Reports by Google, Amazon, and others have consistently shown that fast page load time is one of the most important elements of website success: one study by the Aberdeen Group showed every 1-second delay in page load time led to a 11% decrease in page views and 7% loss in conversions. There are many ways you can optimize your website for better performance, but here are some quick tips you can do now to improve your web performance and page load time:
1. Do a quick, free analysis of your web page speed
Tools such as WebPageTest will show you exactly what is taking the longest time to load on your webpage. Simply enter the URL of the page you’re looking to evaluate and wait for the results to come in. The below test is for the homepage of beauty store Sephora: there are over 200 elements that make up this page, and by looking at the left column you can see what is taking the longest time to load. For example, while the images are typically taking under 50 milliseconds to load, a Facebook plugin takes 182 ms. Learning how to read a web page test is extremely valuable: find out more in our study of the speed of 300+ Magento websites.
2. Ensure your images are optimized for web
Use an image editing tool such as Photoshop or a free image re-sizer to size your images appropriately so you aren’t making users download large files. To do this, first find out what the maximum allowed image size is for your webpage or blog layout - it usually won’t be more than 800px width, and even if you upload larger images they will be sized down.
If you use html tages such as and a width or height specification, you aren’t reducing the image size on your server, only how it appears on the page. Once you determine your ideal image size, save as that size. If you’re using an image editor, you can also save at 80% quality which further reduces the file size, or using an online resizer you can select options which reduce the file size by your desired percentage (we don’t recommend saving at more than 50% smaller). JPG and PNG are the best file types for web.
3. Reduce the number of plugins on your site
If you have several of these snippits, say one for Google Analytics, one for sharing on Facebook, and one for sharing on Twitter, your page will take longer to finish loading. Check your HTML code regularly to make sure you still need all the plugins that are installed on your page.
4. Remove unnecessary code in your CSS files
Your CSS file needs to load before your page becomes viewable, but if you (and others) have been building upon the same file for some time, it likely has a lot of superfluous code - every extra space or line will add up to a slower page!
5. Cache your pages
By caching your pages you reduce the number of requests to your server, speeding up page load time dramatically. Caching also helps with scalability of your website during peak traffic times, such as when you are running an email marketing campaign or ecommerce sale.