Cameron FrancisJune 03,2014

How to Make Your Website Load Faster

Category: Web Design
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Do you want to make your website load quickly? We’ll go over some techniques you can use to make your site load much faster.

Why is it important for your site to load quickly?

  • The typical mobile user will exit a site if it doesn’t load in less than 3 seconds;
  • Google uses page speed as a factor in its ranking algorithm; and
  • Three-fourths of internet users say they wouldn’t return to a site that takes more than four seconds to load

Fast loading time is a key component to a website’s success. There isn’t much tolerance for slow sites any longer.

Fast Loading Website

Understanding Site Load Times

The load time of a site is directly related to the demand that is placed on a server in order to load it. A large number of HTTP requests and elements that take a long time to render, will result in a slow website.

Here are some typical HTTP requests:
 Loading scripts
 Loading CSS sheets
 Loading HTML
 Loading images

An additional factor that will affect load time is the size of images and files.

Images that are high resolution will take much longer to load than those with lower resolution. In the same manner, files that are unnecessarily large can have a significant impact on page load times.

In order to make a site load quickly, it must be efficient. We can accomplish this by making adjustments to images, coding, and site layout.

You can get some good information regarding the performance of your site by using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.

Steps To Making Your Site Load Faster

Image Compression

The first step you should take is to make sure that all of your images are compressed. This is easy to do using the page speed plugin that is provided by Google. Save your compressed images on your computer and upload them onto your site to replace images that are uncompressed.

Scale Images

After your images are compressed you must ensure that they are properly scaled for your site. This will save time since your server won’t need to re-size your images. Images can be scaled using Photoshop. You can alter them so that their pixel dimensions will correspond to the dimensions used within your site’s HTML code.

Browser Caching

Static resources can be cached using browser caching. This will reduce server lag and speed up your pages considerably. Browser caching can be implemented within your .htaccess file.

Use CSS Sprites To Combine Images

To reduce the number of images that are loaded on a page you can combine images into CSS sprites. Essentially, CSS sprites are a single image that is comprised of several smaller images. By combining several images into a single CSS sprite you’ll speed up your site, since a browser will now only need to load one image rather than several.

Defer JavaScript Parsing

When JavaScript is placed in the top portion of an HTML document it can impede the rendering of a page, which will slow down the page load time considerably. Therefore, if JavaScript is parsed toward the end of an HTML document as opposed to the beginning, the page will load faster.

There is also a defer attribute that can be used to defer JavaScript parsing until after a page has been loaded.

Minify JavaScript, CSS, and HTML

You can minify JavaScript, CSS, and HTML files so that they load faster. This is a compression technique to reduce load times. There are several resources available to minify files, “minifier” is one of them.

CDNs

Some sites make use of content delivery networks or CDNs when loading static resources. CDNs use servers that load very quickly to reduce server lag and speed up load times.

Combine CSS and JavaScript Files

When multiple CSS and JavaScript files are loaded, a site will load slowly. Websites that are based on a custom CMS using theme features and plugins will frequently have numerous CSS and JavaScript files.

Each of these scripts and CSS files may be combined in a larger file. If you do this, your load times will improve significantly and your visitors will be happy.

Mobile Development

When you’re developing mobile sites and apps, and while mobile app and site indexing is still evolving, it’s best to adhere to Google’s guidelines. The next few years are likely to see many changes in the way Google indexes for mobile. However, page speed is likely to be a major consideration.

Conclusion

By incorporating the changes we have shown above, you may be able to significantly reduce your site’s load time. This can make a big difference in your search engine rankings and it will certainly improve the usability of your site.

It is also likely to have a positive impact on your bounce rate. Slow load times can be a killer, particularly on mobile devices.

Fast loading time is vital to the overall success of a website. In general, it’s best to keep your page speed scores at 80 or above on all of the pages on your site. Remember, your score can be checked on Google’s PageSpeed Insights tools.

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Author: Cameron Francis Cameron Francis is the Director of eTraffic Group. He has been engaged in all aspects of online marketing for the past 8 years. He is actively involved in SEO, Paid Search, Social Media Optimisation, and Web Design.

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