7 Tips to Optimize Website Performance and Improve Page Load Speed

Have you ever left a website because it took an eternity (which is probably anything more than 3 seconds) to load? Page load speed has an important role to play in user experience. In fact, a decline in page load speed could cost a business several conversions.

Page speed determines the first impression of your online users, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), bounce rate and conversion rate. And slow loading websites are the result of one or more of the following factors:

  • High-resolution images and large media files,
  • Unoptimized JavaScript,
  • Bulky website code,
  • Multiple HTTP requests,
  • Multiple plugins to load,
  • Caching issues,
  • High traffic, etc.

Here, we list down the most effective ways to improve page loading speed and enhance your website’s performance

1. Don’t Compromise on a Performance Budget

A website performance budget is quite essential to keep the number of page elements and third party elements that affect the website’s performance in check. Applying a budget to such files, file types and content that appears on the browser could improve the First Contentful Paint (FCP).

To track the budget assigned for assets such as JavaScript and CSS, we leverage webpack-bundle-size analyser plugins or tools such as Lighthouse that calculates the performance score of websites (https://www.performancebudget.io/).

2. Leverage CDN

Content Delivery Network (CDN) enables better performance, thereby reducing the server response time. CDN is specially designed to fix network latency, the measure of delay in the communication over the network caused by the physical distance between the user/ client and the hosting server.

3. Web Caching

If caching is enabled on a website, all the various elements on the page (i.e., JavaScript, images, etc) are stored closer to the user’s CPU. This allows browsers to quickly retrieve such data from closer locations rather than query the web server each time.

Here are the different types of cache that helps to improve the performance of your website:

  • Browser Cache

Browser cache stores files in local storage, and whenever the data is required the user need not hit the server.

  • Server Cache

This is one of the best web caching methods. Once a request is sent to a server for a particular content, it checks the temporary storage for that specific data and sends a response from the storage, if it exists.

  • Memory Cache

Memory cache will store data in the computer’s main memory or RAM and process it from there.

4. Optimized Images

Images are considered the most common problem that affects website performance. Heavy, high-resolution images and media files increase the time taken to render the page. Using new generation image formats like JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP could resolve this issue for you . These formats reduce 25% to 40% of the image size. Adopting practices such as lazy loading for images and other such assets, so as to delay loading such files until they are required, could improve web page performance.

5. Prioritizing Content

Once the page loads, browsers download the content. This means for a better performing website, we need to prioritize the content on the page. By default it’s prioritized based on the resource and where it is located in our script.

6. Optimized CSS, JS & Fonts

  • Remove unused CSS and JavaScript and fonts that are loaded from third party sources.
  • Reduce painting areas which increases page load time.
  • Compress CSS and JS files (GZIP is the popular file format).
  • Preloading web fonts and reducing the usage of fonts is bound to improve page performance.
  • Prefetch assets to reduce the page load time
  • Minimize DOM access & use HTTP/2 protocol
  • Using the Chrome DEV tool one can identify scripts causing a bottleneck and the ones that are time-consuming.

7. Optimized TTFB (Time To First Byte)

When the user enters a URL, the browser sends an HTTP request to the server. TTFB is the time it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of the response from the server.

How to Optimize TTFB?

  • Reducing complex firewall rules improves TTFB time.
  • Browser cache & application level cache improve TTFB.

The success of a business, these days, depends heavily on its online presence. While social media accounts can be leveraged to connect with new markets across the globe, having a website is beneficial to businesses in more than one way. Having said that, an obsolete webpage is more likely to cause harm to the business than benefits. A better website performance and page load speed could be key to improving online client conversion rate.

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