Written by Bob Thompson on 31 October 2012
When someone visits your website, you have just seconds to grab their attention and keep them. If your website doesn’t load quickly you will lose custom to a competitor, so your website load time is critical to the success of your business.
Here are 5 tips to speed up your website:
Measure the load speed of each page on your website. Although you have specific pages where most of your traffic comes to and where you want them to go to, each page on your site that is indexed by search engines is a potential arrival location for traffic. You can’t effectively increase speed if you don’t know what the current load time is and be able to see how your changes affect it. Check your web analytics figures to find your most popular landing pages and check these first.
The biggest factor in the speed of a web page loading is the number of times the page creates an HTTP request. It creates one for each element of the page. For example, if you have 3 images on the page, there is an HTTP request for each one. For pages with a high load time, consider reducing the number of separate elements on the page and make sure your images are as small as they can be without reducing the quality.
One of the most common ways to speed up a webpage is to slice the images. This may at first seem to contradict the previous tip. Here’s the key: Slicing allows you to use pieces of images more than once on a webpage. Have your graphic designer slice the images , controls, and other parts of your webpage according to best practices, and your page load speed will increase. Slicing also gives bits of visual content as a process that can make the user perceive that a web page is loading quickly. This minute difference can be enough to keep them on your page long enough for it to load.
A commonly overlooked part of website speed is bandwidth. As bandwidth technology has improved, and the feeling that it is ‘unlimited’ has allowed webmasters to think about it less. However, it can be a cost as well as a possible limitation of how fast your pages load. Routinely monitor bandwidth usage to flag possible increases in ISP charges, or outage time for your website.
During the development of a website, it’s common for multiple stylesheets to be created. Each one creates its own HTTP request. Combine the CSS files whenever feasible to reduce the number of HTTP requests and speed up your website.
Once you have measured each page and optimised it for speed, remember to routinely monitor the speed of all pages. In today’s fast paced workplace, routine tasks are often set aside in favour of more urgent ones. Automatically delivered reports of pre-defined analytics metrics can save you time. There are several free website monitoring tools available, for example Monitor.Us .
Author’s Bio: Bob Thompson is a writer for Monitor.Us providing website & network monitoring. Bob writes about many different topics such as website security, website efficiency and how to best use website monitoring tools to improve user experience.