Part 1 - Optimise your website for speed

Posted by: Tom / 

July 11 2017 / 

Category: 

Tutorials

Intro

It is key to set targets and strategise a good quality SEO plan before launching a website. For details on how your general website performance can effect your search rank, start here. Over the coming months, we will be posting various blog posts regarding the complicated yet essential topic; SEO.

On this blog post, we introduce SEO as a concept to those less in the know, while offering a brief insight into some best practices when planning your businesses strategy. Take advantage of our expertise & experience by implementing some of these small tips. If you need any further assistance developing a sound SEO strategy, you should contact our team.

Performance is all important in 2017. Forget the trends when you notice them actually effecting the performance on your website. Google would much rather serve up a high-speed, fast-loading website with relevant content than an outstandingly designed yet slow loading website. Take a moment to consider the connections your users may be viewing from - Some visitors may still search using ancient connections, and if your website is over 3 or 4 megabytes in size it may take longer than they might like to load. In turn, this could cause a missed conversion in the form of a call, lead, email or sale when they decide to navigate away from your page & find another similar service, probably with a competitor. To avoid this, try following these simple rules:

Images - The main culprit!

Compress your images for web. Make sure the dimensions & resolution aren’t too high. As a simple rule of thumb if you don’t know what any of this is, aim to keep the image width & height under 1500px, and the overall file size under 500kb. Ideally smaller.

Your website images will probably be the largest pieces of content, and although essential they can really be chopped down in size through saving properly.

Test your images using a tool such as GTmetrix where you can see how long each resource takes to load on the waterfall section.

Reduce clutter

We often get asked to redevelop websites with years of clutter in the backend which slows it down significantly. Through proper organisation of your website structure, you can easily prevent it getting cluttered with content over time. Consider the following:

  • Store old content away properly by categorising blog posts into useful categories rather than having them all load on one page.
  • Remove old image content & prevent hot-linking through use of Cloudflare which is free to an extent. Hot-linking is where other website users use an image or similar directly from your website, so whenever someone loads that link from their site, it actually loads from your server. This could slow down your server response time by increasing the CPU usage over time.
  • Streamline your content into easy to understand section & add links to good relevant pages where possible.

Enable a caching solution

You may have seen on your browser that you can clear search history. Sometimes you may have needed to do that if a page isn’t loading correctly or something along those lines. There are different levels of caching including on your browser, server & others also stored within the websites server. These are meant for faster loading as the data is stored in each area ready to quickly serve to the end user. For example, Brian visits the Web & Roll homepage on Monday using the Google Chrome browser. Because he has never visited this site before it takes a couple of seconds to load. The website is then stored in Brian’s browser in case he wants to visit the website again. This saves on both load time, and resources for Brian’s internet connection. This is all hypothetical of course, we actually utilise a CDN (content delivery network) which serves our website up at light speed around the world. If you want to know about this more advanced technology, speak to our team Multiple caching solutions are available for each content management system, or you can even have your web developer create some custom rules for your website. If using Wordpress, we recommend W3 Total Cache, just install the basic rules & you should notice your load time improve dramatically.

About the author

I'm a web developer & online marketing specialist who tends to spend most days experimenting & keeping up to date with HTML, CSS, JS, PHP & various other work-related jargon. I lead the development team & like to constantly push boundaries within the business. Unfortunately, I support LUFC.