Designing Your New Website? Improve Your Page Speed With These Techniques

Singapore website owners should work to improve the speed of their site.

While it’s great to have patience, not many of your customers will agree when it comes to how quickly your website loads. When it comes to loading a website, even a one-second delay can result in a serious reduction of pageview, a decrease in customer satisfaction, and a drop in your conversion rates. In fact, the speed of your website can even affect your organic rankings in the search engines.

Back in 2010, Google started accounting for the site speed in its algorithm.  And how fast your website is, often comes down to size. If you have a custom web design, then you probably already know that it can take browsers a considerable amount of time to download the code that happens to make up your page. It needs to download your HTML, scripts, stylesheets, and your images. As users start to expect sites to feature designs that are more engaging, the size of these files continues to grow. And each new feature will require a new script or stylesheet that will inevitably weigh down your website a little more. Entrusting an expert to design your website ensures that your site speed will be fast, since they already have the know-hows of the best practices of web design.

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Analysing Your Site Speed

If you are interested in analysing the speed of your website, then you will find that there are a lot of tools that can help you. GTMetrix, Google’s PageSpeed Insights, and Website Grader are just a few of the most popular. Each of these tools can analyse your site and let you know exactly where you happen to be falling behind.

 

Just keep in mind that the results you are shown can be a little discouraging, however, they are often simple fixes. You may not be able to fix everything the tools recommends, but you should try to fix enough to improve the user experience for your visitors.


Speeding Up Your Website

There are several content management systems to choose from. A system like HubSpot can help you to implement speed-enhancing options from the very beginning. However, the most common systems that require manual labour to speed up your site are sites like WordPress and Joomla. Let’ take a quick look at a few changes that you can make.  

 

1. Optimise Your Images

If you have ever wondered what was taking up the most bandwidth on your website, it’s your images. And it’s important that you take the time to optimise them. First, you need to make sure that they are properly scaled.  A lot of Singapore website owners use huge images and then they will use CSS to scale them down. What they aren’t realising is that their browsers are still loading them at full image size.

 

So it’s a good idea to scale all of your images before you actually load them on to your website. You should also make sure to compress your images. There are a lot of free tools that you can use for compression such as tinypng.com. This way you can reduce the size without dramatically reducing the quality. Size reductions rank anywhere from 25 to 80 percent.

2. Browser Caching

You should never make your visitor download the same them more than once. This tends to happen when they load the same page again. By enabling browser caching you will be able to temporarily store data on the visitors’ computer so that they will not have to wait for it to load each time they visit the page. How long you choose to store the data will depend on their specific browser configuration as well as the settings of your server-side cache.

3. Compression

Enabling compression is similar to placing our site into a zip file. Compression dramatically reduces the size of your page and results in a speed increase. In fact, compression can take off around 50 – 70 percent from your CSS and HTML files. That’s a lot of data your visitor will not have to download. Compression happens to be a server setting, so how you choose to implement it will largely depend on your specific  web server and settings.

4. Optimise Your CSS

Before someone ever sees your website, your CSS loads. The longer that it takes for them to download it, the longer they will be forced to wait. Optimised CSS means that all of your files will download much faster, which will give your visitors better access to your web pages. So ask yourself if you need all of your CSS. If you don’t then you need to get rid of all of your superfluous code within your files. Every piece of wasted data can add up until the site’s speed slows down to a snail’s pace speed.

Next, you should work to minimise your CSS files. Keep in mind that any extra spaces in your stylesheets will increase the size of the file. CSS minimisation helps to remove the extra spaces from the code and ensures that your file is as small as possible.

 

The best way to minimise your CSS file is to first find out if your CMS already minimises the CSS or if they offer an option for this. If your CMS doesn’t minimise the CSS, then you can always use a free online service such as CSS Minifier.

5. Keep Scripts Below the Page Fold

Javascript files can be loaded after the rest of the page. However, if you put all of them before your content then they will load before the content.  This means that visitors will have to wait until the Javascript files load before they can see the page. One of the best and easiest ways to place your external Javascript files is at the bottom of the page, just before the end of the body tag.

You may also use the async or defer attributes when you place external .js files on to the site. These will give you more control. Async tags will work to load the scripts while the rest of your page loads which means that the scripts can be loaded completely out of order. So put the lighter files first.The defer attribute will work to load your scripts after the content has loaded. Just make sure that you test each script so that you can make sure the attribute does not break your website. Conclusion

As technology continues to evolve, the online users are starting to demand richer online experiences. This often requires flashier Javascript, more tricks with your CSS and many more third-party analytics that will work to weigh down your website. If you plan to make your own website, then you can not let these elements ruin the user experience. Luckily, there are a few changes that you can make, as well as a few preventative measures you can take in order to ensure that your bounce rate remains as low as possible. In this case, a little attention to detail will go a long way.

 

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.
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