As far back as 2010 Google admitted it uses a web pages loading speed as part of it’s ranking algorithm and as the mobile web has grown so has the importance of a website’s loading speed. So with that said let’s get to the point. Here are my top tips to speed up your web pages…
No landing page redirects please. Why? Well redirects trigger an additional HTTP request-response cycle and delay page rendering. In the best case, each redirect will add a single round-trip (HTTP request-response), and in the worst it may result in multiple additional round-trips to perform the DNS lookup. So you should therefore minimize your use of redirects where possible.
Google identifies these examples of redirect patterns…
- example.com uses responsive web design, no redirects are needed – fast and optimal!
- example.com → m.example.com/home – multi round-trip penalty for mobile users.
- example.com → www.example.com → m.example.com – very slow mobile experience.
Cut The Crap…
Remove any unnecessary content, especially widgets and plugins that you only put into your sidebar or footer to fill it out, yes I’m looking at you! Only present that content that is actually relevant or related to the web page’s topic.
WordPress sites especially, tend to have sidebars or footers full of widgets or plugins that are serving no real purpose but yet are slowing down your webpage a lot. “But they are so easy to add and they look really pretty…” I hear you say. That may be true but are they actually serving a purpose? If not, get rid of them.
Tip: If you want/need to link to Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest etc. just use a linked icon (font awesome icons are great for this) or image as opposed to a widget or plugin.
Prioritise Above The Fold
Google suggests the following examples of how a site could be restructured to load faster:
- If your HTML loads third-party widgets before it loads the main content, change the order to load the main content first.
- If your site uses a two-column design with a navigation sidebar and an article, but your HTML loads the sidebar before the article, consider loading the article first.
It really is amazing how much you can reduce image file sizes without any loss of quality. You literally can’t see any difference visually but the impact on web page loading speeds can be immense. Here are 2 options for software to help you optimise your websites images.
Minify, Minify, Minify
The word compression tells you all you need to know about what this does but how does it work? All modern browsers support and automatically negotiate gzip compression for all HTTP requests. Enabling gzip compression can reduce the size of the transferred response by up to 90%, which can significantly reduce the amount of time to download the resource, reduce data usage for the client, and, most importantly, improve the time to render of your pages. See Google’s explanation of text compression with GZIP to learn more.
Good News: If you have a Blogger website then you automatically have gzip compression. If you don’t believe me thentest your website’s compression.
Bad News: Some other hosting providers’ basic hosting package do not support compression so be sure to check before you waste your time and effort working on it.
Caching involves storing information from your website for reuse. Fetching information over the network is both slow and expensive: large responses require many round-trips between the client and server, which delays when they are available and can be processed by the browser, and also incurs data costs for the visitor. Therefore, the ability to cache and reuse previously fetched resources will optimize performance and speed up your website. The most common way to leverage browser caching for increased page loading speed is using a .htaccess file.
Tip: If your website is hosted by Blogger you cannot use browser caching through the .htaccess method as you have no access to the .htaccess file. However you can try this alternative.