvements:
While there are many more website optimization tools on the market, those three should get you going in your quest for better performance.
Minimize HTTP Requests
If you want to avoid slow load times, limiting the number of HTTP requests is an excellent place to start. In doing so, you’ll reduce how much data the browser needs to fetch, which can improve load speeds.
Fix 404 Errors
When a page no longer exists or cannot be found, your visitor will see a 404 error message. Such a message is undesirable because the visitor cannot see what they’re looking for, but it can also bog down your server and keep it from performing other tasks that can optimize your speeds. Get rid of any 404 errors, and you should get a nice boost in performance.
Be Minimalistic With Web Fonts
Can having a wide variety of fancy-looking fonts catch your visitors’ eyes when browsing your site? Of course, but at what cost?
The more web fonts you have, the higher your HTTP requests. As mentioned, you want to minimize HTTP requests, so your browser doesn’t need to fetch so much data. By taking the minimalistic approach with fonts, you can keep those HTTP requests under control, see faster load speeds, and have happier customers.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A great way to decrease website latency and optimize performance is to use a Content Delivery Network or CDN. What is website latency? It’s how much time it takes for a request to go from the sender to the receiver, plus the time needed to process that request.
Since you may have visitors from all around the world, using a CDN with global servers at its disposal can deliver content more quickly, no matter where they are.
Can big, beautiful images wow your visitors via eye-catching graphics? Absolutely, but if those images are oversized and not optimized, they will make your website as slow as molasses. Have a look at the images on your website. If they are too big and not correctly sized, compress them with a tool like TinyPNG.
Minify to Remove Unnecessary Characters From Your Code
When you minify or compress your code to make it as small as possible, you can reduce its size by 10-95 percent. The more lightweight your code, the faster your site will run. As a bonus, minification can also help you enjoy a higher SEO score so that visitors can find your website in the first place.
If your code has deadweight that’s unnecessary for loading pages, such as new lines, comments, and white space, get rid of it.