People can become very impatient while browsing the web. Pages are expected to load in a couple seconds; if they don’t it is highly likely that the user will leave without ever viewing the page. You may be able to produce content that caters for the short attention span that current users have online, but this content will mean nothing if the user leaves your page before it loads. On top of this, slow loading times can affect your ranking on search results, which is yet another reason that this topic is important. This list will show you a few tips to increase loading speed. Optimizing performance is very important because, as they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Follow these tips to optimize page load times!
Mobile First Development
The best time to start thinking about performance and optimization is before you start development. Having a mobile-first methodology and frame of mind will allow your site to be optimized to the devices it is being viewed on. The main thing here for performance is that people on smaller devices won’t have to load all the desktop version’s resources. A great place to start is with a mobile-first front-end framework such as Foundation or Bootstrap. Having responsive images is also important if you want great performance for small devices; this will allow smaller image resolutions to be loaded for smaller devices. If you are using Grunt, an interesting tool is Grunt Responsive Images.
Don’t overload your page with plug-ins
Distribute your resources
Generally, modern browsers will load a maximum of around six external resources at a time from a given hostname. This means that if you are loading more than six external resources, you can distribute your resources by allocating them to a sub-domain or other domain in order to increase the number of resources that are being loaded in parallel. This is a tip that is probably never at the top of your list but can help considerably.
Test a page’s performance and set goals to improve
Test your site by visiting your page through Chrome’s Incognito Mode (alternate browsers have similar variants). However, this will only be a vague indicator of the page’s performance. To look into it in more detail, you can visit PageSpeed Insights. This tool from Google will give you a more objective measure, as well as give you a score that you can set specific goals to improve. Their tips are very useful and consider different screen sizes and devices, which is very important for modern web development.
Protect the internet
In the near future, your efforts to promote a fast page load time may be in vain. You may have noticed some of the bigger sites on the web recently installed a plugin that simulates what the internet could become if U.S. legislators passed a law that would allow ISPs to vary the bandwidth they use to deliver pages based on how much they pay, hurting all websites that can’t afford to pay up. Visit battleforthenet.com if you would like to join the campaign for net neutrality.
Following these tips will help your site load faster and keep your users happy. This will allow other efforts, such as producing great content for your users, to have the full effect it should have. We will be applying several techniques to our own homepage which will go live very soon and will showcase the tips mentioned here. Finally, always stay up to date on the best techniques to improve performance as new methods and ideas are constantly appearing.