5 Ways To Improve Web Performance

Posted on by Glen Wheeler

Website Design books by A Book Apart, very colourful

Website performance has become quite a concern to many website developers over the last year. With the recent move to mobile its more important than any other time. Devices such as phones and tablets have restrictions in terms of Hardware Acceleration and connectivity, take for example 3G, 4G vs Wifi. How can websites perform better? What do you need to do to achieve a faster website loading time? Here is a small list on how you can improve this just by using these simple methods.

  1. Your Server - The first step to gaining website speed comes from a fundamental choice. Where is your website hosted? What hardware does the server use? What is the service uptime? How knowledgeable are the support team. All of these questions need to be answered. The chances are, if you are selecting a cheap host then you are likely to get a poor service in terms of speed and support.
  2. Image Optimisation - Using specific image optimisation tools will help your page speed performance. There are many tools out there such as ImageOptim (Mac), AdvancedCOMP (Windows), Caesium (Windows) and JPEGMini (Mac) to help you compress images but keep the quality.
  3. CSS is top JS is bottom - It might seem a bit odd, but something as simple as placing your CSS at the top and JavaScript at the bottom will help in a little way, especially if you store all of your JavaScript in a "site-scripts.js" file. Having the CSS at the top will prohibit progressive rendering which helps block rendering rather than having the page redraw elements of the page.
  4. Minimize HTTP Requests - 80% of web page load time comes from time spent downloading different elements of a web page. How can you help this load time? Streamline the elements on your page. The use of CSS instead of images where possible. Combine your style sheets into one style sheet. Reduce your scripts and have them load from one file at the bottom of your page.
  5. Compile and Compress GZIP - Compression reduces the bandwidth of your website pages, which in turn reduces the HTTP response time. To do this you can use a tool called GZip, which can be found here.

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