10 Ways to Improve Your Site Speed

Site speed has been associated with every business metric you care about: page views, bounce rate, conversions, customer satisfaction, return visits and revenue. These effects are felt at companies of all sizes, from online giants like Amazon.com to small e-commerce shops.

A full 85 percent of performance happens at the front end — i.e., the browser level — yet despite browser vendors’ focus on performance, browser innovation can’t keep up with the increasing demands of today’s large, complex web pages.

In this post, I share 10 tactics you can adopt to take back control over the performance of your web pages. Most of these tips can either be implemented manually by your developers or be performed using an automated front-end optimization solution.

Pages Are Huge
According to the HTTP Archive, the average web page is now well over 1 MB in size. That’s a massive payload, and images alone account for a full 60 percent of it. In my travels, I regularly see sites that use unoptimized, unnecessarily bulky images. Combatting this bulk is a huge step toward making pages faster.

What you can do about it:

1. Ensure your images are in the correct format. Typically, use JPEGs for photos, SVG for line art, and GIFs or PNG-8s for low-complexity images with few colors.

2. Compress images. Search online for “image compression tools” and you’ll find a selection to choose from.

3. Compress text-based content. Make sure your pages follow Google’s best practices for compressing HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Latency
Latency is the amount of time it takes for the host server to receive and process a request for a page resource. The amount of latency depends largely on how far away the user is from the server, but it’s typically 75-140 milliseconds per resource for desktop users. When you consider that a typical web page contains around 100 resources, you can see how these milliseconds can pile up.

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Comments
  • Stephen Evermore

    Nice to see point #10 there. You’d think that SLAs for pixel vendors would be an industry standard, but in my experience you have to pull teeth, jaws, and skulls to get any response commitments from even the larger players in the market.