speed optimization

How to Enable Speed Optimization for a Website

Have you ever been to a movie out for a weekend? Well, my answer is as right as yours. But then, when whatever is aired in the first 15 or so minutes does not catch your attention, you will get bored and leave. It does not matter whether the rest of the movie is catchy; you will simply leave. The same applies to the world of business, especially online websites.

Nothing beats the feeling of having a website that loads faster. It does not matter how much the website is valued or how eye-catching it is. The rate of uploading and loading is the crucial element that decides if the user chooses to keep surfing or to leave the website. Unfortunately, most users value their time more, and they won’t stay on the same website waiting for a page that takes forever to load. As a website owner, it is upon you to ensure you stay ahead of the competition, and this can only be achieved through optimizing speed for your website. It is the speed that will keep a customer glued to your website and get all the necessary information from the site.

Note: The more a web page takes to load, the faster the customers get bored and leave the site.

Google has a feature known as page speed insights, which enables you as the website owner to view the speed of the page on both mobile and desktop devices. The reports provided by the page speed insight are simple issues that can be handled by an expert in web development. So, how do you achieve the speed optimization of your website? Let us discuss this below.

Approved Strategies for achieving Website Speed Optimization:

The main issue lies in maintaining a good user experience design and, at the same time, managing restrictions of the website in terms of size. But then, there are approved ways in which you can manage your website and keep your users glued to your site at the same time offer excellent user experience design. Below are some of the hacks to achieve speed optimization for your website.

  • Put Browser Caching into Action

Ideally, the moment page loading takes place; the activities happen on both the server and the client’s side. In the end, the speed optimization of the web page experiences poor performance. But then, to control this, browser caching needs to be put into action. In simple terms, browser caching means putting the previously loaded page into action, meaning you can load one page and use it severally. However, to achieve browser caching, the following should be added to the server response:

browser Cache

Cache-Control: It estimates how long an individual response can be cached by other corresponding caches or even the browser. It also defines how the entire process happens.

ETag: With Etag, a revalidation token produced is automatically directed by the browser to check whether the resource has been transformed from the time it was checked on. However, in case the webserver lacks cache-control and Etag features, a leverage browser caching warning appears. And to fix the errors, you need to:

Change the Request Headers

If you have a static HTML WordPress website, you can achieve speed optimization of the website by adding some code lines to the control room of the website.

But then, you first of all have to get the main directory of the WordPress installation and locate the file. From there, you can then change expires headers in the code editor. The purpose of expires headers is to get information from the browser if the resource which needs to be downloaded is from the cache memory or if it is requested from its source.

N.B: The expiry period relies on the amount of time you choose to keep static content on the cache of the browser. You can choose either months or years.

Another option is adding the WPRocket plugin onto your WordPress website. It is advantageous this way because the browser caching becomes activated automatically when the plugin is installed. This makes the process of achieving speed optimization for the website to be simple and fast.

  • The Lazy Load Technique

The lazy load technique is among the popular plugins being used often and the result of achieving speed optimization is overwhelming. This technique involves loading the images only the time when the page is visible to the user, meaning the page won’t load all at the same time.

Note: Google chrome is one big brand that supports the lazy load plugin technique. This can only show how the technique is useful, and no doubt, it is gaining popularity, and it is set to grow bigger and better.

lazy-loading-technique

However, as much as the technique is meant to improve speed optimization, do not forget the essential hacks like using specific formats and compressing the images for a high-speed optimized website.

Another important fact is that you can use a WordPress plugin known as BJ lazy load. It is a personalized plugin which gives you the options to select the type of content to be loaded whenever a user scrolls down your website. The content might be set in videos, images, iframes, and thumbnails.

  • Minimize HTTP Requests

In most cases, components for download like a flash, style sheets, scripts, and images are the ones that take more time when loading a page.  What happens is that a different HTTP request is sent to analyze every page the moment a user browse a given URL on the search bar. But then, is it possible to reduce the time taken to send and get feedback from such a request? The answer is yes, but through speed optimization. You only need to minimize the number of requests a page sends to load successfully. The entire process is done through the following strategies:

1. WP Rocket

WP Rocket is simply a plugin in a WordPress that makes the process of combining files easy. You just install the WP Rocket then navigate to static files tab, from there, select the files you want to combine then save.

2. CSS Sprites

CSS Sprites helps in reducing the requests relating to images. What you do is merge all the images in the background into one image. After that, you then use the CSS to identify the images.

  • Activate Compression

As much as the images require compressions, the remaining content as well requires compression to occupy less space. The same way you can zip the images is the same way you can zip the website. In the end, you will improve the loading time as well as save you bandwidth.

Depending on an index.html file alone implies that the web page will only take longer to load the content since the content is raw. However, when you replace the index.html with index.html.zip, you will make the work more manageable because the file zipped will be directed to the server. And the moment the file is requested by the browser, the server approves the request right away. Once approved, the browser then downloads the file, extracts the file and make it available on the user’s page.

On the other hand, when the user requests the web page, the browser sends a request to the server, which gives the zipped page that is unzipped by the browser before appearing on the screen. Gzip is the best format as it supports HTML and CSS. Below are ways in which compression helps to improve website speed optimization:

W3 Total Cache

With W3 total cache, all you do is to check the “Enable HTTP gzip Compression” button

WordPress Website

A WordPress webpage is compatible with both W3 total cache and WP Rocket, which means that everything is already simplified.

HTML Static Website

An HTML static website requires extra efforts whereby the source code has to be changed to .htaccess file, although the code varies according to the type of server supported by your site. If you can’t handle the task effectively, you can always hire a professional web developer to do the job for you.

  • Select Image Optimization

On a website, images occupy a lot of space. This means that to achieve speed optimization, it is essential to minimize the size of the images for a website to be easy to navigate through. Most people will go for the obvious option of deleting some images to create space for some more content. However, this is not the right move at all.

The importance of images is that they convey information in a prompt manner as compared to information. There are two methods involved in optimizing your website when converting the images. There is lossy whose primary purpose is to reduce the quality of the image and lossless, whose main task is to reduce the size of the image yet maintain the quality. Make sure as you try to achieve speed optimization, take precautions to maintain a good user experience. This only implies that you should go for lossless to ensure users are satisfied rather than going for lossy, which will only provide poor quality images; thus, poor user experience.

Conclusion

Owning a website, especially for your business, isn’t all you wish for. The main idea is, how do you ensure your website is of great value to the users? Well, speed optimization is one major hack to raise your business to extreme heights. Analyze your website and identify the areas you can change. Understand the speed rate of the website and make the necessary changes following the tips above for speed optimization.

Stuti Dhruv

About The Author

My name is Stuti Dhruv & I am senior consultant at Aalpha, primarily working on pre sales, consulting with clients on latest technology trends.