3 Best Practices to Improve Web Page Performance

Performance is a feature that your website cannot miss delivering on. A slow website results in poor user experience, lower page rank, leading to lower conversions and lost revenue.

According to Google, 50% of users expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds and 53% abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Google TalkWalmart’s data shows that conversion rates dropped significantly as load time increased from 1 to 4 seconds.

Walmart Study

Is my Website Fast Enough?

Determining whether your web page is fast needs to be an objective assessment. The good news is that there are a few free online tools that can do this for you: GTMetrixPingdom Tools, and our own SynTraffic Tool. All of these tools provide a comprehensive and detailed analysis of your web page performance.

TIP: When you input your webpage URL, it is important that you choose a location that is a close proxy for where your users are. That way the results will reflect how your real users are seeing it.

As part of the results the tools provide page load time as one of the metrics and this number determines how fast your web page is. The lower the number the better and anything under 3 seconds is ideal.

How do I make my Web Page Fast?

Now that you have assessed how fast or slow is your website, how do you go about making it faster? The factors affecting your web page load time are numerous – hosting provider, servers, client browser/device/connection speed, page layout, page content (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Images, Video).

The best part of the tools above is that they also provide a comprehensive set of suggestions to help improve your web page speed. Some of those suggestions can be trivial while others can require significant changes to your page.

Here are the 3 best practices that you can apply quickly as they are mostly configuration and do not require changes to page layout and/or content.

  1. Deliver faster: eCommerce websites like Amazon that are content heavy can load as fast they can because they deliver the page faster to you. Here is how you can do it too:
    1. Fast Hosting Provider: Choose a hosting provider that is known for its network speed. Also choose servers that are performant for your website needs.

      Read recent reviews of hosting providers from HostingFacts to make an informed decision.

    2. Cache: Cache static assets by setting expiry period on them. On repeat visit you don’t have to deliver them. Better yet, host your static assets on a CDN

      If you are just getting started, leverage free CDN offered by Cloudflare before getting a professional/business plan.

  1. Decrease size: We don’t necessarily mean that you should cut down on content, but there are clever ways to decrease your page size while keeping the content intact.
    1. Compress: Compression can reduce your web page size by 90% and can improve response time significantly. 

      Check here to know if your website has GZip enabled. Use this guide to enable compression for various web servers.

    2. Minify: Minification removes characters from your CSS, JS and HTML files that are important for human readability but doesn’t change how your page is rendered. This is a low hanging fruit and it never makes sense not to do this. 

      If you are hosting your website on WordPress, use Better WordPress Minify to perform minification right.

  1. Minimize Requests: A web page is made up of a lot of resources (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Images, Video) and your client’s browser is pulling them down by making a request for each of that resource. The fewer the requests that the client browser makes the faster the web page will render.
    1. Inline Images: Small images and icons can be delivered as part of the web page by specifying them as a data URI. This technique of inlining renders images without fetching them separately and hence improves the page load time.
    2. Concatenate Resources: Combine and concatenate multiple CSS and JavaScript files on your page. This will allow you to reduce the number of requests to the server which should lead to faster page load time.

A fast loading web page is important for user experience and the results will show in user engagement, conversion rates and your bottom line.

Start with measuring your site speed, apply the practices we have discussed and share how they have helped improve your web page speed.

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