Hosting a website, like any line of work, is primarily about keeping your clients happy. The problem though, is that if your site takes more than a couple of seconds to load, people tend to lose interest. Making sure your site loads quickly and properly is key to keeping your users happy. Here are a few ways to make sure loading issues are never on your end.
Simplify Your Page – Minimize HTTP Requests
Yahoo’s performance statistics show that 80% of the average website’s load time is spent downloading the different components. These components could be images, stylesheets, flash or scripts. By simplifying and streamlining your web page, reducing the total number of elements, you reduce the number of HTTP requests – each component requires a separate HTTP request. Combine images into a single CSS where possible, reduce scripts and put them lower down on the page, reduce the total elements.
Content Delivery Networks are host servers distributed globally that load web content based on the user’s location. This drastically reduces the load time of a page, as users don’t have to access a site’s central server, but rather a much closer host server. This also reduces the likelihood of a system overload at the host server – which could result in the server crashing – and minimizes bottlenecking. Looking at CDN pricing, it’s an affordable way to keep load time minimal worldwide.
Size Images Properly
Uploading images at a fixed size and setting width parameters according to the page size, or the size you want the image to appear, adds unnecessary processing time, which will increase your load time. Edit images to the size you want them before adding them to your page, so they can be loaded quickly as they are. Use JPG or PNG format, as they load quickest. BMP and TIFF are best avoided.
Enable Browser Caching
About half of your site’s visitors arrive with an empty cache, so your site needs to load fast for them. But from a second visit on, a cached website will load about 90% faster than an uncached one. Caching essentially means that most of your site is already stored on a user’s hard drive, so far fewer components need to be loaded. You can set a minimum and maximum expiry for cached components of your site.
Tools like GZip can reduce HTTP response time by as much as 70 percent. They do this by compressing images, which reduces the bandwidth requirement of your page, reducing HTTP response time. This is a great solution for anyone creating high-quality pages, which will naturally be larger pages that take longer to load. Zipping them will drastically reduce load time.
There are other ways to reduce load times on your website, like eliminating plugins and speeding up your host server. These are some of the tried and tested methods that definitely work. Implement a few measures and you’ll likely see complaints about load time drop drastically.