CDN network
15 Apr 2019

Website Speed Optimization Techniques

Website speed optimization is vital. As the Internet has infiltrated every part of our daily lives, we have come to rely on apps and services to manage every aspect of the way we work and live. As an Internet experience, whether it be with a mobile device, laptop, or desktop, typically involves a request for information and a response from a service, speed and performance are vital. In today’s fast-paced world, we all demand an instantaneous response from websites, apps, and services and get frustrated if the data we need is not on our screens within a few seconds. However, web performance is not only a crucial element that improves the experience of website visitors. It is also an essential metric for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Page speed is a vital factor that is used to rank your site by search engines such as Google.

Since speed and performance are vital to the success of any web service, it is essential that you take the necessary steps to optimize your site. By implementing a few modifications and tweaking some code, you can improve your page speed load times significantly. Not only will these measures enhance the experience of visitors to your site, but it will also help promote and optimize your site increasing its search ranking.

1 – Website Speed Optimization With Reduced Image Sizes

Images are an essential element of any web page and should form a vital part of any website strategy. The fact is that web pages with images get more views, help deliver your product or service message in a clear and succinct format, and fuel social media traffic. They are also a critical element in any SEO campaign. If you add the appropriate HTML tags, they help search engine indexing and direct more visitors to your website as images render in search results. However, as our Internet experience has become more visual over the years, sites have been forced to present users with images that have higher resolutions and improved quality. The problem with this approach is that it increases the data size of each web page significantly. Large images increase the total amount of data that needs to be pulled from your server each time a visitor loads a page, and the higher the amount of data, the longer it takes for it to render completely.

Optimizing your images to increase page speed requires a delicate balance. You need to reduce your image sizes while still ensuring they render with the appropriate quality to ensure you maintain the user experience. For example, if your page width is 700 pixels and you upload an image that is larger than that size, the browser takes longer to render it as it needs to be rescaled. You could also consider refactoring using different file formats. JPGs, GIFs, PNGs, and SVGs are images that all browsers support. Each has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to size and resolution. Experimenting with each type can help you find that perfect balance between the speed and quality your site requires to deliver the ideal experience for your visitors. 

2 – Optimize JavaScript and CSS

A typical web page has multiple elements that get transferred from the web server to the user’s browser when a page loads. These include the base HTML files, images, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that format HTML elements with color, animation and other features, and JavaScript files. As each element possesses a particular data size, the more items that load and the size of each component has a direct impact on the page load speed. However, modern websites require all of these elements to provide the user with an enhanced experience. Without CSS and JavaScript files, there would be no formatting, animation, or any other interactive features that modern web users have come to expect. As you cannot remove these vital web components, you need to optimize them to ensure they do not hinder your website’s performance while still delivering the functionality expected.

There are multiple ways to reduce the size of JavaScript and CSS files. Minification, which is the process of removing any white space between the lines of code is proven optimization technique that can have a significant impact on large CSS and JavaScript files. In some instances refactoring these files can also result in not only reducing the file size but can also enhance and optimize its execution. However, due to the complexity involved and the way modern websites share the same JavaScript libraries, refactoring may not be an option. In these cases, you can still improve the user experience by manipulating when these web elements load. By having a page load JavaScript after it has loaded its HTML, CSS, and images, may not reduce the overall page load time but can increase the user experience significantly. By changing the sequence of each element, the page visitor can start viewing the content while other non-essential components load in the background. 

3 – Cache Your Static Content

Implementing technologies that cache your static content is another method you can use to optimize your page load speeds. Instead of the user’s browser fetching the same material from the web server every time they visit the same page, the unchanged files can remain on the user’s device. There are various plugins for popular website platforms like WordPress that enable local content caching. You also have the option to programmatically allow this functionality by leveraging elements of the HTTP protocol and configuring specific HTTP headers. However, these methods only provide the optimization experience you need after the visitor has loaded the page for the first time. They also do not account for times when the user clears his or her browser cache for whatever reason.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) improve the speed and performance of your website by caching static content on servers located across the world. Not only do they ensure better page load times due to their proximity to every user’s location, but they also help optimize your page speed by leveraging the latest networking standards and protocols. In addition to the speed, performance, and optimization a CDN offers, it also helps reduce the load on your web server, provides improved site security, helps with load balancing traffic during peak times, and provides the redundancy and high availability your website needs to ensure it always delivers the perfect user experience.

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