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Your website speed optimisation guide

By 20th June 2024No Comments19 min read
website speed optimisation guide

In today’s world, having a fast website is super important. It’s a key part of being successful online. People hate waiting, and slow page load times can make them leave your site.

This guide is your complete manual to making your website faster. We’ll cover a lot, from dealing with render-blocking resources to tweaking performance metrics. This way, your visitors will enjoy a smooth browsing journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Find out how slow sites hurt user experience, SEO, and sales.
  • Get tips on making your website faster, like shrinking images and using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  • Learn how to spot and fix things that slow down your site’s first view.
  • See why it’s important to keep checking and improving your site’s speed.
  • Figure out how to choose what content to load first and make your server respond quicker.

In the digital age, a fast website is key. Slow sites cause people to leave, drop conversions, and reduce engagement. Google ranks quick sites higher, so speeding yours up is crucial for more visitors and better rankings.

How fast your website loads is vital for happy users. A delay of just one second lowers satisfaction and views. Speeding up your site makes people stay longer and boosts sales and views.

If your site is slow, people will leave, hurting your sales and ads. Slow sites also make users think poorly of your brand. This could linger and affect your reputation.

For a great browsing experience, making your website fast is essential. Use methods like minification, browser caching, and a content delivery network. These steps will make your site load faster and please your users.

Understanding key metrics and using the right tools is vital for website speed optimisation. It helps measure and analyse how your site performs. Essential metrics include page load time, time to first byte (TTFB), and first contentful paint (FCP).

These show you where your site is slow and where it can do better.

To check your site’s speed well, use top web performance testing tools. Google PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest, and Lighthouse are great. They give deep insights, like spots for minification and how to fix render-blocking resources.

Google PageSpeed Insights offers tips for speed improvement on mobile and desktop. WebPageTest tests how your site does under different situations. Lighthouse, within Google Chrome, looks at your website’s performance, its friendliness, and whether it follows the best rules.

Using these tools and understanding their performance metrics helps a lot. It lets you find out how to make your site faster. This way, you can decide on changes that make your website run better by facts.

When it comes to making websites fast, images often slow things down. But there are tricks to fix this. You can make images smaller without losing quality. Also, choose the right image type and size for different devices. This way, your website will load quickly for everyone who visits.

Shrinking image sizes is simple but effective. It’s about making them lighter without looking worse. Tools like TinyPNG are great for this job. They keep images looking good while making them smaller. Others, like ImageOptim and Squoosh, are also good options. They make the process easy and use smart tech for better results.

Making images fit every screen is key to a fast website. This means your site picks the right image size for each user. It stops the waste of sending big images to small screens. Using `srcset` and `sizes`, your site can do this smartly. Adding lazy loading also helps. It makes sure only the images people see get loaded first. This speeds up the web page’s start time a lot.

With `srcset`, you give browsers different image versions to choose from. This helps them show the best image for the user’s device. `sizes` then tells browsers how big the image will be displayed. Together, they make sure the right image is used every time. Lazy loading adds the final touch. It holds offloading images that aren’t on the screen yet. So, your website loads faster, impressing visitors from the start.

When making our website faster, we investigate minifying and caching static resources. This involves making files smaller and letting your browser store them. The result is quicker page loads and a better user experience.

Minifying means taking out extra bits from CSS and JS files. Things like spaces, comments, and unused code go. Doing this makes files smaller and pages load quicker. Tools like UglifyJS and CSS Nano are popular for this.

Also, putting CSS and JS files together reduces how many files your browser must fetch. This cuts down on the time your browser spends finding and showing the content. So, your site feels smoother to use.

Browser caching is vital for making sites load faster. It saves CSS, JS, and image files on a user’s device. This way, the browser doesn’t always have to download them again, which speeds things up.

To use caching well, you must set up the right rules. This makes sure the browser only gets new files when it must. As a result, there are fewer unnecessary fetches and your site’s server responds quicker.

When working on website speed optimisation, it’s key to find and fix render-blocking resources. These include JavaScript and CSS files. They slow down how fast your web pages first show up. This can make your site look bad and feel slow to use.

To make your site faster, start by spotting which scripts cause delays. You can use Chrome DevTools or WebPageTest. They help see how your website’s resources load. Focus on the JavaScript and CSS files that delay the first screen view.

Delay loading non-essential JavaScript until after the page shows up. This is done by using async or defer. Or load the scripts later with JavaScript. These methods help make your site seem faster at first glance.

  • The async tag lets the browser run the script as soon as it downloads. This doesn’t pause showing the webpage.
  • The defer tag tells the browser to run the script after it reads all the HTML but before showing the page completely.

Improving the critical rendering path also means putting the CSS that shows top-fold content in the HTML. This way, the browser doesn’t wait for external styles to start showing the page.

Some tools, like Critical Path CSS Generator, can find the critical CSS. They help you know what styles the page first needs.

Aside from delaying non-urgent JavaScript and adding critical CSS to the HTML, you can also manage how and when scripts run. For example, you can use async or defer to change script behaviour.

Async lets the browser run the script right away when it’s ready. Defer waits until the HTML is done before running. Using these features well helps scripts not slow down the first view of your site.

Speeding up your website’s loading time is key to a great user experience. A content delivery network (CDN) helps a lot with this. It’s a system of servers spread out across different places. These servers efficiently serve up things like images and files to users nearby.

Using a CDN means users don’t have to connect to a far-away server. This makes your site load quicker. It’s especially good for websites with visitors from all over the world. Each visitor gets content from the nearest server, which speeds things up and makes for a better experience.

Picking the right CDN provider is important. You should think about their performance metrics, how reliable they are, how easy they are to grow with, and their cost. Names like Cloudflare, Amazon CloudFront, and Fastly are worth considering. They have strong offerings with smart caching features and wide server coverage.

  • Cloudflare stands out for being easy to use, offering strong security, and being budget-friendly.
  • Amazon CloudFront, part of Amazon Web Services, is known for high scalability and performance.
  • Fastly is often the top pick for busy websites thanks to its excellent cache management and content updating features.

A CDN greatly boosts your website speed optimisation work by sharing the load and serving up content better. Yet, setting it upright and checking its workings often are crucial to getting the best from it.

Optimising server response time is key to a good website experience. A slow server makes your website speed optimisation work hard, leading to long waits and bad performance metrics.

To make your server response time fast, configure your server well. Turn on compression to make files smaller and data move quicker. Also, set up caching to save popular data and ease the server’s work, helping website speed optimisation.

Tuning database queries is essential for server response time to improve. By organising your data better and refining how you ask for it, you lighten the server’s load. This move speeds up finding information, making performance metrics better.

If your website gets a lot of visitors or uses many resources, you might need a better hosting plan. Sites that grow need more resources, sometimes too much for a shared plan. By picking the right hosting plan to match your needs, you can boost server response time and enjoy better website speed optimisation.

Choosing a hosting provider means looking at where their servers are, what tech they use, and if they can grow with you. Going with a trusted provider who’s good at performance metrics keeps your site quick and available, no matter how busy it gets.

  • Optimise server configuration through compression and caching mechanisms.
  • Streamline database queries for efficient data retrieval.
  • Upgrade hosting plans to meet your website’s growing resource demands.
  • Choose a reliable hosting provider with robust performance metrics.

Lazy loading is a great method to speed up your website. It delays loading non-critical items like images or videos. They’re loaded only when someone needs to see them. This makes your site load faster at first, giving your users a better time browsing.

Lots of websites have a lot of images, which can slow things down. With lazy loading, only the images you can see straight away are loaded. Others appear as you scroll. This helps speed up your site and boost its performance.

There are many ways to do lazy loading for images. Some use the latest browser tech; others use special JavaScript tools. Libraries such as Lazy Load XT, lazySizes, and Lozad makes it easy to set up. You can tweak how it works to suit your site.

Videos are another part of a site that can slow it down. They’re big and can come from other websites. With lazy loading for videos, they’re only loaded when you play them. This keeps your site fast.

When it comes to videos, you should also think about how it impacts your site’s use. A small preview can be shown first. Then, the full video loads when you press play.

Tools like Lazy Load XT and lazySizes help with lazy loading videos. Some video platforms have special settings, too. For instance, YouTube and Vimeo allow you to adjust how videos load.

Getting videos ready for the web is also key. This means picking the right video settings and using methods that adapt to how strong someone’s internet connection is. Doing this makes sure videos play smoothly for everyone.

  1. Use lazy loading for images to speed up your site and boost performance.
  2. Also, think about lazy loading videos for better site loads.
  3. Prepare your videos for the web to ensure they play well and are optimised.
auditing and monitoring website performance

It’s vital to regularly check and watch over your website’s performance metrics. This keeps your website speed optimisation at its best and finds any possible issues. To ensure visitors have a smooth experience, use web performance testing tools, and keep an eye on your site’s performance metrics all the time.

Regular checks with tools like WebPageTest, Lighthouse, and GTmetrix help a lot. They look at how fast your pages load, what’s slowing them down, and where you can make things better. By acting on what these tools say, you can make your website faster and improve the overall website speed optimisation.

While checking your site now and then is good, keeping an eye on it all the time is even better. This way, your website stays fast and performs well consistently. Tools like New Relic, Pingdom, and Uptime Robot help by watching in real-time. They let you know if there are any sudden problems or if your site’s performance metrics drop. This allows you to fix any issues before they affect your visitors.

  • New Relic offers detailed insights that help in monitoring application performance better, like server response times and common issues.
  • Pingdom checks your site from many places and warns you about downtime or slow speeds.
  • Uptime Robot is easy to use and doesn’t cost much. It’s great for keeping an eye on your site’s availability and performance.

Websites can gather many unused items like plugins and scripts over time. These can make your website speed optimisation slow and pose security risks. Regular checks are needed to delete unused plugins and unused scripts. This ensures your performance metrics are the best they can be.

Plugins and scripts can be useful, but too many can make your site slow. Check your website to find any plugins or scripts you don’t use. Removing them can speed up your site and make it safer.

For websites with databases, making the database work better is key. This helps your site respond fast and stay quick. Here’s how:

  • By putting indexes on your database tables, you can make finding data quicker.
  • Look at your database queries to make sure they run well and don’t slow things down.
  • Use caching to keep often-used data ready, without needing to constantly ask the database for it.

Doing these things will make your server run smoother and your website faster. This means a better experience for visitors.

When improving website speed optimisation, it’s key to deliver essential content quickly. This means looking into the critical rendering path. It shows how a browser starts to show a web page’s first visible part.

The critical rendering path includes parsing HTML and CSS, running JavaScript, and building the DOM and render trees. Knowing this path helps find and fix any issues that slow down showing your site.

To see the critical rendering path, use tools like WebPageTest or Lighthouse. They give in-depth checks and visuals on the rendering process. This data can point out render-blocking resources like big JS files or stylesheets that hinder the initial show.

After finding the key critical resources needed for the initial page view, the aim is to make them work better. One great trick is inlining. This puts crucial CSS straight into the HTML, avoiding extra requests and cutting render-blocking issues.

Another good method is code splitting for JavaScript. It breaks down your code into smaller parts. You load only the essential code first, delaying less important stuff. Tree shaking helps cut out unused parts, making your JS files smaller.

By giving attention to strategies that put critical content first, you make a quicker and more user-friendly site. This can boost user interaction, SEO ranks, and conversions.

How can I test my website’s speed?

There are various online tools available, such as Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom. These tools provide detailed reports and suggestions for improvement.

Is it worth investing in a specialist hosting provider?

Absolutely, especially if website speed is a priority for you. Specialist providers offer optimised servers, caching, and dedicated support to ensure your site performs at its best.

What’s the easiest way to optimise images?

If you’re not familiar with manual optimisation, using a plugin like Smush or EWWW Image Optimizer is a simple and effective way to compress and optimise images.

Will optimising my website improve my search engine rankings?

Yes, website speed is a ranking factor for Google and other search engines. Faster websites tend to rank higher, leading to increased visibility and organic traffic.

How often should I optimise my website?

It’s a good practice to monitor your website’s speed regularly and make adjustments as needed. New content, plugins, or updates can impact performance, so ongoing optimisation is crucial.

Why should I use external video hosting?

External video hosting saves bandwidth and improves load times by preventing large files from being loaded unless requested by the user.

We’ve looked at how important it is to make your website fast. People expect quick, smooth experiences online. So, every site must be as fast as possible to keep users happy.

Follow the steps mentioned here like making images smaller and using CDNs. These will make your site faster and better for visitors. Plus, it helps with how well your site shows up in searches and gets people to do what you want.

Keeping your site quick is not a one-time job. As you add stuff over time, your site might slow down. You always need to check how fast your site is and make it better. Use tools like WebPageTest to find issues and fix them, so your site stays great for users.

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