Four seconds is all that it takes for 25% of people to click away feeling that your site isn’t loading fast enough. That’s market share that you can’t afford to lose. And they don’t grow impatient using just their computers. Remember, they’re accessing the internet using their phones and other devices, too. Today, 60% of users expect pages to load as fast on their cellphones as on their computers.
Open your own website and time how long it takes for it to load. If it takes more than 4 seconds, you need to identify areas of your site that need optimization.
The frontend—the part of your website that visitors see and interact with— is the first part that can be optimized. Start by keeping the content and the structure of the page intuitive and easy to use. Use a simple design that can easily flow from one part of your website to another.
Reduce the number of widgets to a minimum. Be certain that each widget you use is really needed and not there “just in case.” Each extra widget slows your webpage a bit more. And while you’re at it, get rid of all Flash plugins that are not necessary. Better yet, replace them with HTML 5.
Images can be heavy to load, so in addition to reducing the number of images (which will make the images that remain even more powerful), we recommend using appropriate HTML 5 markup and CSS styling for backgrounds and borders to get a bit of extra speed.
Lastly, use social media sharing buttons that require minimal scripting and avoid heavy Java plugins in particular.
The backend—the part of your website that is not seen or interacted with by your visitors—should be optimized as well. Let’s start with content caching. By creating static content, you will improve the processing and delivery of content from the server. If you’re using WordPress, consider W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. Drupal also has modules that include page and block-level caching.
Another thing to consider is Minify, which reduces the size of files by getting rid of unnecessary characters. Both WordPress and Drupal have excellent Minify plugins, such as WP Super Minify and Drupal Minify.
Content Delivery Networks are something else that should also be on the table. They involve storing information on servers close to the visitor’s physical location. Yes, it is not much of a timesaving by itself, but every bit counts.
Remember that all information comes from the server, so you might want to shop around for a supplier that offers you a customized solution and scalability that will help you reduce time. For example, cloud platforms allow you to scale infrastructure depending on your site’s needs.
If you need help with optimizing your website or perhaps you need a new website altogether…The Goodness Company creates websites and web marketing programs that deliver results.