The Common Developmental Mistakes That Lead to Slow Websites
With search engines and end-users constantly demanding faster speeds from websites, site speed has never been nearly as important to consider for developers as it is right now.
Gone are the days of sluggish dial-up internet connections and large white boxes for computers with the processing power of a calculator.
There’s not much holding people back from loading websites up in an instant anymore. Due to this, these days it typically comes down to the speed of the website itself, as opposed to the hardware and/or connection of the user.
With the advancements that have been made, it’s easy to see why webmasters are now much more aware of website speed than ever. And this awareness and wanting for faster site speeds is something that every developer should consider and adapt for.
Let’s discuss the most common development mistakes that can lead to slower website function.
Why is Site Speed So Important?
One of the most prominent factors that search engines look for when ranking websites is site speed.
End-users aren’t happy to settle for slow load times anymore. In fact, a recent survey found that if a site didn’t load within 3 seconds, 40% of people abandoned it.
40% is a very large amount of traffic to lose out on, and search engines like Google and Bing know this. Search engines want to provide their users with the best and most relevant web results. They don’t want users to feel that their time has been wasted. For this reason, they don’t want to serve their users with slow loading websites that they’ll end up abandoning.
In conclusion, the reason we grant so much importance to site speed is that it’s necessary to keep everyone happy on the modern-day web. Whether it be the end-user or the search engines, speed is always going to be of great importance in the fast-paced online world.
What Are the Easiest Ways to Improve Site Speed?
There are endless ways in which you can have an impact on the speed of your website. Many a time, work must be done on the back-end before the front-end can even come into play.
Firstly, let’s explore a few of the ways you can optimise speed within the back-end of your website:
- Caching – Setting up caching is important for both client-side and server side, better yet, it’s very easy to implement.
- VPS / Cloud Hosting – You can read about VPS and Cloud hosting in another of our recent articles. This form of hosting offers the benefits of dedicated hosting, such as fast speeds, without the cost.
- Content Delivery Networks – CDNs have been becoming very popular in recent times. CDNs work by caching your website content in servers across the world. When a user requests a page, the content is delivered from the nearest available server. This makes for quicker load times.
Once you have your websites back-end optimised for speed, you can then focus on front-end techniques.
Let’s look at some of the elements of front-end development that need to be considered for site speed optimisation:
- Image Sizing & Compression – A major downfall for many websites when it comes to site speed is the sizing and compression of on-page images. A good way of ensuring your website’s images are speed-friendly is to crop them to the minimum required size and compress them to the minimum required quality. Subsequently, this will allow browsers to load your images up much faster. Another good recommendation is to use next gen file types, such as jpeg 2000 or webp file types, which can be compressed better than standard extensions.
- Adaptive Images – Adaptive images, or fluid images is a term used to describe HTML embedded images that change in dimension to reflect the size of a user’s display. There are tools available to achieve this, and subsequently it saves bandwidth, allowing for users to load pages faster.
- Keep HTML Code Tidy – This tip is closely related to the previous bullet. Removing any unnecessary spaces or characters in your HTML code is also very important when it comes to maintaining site-speed.
- Regularly Maintain Plugins – Plugins can add great amounts of extra functionality to your website, however, the more you use, the slower your website will load. Therefore, it is best practice to regularly check for plugin updates and remove any unnecessary plugins to maintain the best speeds.
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