If you’re reading this, you probably already know that a fast website is more than just a good idea. In today’s world of lightening-fast internet speeds and website optimization – performance is a necessity.

It’s hard to argue with the facts:

People tend to lose their patience when they are made to wait longer than expected – whether it be at a restaurant or online. A slow website means a poor user experience, which more often than not translates into losing customers and damaging the reputation of your business.

And that affects every metric that matters – page views, conversion, bounce rate, and revenue.

So, what can you do to avoid this problem?

Let’s take a look at what you can do to optimize your website performance.

6 quick ways to increase site speed

These simple tips should help you cut down your page load time and increase overall performance and user satisfaction.

1) Create a browser cache for static files.

When a browser renders your website, it has to load a lot of different things. Your logo, your CSS files, and any other resources that might be needed.

Browser caching allows a visitor’s browser to store copies of resources that have already loaded. This means that when a user visits another page of your website or visits again, the browser will “remember” certain content and your pages will load faster.

2) Minify your JavaScript, CSS, and HTML code.

Slim down your code to remove any unnecessary characters. Minification removes extra white space, comments, new line characters, and block delimiters. These characters, while helpful for making code easier to read, are not required for it to execute properly. The more you decrease the size of your code, the faster your load time will be.

3) Eliminate unnecessary widgets/plugins.

Sometimes, there’s a temptation to go overboard with widgets and plugins. Technology has made it easy to share and embed, but that doesn’t always mean you have to use it. Widgets and plugins can cause serious drag on your load time, and this is great place to start if you find your website is slow.

Go through your website and assess whether the functionality you gain outweighs the burden a widget or plugin puts on your site. And ditch anything you don’t need! Tools like YUI Compressor and UglifyJS can help you optimize and compress your code.

4) Create image sprites.

An image sprite is when several images are combined into one image, allowing your browser to make a single request in order to display a page from your website.

A browser has to ask your server for each image on a web page, wait for it to be sent, and then display it. When a page contains several images in its design (e.g. background images, icons, menu items, etc.), the time it takes to load everything can really start to add up. Image sprites combine all these images into one resource, helping to dramatically reduce page speed.

5) Optimize your images.

Get rid of extraneous comments or colors. In Photoshop or Fireworks, use the “Save for Web” option to reduce image size and image quality before you add them to your website. Although images can be adjusted in the backend of your site, this often means your browser will have to execute multiple commands. Try to keep image size to a minimum, since large graphics can mean more added loading time.

6) CSS on top and JavaScript on the bottom. 

Place your stylesheets in the document head and your JavaScript code at the bottom of the page for a cleaner and leaner execution. Placing your CSS files at the top prohibits progressive reading, and keeping your JavaScript away from the top prevents your page from stalling.

We would also suggest running your page through Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Yahoo’s YSlow to learn more about ways to improve your performance based on the best practices for high performance web pages.

Quick Tip: Testomato can help!

In addition to everything mentioned above, you can also use Testomato to monitor your website speed.

Testomato can help do the following:

  • Measure your download speed.
  • Catch when a service provider goes down.
  • Alert you to pages that don’t download fast enough.
  • Alert you to page timeouts on your website.

While load time is only one part of Google’s 200 ranking factors, it has a direct impact on user confidence and satisfaction in your site. Making sure your website is fast plays an important role in helping users accomplish what they want in the shortest amount of time. And in the case of waiting, remember even milliseconds can make a difference!

Have you noticed a big difference from improving your load time?

Please leave us a comment here or tweet us @testomatocom.