Best Practices to Improve Website Speed

Website speed is one of the mos important factors in search engines page rank. Optimising it requires some effort but it’s not imposible. Below we will provide some tips on how to reduce website page load time.

1. Minimize HTTP Requests

According to Yahoo, 80% of a Web page’s load time is spent downloading the different pieces-parts of the page: images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc. An HTTP request is made for each one of these elements, so the more on-page components, the longer it takes for the page to render.

That being the case, the quickest way to improve site speed is to simplify your design. Streamline the number of elements on your page. Use CSS instead of images whenever possible. Combine multiple style sheets into one. Reduce scripts and put them at the bottom of the page.

2. Reduce server response time

Your target is a server response time of less than 200ms (milliseconds). And if you follow the tips in this article, you’re well on your way to achieving this.
Google recommends using a web application monitoring solution and checking for bottlenecks in performance.

Use this resources to monitor your website:
Yslow – to evaluate your site’s speed and get tips on how to improve performance.
Google’s PageSpeed Tools – to learn more about performance best-practice and automate the process.

3. Leverage browser caching

Expires headers tell the browser whether a resource on a website needs to be requested from the source or if it can be fetched from the browser’s cache. When you set an expires header for a resource, such as all jpeg images, the browser will store those resources in its cache. The next time the visitor comes back to the page it will load faster, as the browser will already have those images available, says CJ Patrick in a nice article about how to use expire headers to set caching: Expires Headers for SEO.

4. Reduce redirects

Redirects create additional HTTP requests and increase load time. So you want to keep them to a minimum.
If you’ve created a responsive website, more than likely, you have redirects in place to take mobile users from your main website to the responsive version.

5. Optimize images

With images, you need to focus on three things: size and format.

Image size
Oversized images take longer to load, so it’s important that you keep your images as small as possible. Use image editing tools to  Crop your images to the correct size. For instance, if your page is 570px wide, resize the image to that width. Don’t just upload a 2000px-wide image and set the width parameter (width=”570”). This slows your page load time and creates a bad user experience. Reduce color depth to the lowest acceptable level. Remove image comments.

Image format
JPEG is your best option.
PNG is also good, though older browsers may not fully support it.
GIFs should only be used for small or simple graphics (less than 10×10 pixels, or a color palette of 3 or fewer colors) and for animated images.
Do not use BMPs or TIFFs.

6. Enable Keep-Alive

“A Keep-Alive signal is often sent at predefined intervals and plays an important role on the Internet. After a signal is sent, if no reply is received, the link is assumed to be down and future data will be routed via another path until the link is up again,” says wikipedia.

In fact, HTTP Keep-Alive allows TCP connections to stay alive and it helps reducing the latency for subsequent requests. So contact your hosting provider and tell them to think twice about this! Most hosting companies disable this feature.

7. Use a CDN

A content delivery network (CDN) is a collection of web servers distributed across multiple locations to deliver content more efficiently to users. The server selected for delivering content to a specific user is typically based on a measure of network proximity. For example, the server with the fewest network hops or the server with the quickest response time is chosen. As you can see in the above image, it loads from different servers, based on
the visitor’s region.

8. Remove query strings from static resources

You can’t cache a link with a “?” in its URL even if a Cache-control: public header is present. The question mark acts the same as Ctrl+F5. Use query strings for dynamic resources only.  2-3 queries are reasonable 🙂

9. Specify a character set

Specify a character set in HTTP headers to speed up browser rendering. This is done by adding a simple piece of code into your header:

Bu using this tips your website speed will increase and eventually your pages will rank higher in search engines. Remember that there are other factors that affects website rank. Here you can take a look at other factors  for ranking your website at the first pages of search engines.

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