Improving Mobile Website Performance

One of the most common questions we get at section.io is “How will your solution help my mobile site or application performance?” With more people visiting websites, downloading apps, and making purchases through their mobile phones than ever before, it is crucial for mobile websites and mobile applications to be fast, reliable, and secure. Around 50% of ecommerce transactions are already made on mobile, and mobile applications are predicted to be a $77 billion industry in 2017. In addition, mobile visitors are even more impatient than their desktop counterparts, with over 50% of mobile users saying they will leave a site that takes over 3 seconds to load.

Types of Mobile Optimized Content

Before we get into how section.io can improve website performance for mobile, there are some important distinctions that need to be made around the various ways mobile content can be presented.

mobile website

  • Mobile Website: A mobile website is built specifically for the mobile phone, and will have a different URL from the main desktop site, such as m.yoursite.com. To get users to this version of the site, the website will determine what type of browser they are using and direct them to the mobile site URL. Mobile sites could have completely different content or (more likely) similar content with less images and less functionality than the full website.

  • Responsive Website: A more popular option recently due to the proliferation of large mobile phones and tablets, a responsive website is one that adjusts its contents to fit the screen size. While the URL will be the same across all browsers, the content will adjust - boxes may stack on top of each other on mobile sites, menus can collapse, and websites can even include different image sizes to be served depending on the screen size. Responsive sites involve more development work to create, but are usually easier to manage on an ongoing basis as changes don’t need to be made on two separate sites. While they may be slower to load (especially if you aren’t using a tool like section.io), responsive sites provide good user experience across phones, “phablets” (phones with screens over 5.5 inches), tablets, and desktop.

  • Mobile Application: Mobile applications are software applications that can be downloaded from an app store and live on the homescreen of your mobile device, so users can access content separately from the mobile browser. They usually are designed for a specific purpose, such as to play a game or browse an ecommerce store, however as application development has gotten more advanced their functionality has increased. Mobile apps are unique from mobile or responsive websites in that their look and feel can be fully controlled, and many take advantage of phone features, such as the phone’s touchscreen or accelerometer.

Improving Mobile Performance

While these three types of mobile content delivery are unique, they all share one important commonality in that they serve traffic over HyperText Transfer Protocol or HTTP. This means that no matter what type of content you are looking to speed up, a solution like section.io will work across all of your applications and websites.

section.io improves the speed of both mobile and desktop sites by bringing the content closer to your end-user through use of a global Content Delivery Network, and by increasing the cachability of your content using Varnish Cache, an HTTP accelerator. The more content that is cached through section.io, the faster it will be served to users regardless of how they are accessing that content. Because poor network connections can slow down mobile browsers, websites should ensure that they are serving content at lightning speed back to the mobile browser to reduce any additional wait time. This can be achieved through a smart caching strategy such as the one section.io provides.

section.io delivers all of the required performance optimizations for website and mobile websites out-of-the-box, so you will see improvements in page speed and load time immediately after turning on section.io. To try it for yourself, start a free 14-day trial today or contact us with any questions.

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