They don’t call us Rapid Web for nothing. We strive to ensure that we develop websites to perform as fast as possible. Why? Because did you know that you subconsciously move away from a website if it doesn’t load within the first few seconds.
That’s not the only reason. Google use site performance to help decide where a site should appear in their search rankings. Focusing on site performance is especially crucial now that we are in the era of mobile-first websites where we can access web based-content from small, low powered devices.
For e-commerce sites, it is important to load your products within seconds. A second extra to wait for a website to load could be the difference between a sale or no sale. Did you know that on average the top 50 popular e-commerce websites take less than 5 seconds to load the homepage. If you run an e-commerce website, you need to ensure your own store is meeting this load time average, otherwise consumers will click away and look elsewhere for a faster-loading competitor.
There are many factors to consider when optimising a website. Here are a few areas that we can check to improve for you:
Image Compression is a technique used where the file size of an image can be reduced using several different approaches. You can also resize, crop and change the format of an image to reduce the file size.
We recommend using image optimising/compression tools such as RIOT for Windows or ImageOptim for macOS users. You can even install a WordPress Plugin to optimise your blog’s images on-the-fly using a plugin such as EWWW image optimiser to ensure your images are as small as possible in file size.
Code Minification is an important factor for developers to consider. This is where any unneeded spaces or characters within the code are removed to reduce the file size of the source code. This is useful for the end user as it means there is less data to download. Useful for those on slow or capped data connections.
Each image, video and other forms of media have to be requested and downloaded by the end user’s browser from the server they are hosted on. This can be very time consuming depending on the number of assets requested, the end user’s download speed and the latency between the end user’s internet connection and the server which the content is hosted on.
However, there are many ways to minimise the time it takes to request and download all these resources. Ideally, you would want to host external resources on a content delivery network. Not only will it relieve some load off of your own server, but it’ll allow the users to be able to download common external resources from the closest CDN server, thus saving vital milliseconds off of the load time for the website.
Web Fonts are assets that get downloaded and rendered on a per-page basis, compared to system fonts that are installed already on the end user’s computer and called when needed. The main advantage to web fonts is that it means that it brings consistent typography to each web page as it’ll ensure that the font is ready to use on a webpage whenever it is needed. Whereas some system fonts might not be available on all devices, such as some fonts might be exclusive to Microsoft’s Windows platform, thus won’t be installed on macOS devices.
As a designer, you have to be cautious about using several web fonts at a time, as they can make your design look cluttered and distracting. It also has a detrimental effect on page performance. This is due to the several amounts of code that need to be downloaded and rendered by your end user’s device.
We recommend no more than a maximum of two web fonts to be used at a time.
You can also check Google’s page speed tool to give yourself a rough idea of how your website is performing. Bear in mind that they are constantly tweaking their pagespeed algorithm so mileage may vary. You should be aiming for a score of 90+.