TECHNICAL TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE PERFORMANCE

In today's world we hear so much about the importance of your website's UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience), but what do we need to consider regarding the technical factors required for optimal website performance?

SEO, mobile optimisation, site speed and security are just a couple of the technical items you need to consider. So we asked our technical lead to provide a few pro-tips that will help you achieve better performance out of your website.

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Technical tips to improve your website performance

1. Managing your Web Server CPU Load

Did you know that shared hosting providers are running thousands of websites on single Apache servers? And this situation can fail to deliver a high performance even when the website is well designed with a clean and speed optimised code. Performance issues will intensify during peak load times when there is insufficient server computing processing power because of the demands of the many website sharing computing resources. This can result in failure to process website download requests efficiently and will cause your site to have SEO issues as Google rates poorly multiple http requests.

Pro Tip: 
We recommend monitoring server CPU loads to enables hosting companies and IT staff running locally hosted websites to keep a check on back-end hardware capabilities in handling unpredictable Web traffic deluge.

You can also employ website caching - a mechanism for the temporary storage of content that reduces bandwidth and improve performance. When a user arrives at your site it is the cached version that's served up (unless of course it has changed since the last cache was implemented). This reduces server time and drives loading speed.

2. Website Database Performance

Database performance is critical for websites maintaining dynamic content pulled from back-end databases. A mechanism should be in place to detect and alert for inaccuracies in data transmission.

Pro Tip: Keeping an eye on free disk space on servers hosting websites locally helps avoid errors and data losses that lead to broken links and eventually degrade website performance. two recommendations from Google:

  • Use a HTTP redirect to send users with mobile user agents directly to the mobile equivalent URL without any intermediate redirects, and include the <link rel=”alternate”> markup in your desktop pages to identify the mobile equivalent URL so Googlebot can discover your mobile pages.
  • Deactivate and delete any unnecessary plugins. Then weed out any plugins that slow your site speed. Try selectively disabling plugins, then measuring server performance. This way you can identify any plugins that harm your site speed.

3. Load tolerance

Website performance varies with fluctuations in Web traffic. Hosting servers handling normal load at peak performance may lose page speed under excessive loads.

Pro Tip: Conducting Stress Tests, Ramp Tests, Load Tests and other Performance. Tests on websites creates an accurate picture of how much Web traffic the website can handle before losing performance or going down altogether. Compare the results with the website’s actual usage patterns to determine whether the website needs hardware upgrades to handle peak load as efficiently as possible. 

4. Ensure you program your site for mobile first

Mobile dominates most categories when it comes to how people access websites and as such Google prioritises mobile over the desktop. So it makes sense to ensure your website is designed and coded for a mobile experience first and foremost.

Pro Tip: Think about your buyer persona and the likely experience they will expect on a mobile device. Does the information flow logically? Are you avoiding long scrolls and pop ups? Is the navigation intuitive? Then check with Google's auditing tool for optimising mobile experiences. This audit will score your site across a selection of usability criteria, such as viewpoint configuration, plugins, proximity of clickable elements and text readability.

5. Minify your resources

Minification is the process of minimising HTML code, Javascript and CSS on your website pages and script files. Minification is one of the best ways to reduce load times and bandwidth usage on websites. It will markedly improve site speed and accessibility, and this directly delivers a superior user experience. The minified file version will deliver the same functionality with improved bandwidth performance of network requests.

Pro Tip: To minify your resources any files, comments and extra spaces should be removed, as well as the compression of variable names in order to minimise code and reduce file size.

6. Employ a CDN

A content delivery network (CDN) is system that relies on distributed servers that allow for a quick transfer of your website's static HTML files, like CSS, images, videos and JavaScript due to the proximity with the user’s physical location. In essence,  the shorter the location proximity results in a faster load time. Cloudflare and Amazon provide these services.

Pro Tip: A CDN may provide an additional layer of website security with improvements to security certificates and other optimisations that can deliver a higher standard of authentication, encryption, and integrity.

For even more practical suggestions to optimise your site and check your website performance, download our free e-book “Improving Your Website Performance”.

Website Performance Guide