How to Improve your Website Load Time?

Published on May 16th, 2014 by | Category: Website

In the modern era of web design, when improvement in internet speed and web browsers’ efficiency has raised the bar of user satisfaction, in order to provide the demanding audience with the optimal experience they expect, the web designers need to update their designs and improve their websites’ load times. Statistics show that website load times and winning the trust of your website visitors are so interrelated that you can’t ignore the importance of improving your website’s load times. Who can afford the loss of 40 percent of one’s website’s traffic, the de-ranking punishment that the google has announced for such owners is only going to add to the difficulties. That is exactly one of the reasons, so many businesses, if not solely, partially dependent on the online sale/purchase/advertisement, are getting inclined toward hiring professional developers that could not only keep them aware of where they stand in the world of online business and competition but could also use their expertise and experience to do whatever it takes to win the trust of more visitors and avoid the loss of existing visitors. This article’s purpose is to let you know those simple ideas that do not require much technical background in order to understand them and implement them and yet are sufficient and efficient enough to improve your site’s speed by a considerable amount.

First things first, in order to get rid of the problem, one needs to know the extent of problem, online tools like “Pingdom Website Speed Test” and “Google Analytics” allow you to know your site’s speed through easy to understand, color coded, charts. These tools help you know whether your website is in need of maintenance or which part of your website needs attention e.g. if the *.GIFs are the source of problem, it’s going to point out the very image that’s taking unusually longer length of time to load.

You might have heard the expression “Server’s down!”, this is how tech people convey that the demand of the website under consideration is more than the demand it could accommodate without slowing down the website. The more the simultaneously made HTTP requests such as requests for loading CSS style sheets, JavaScript snippets and images etc., the longer each of these elements take to load, the slower the website becomes. Among other factors that may significantly affect the load times of the website are: the size of individual files/images, inefficiencies in the code, browser caching, content delivery system you are using, content management system you are using and the hosting service you have signed up for. We are going to go through each of these contributing aspects one by one and suggest steps that could help in solving the problem at hand.

While it may seem convenient to make use of tools provided by your content management system e.g. “WordPress” to adjust the full-sized uploaded images in order to display them on your webpages, it overburdens your web browser by demanding the execution of multiple commands such as fetching the original images and resizing them to the desired size within a limited slot of time, causing the slowdown of your site. In order to avoid facing such problems, use image editing software to adjust your images to the right size before uploading them to your site.

One very useful and effective method that could help speed up your website’s loading speed tremendously and reduce server lag is that of browser caching. Browser caching allows your web page visitor’s browser to store cached versions of static resources; calling up the content from within the cache would be lesser time consuming than reloading the entire page every time the visitor feels like returning to your page in the future. Installing WordPress’s “W3 Total Cache” Plug-in is the easiest way to integrate browser caching to your website.

As the number of freely available plug-ins and scripts increase, so does the inclination of the web developers towards stuffing their websites with as much plug-ins as possible. What they don’t understand is the fact that each of these plug-ins, free or worth a few bucks, consume some resources in order to keep benefiting their user and the more the resources of your site get consumed by them, the slower it would perform. Do not add any new plug-in to your site until or unless the functionality it offers is worth the compromise with your website’s speed. One another option you could consider in order to avoid stuffing your site with too many plug-ins is that of coding the plug-in’s content in to your site’s theme.

Loading 5 images would always take more time than loading an image that is made up of those five images. In order to lower down the number of images to load and thus speed up your website, combine your images in CSS sprites. One way to create such image sprites is to use “Spriteme”, a program offered by “spriteme.org”. Make sure that you go through all the necessary installation instructions before you jump on to installation and do not forget to go through your CSS and make appropriate changes once image sprites have been created.

You can’t speed up your website considerably until or unless you get rid of coded road blocks that prevent your site from loading quickly. In order to make sure that your website’s scripts are up-to-date, you would need to keep looking for new and updated versions of these scripts. Script developers never stop developing and improving their scripts in order to meet the growing demand of efficient scripts and usually these new releases are accessible through the website of the CMS or e-Commerce platform you are using.

Last but not the least, while working with raw html pages, make sure that you keep your site’s code neat and put CSS files at the start of your code and JavaScript snippets at the end. The advantage of putting CSS files at the top of the code is that it saves the resources your website would use in progressive rendering and would thus lower the time it would take it to load. Calling JavaScript snippets at the end of your html document which is also known as deferring JavaScript parsing would prevent blocking of page rendering and would thus help speed up your website.

2 thoughts on “How to Improve your Website Load Time?

    1. Vahid Post author

      Hi Any, I will have a series of articles about the websites security, different strategies on protecting the sites from hacking, SSL, and…

      Reply

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