Reduce Page Load Time

Reduce Page Load Time

The need to improve the speed of your website cannot be overemphasized. 47% of website visitors expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. 40 percent of consumers will wait no more than three seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site.

Research also shows that when a visitor labels your websites as slow they seldom return. The speed of your website is important not only to users, but to search engine rankings. Google recently announced that website speed is included in their search engine ranking algorithms.

We would look at a few things you can do to increase the speed and reduce the load time of your website. The following are some tips for decreasing your web page loading times.

1. Check the Current Speed of the Website
The first thing you will want to do is to analyze your current page speed. This allows you to track your improvement and ensure that any changes you make positively improves your page load times.

There are many free tools out there for checking how long it takes to load your website. Here are a few of them:

Pingdom offers an easy-to-use site speed test that mimics that way a page is loaded in a web browser.
Page Speed is an open source Firefox add-on that helps you assess the performance of your web pages. It also provides suggestions on how to fix performance issues.
Web Page Test is another great tool that shows you the speed and performance of your website in different browsers.

2. Optimize Your Images
Know when to use the appropriate file format for your images. Changing to a different file format can dramatically decrease the file size of an image.

GIF is ideal for images with few colors like logos.
JPEG is great for images with lots of colors and details like photographs.
PNG is the choice when you need high quality transparent images.

3. Don’t Scale Down Images
Avoid using a larger image than you need just because you can set the width and height attributes of elements in HTML.

If you need a 100x100px image and you have a 700x700px image, use an image editor like Photoshop or one of these web-based image editors to resize the image to the needed dimensions. This lowers the file size of the image, thus helping to decrease page loading times.

4. Compress and Optimize Your Content
The task of compressing your website content can have a huge impact on reducing load times. When using HTTP compression, all of your web page data is sent in a single smaller file instead of a request that is full of many different files. For more information, see this Wikipedia article on HTTP Compression.

5. Cache Your Web Pages
If you use a content management system that dynamically generates your web pages, you should statically cache your web pages and database queries so that you can decrease the strain on your server as well as speed up page rendering times.

When you cache your page, it saves a static version of it to be presented to the user instead of recreating it every time it’s requested.

For WordPress, check out WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache (also read this WordPress codex entry on optimizing/caching WordPress). Drupal core has native caching.

You can also optimize and compress your JavaScript and CSS files by combining them and minifying the source code.

Courtesy: WebFx | Hobo Web

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