We hardly use our laptops for browsing new information anymore, it’s all “mobile” now. Naturally, all websites need to have mobile compatibility and they need to be fast enough to catch users attention in those few seconds. Fast loading website, sleek design, user-friendly functionality and great use of plugins are the success factors for that to happen.
Many spend significant time and effort trying to get the user experience and usability of the website, but the website load time is at the foremost of everything and is very important. No one likes a slow website and it can drive users away to reduce pageviews, lead to dropped engagement and drop lead generation.
The size of the website plays the main role in your website load time going down and we need to work on reducing it. Every new functionality we add, every new design element we add; the code requires new HTML scripts, new stylesheets that weigh the website down. As the users require the website and data to be more n more engaging, there is hardly anything we can do other than adding these elements on the website.
Whether it’s a launch of a new website or a website redesign, we need to factor in some essential elements to improve website load time,
Check your web hosting provider:
It’s time to recheck your web hosting provider, to see whether it’s fast enough for the functionality you are using on your website. Website optimizations will mean nothing if your web server doesn’t support your website enough.
Image sizes and space slow down the website load time significantly. That’s why it’s a good idea to optimize the images. You need to scale them properly before uploading them to your website and compress them where you can. There are plenty of free tools available that can compress your images without compromising on the quality.
Compression is nothing but creating a ZIP file of your website. Even though you reduce the file sizes, it’s always better to compress them along with the rest of the website. Compression can drastically reduce the page’s size and increase your website load time. According to varvy, compression can knock off 50 – 70% from your HTML and CSS files.
This is a server-side activity but most web servers will allow compressing files using gzip utility. Gzip will work with all of the files on your site and compress them into smaller sizes before sending them to the user’s browser.
Don’t let your users download the entire page every time they open the page again. You can enable browser caching to temporarily store data on the user’s computer, so they don’t have to waste time when they visit your page. The duration of this data is stored on users computers is dependent on users browser configuration and your server cache settings.
We know that CSS loads before people see our website. It’s time to optimize that CSS code by checking if you use all the code from the file. Remove what is unnecessary, it will help in reducing the size of the file. It is also best to minimize the CSS files by removing extra spaces from your stylesheets. CSS minimization helps to decrease the file size drastically.
Use CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Start hosting your media files on a CDN as it can speed up your site and often saves significant bandwidth. CDNs are great because they host your files across a large network of servers around the world. When a user visits your site from another continent, he downloads files from the server that is closest. As the bandwidth is spread across so many servers, it helps in the reduction of traffic spikes and any attacks.
As online users demand richer experience, our files will keep getting heavier and website load time will keep getting hampered. But we need to constantly work towards achieving the best website experience for users.
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing