How to improve website speed

Focusing on your website speed and size will improve your business

Richard Kacerek
Richard Kacerek

Why we care about website speed?

One of the top performance improvements is undoubtedly the website speed. For the past couple of years, website speed has become one of the most critical factors. So much so that even Google uses that as one of the ranking factors. There is a definite correlation between website speed and business profits.

Fast user experience is merely good practice. We should make all efforts to make the website load faster and offer a better overall experience to the users.

Websites are getting fat, really fat! Averaging 3MB in size is massive compared to just 1MB just six years ago.

Performance impacts conversion and user engagement. Obama’s fundraising campaign during the 2011 Presidential Elections raised an additional $34 million when the Obama for America website shrunk page load time from 5 seconds to 2 seconds – that’s 14 per cent increase in donation conversion with mere 3 seconds of website performance improvement!

As internet connections have gotten faster, publishers and developers worry less about efficiency.

Optimise Assets

(images, video, CSS and JavaScript)

Reduce the size of images, use external hosting for videos and prioritise JS loads and measure CPU for those asynchronous loads. More than half of a web page size are images, so it pays off to focus on those first. Optimise your images, use SVG where possible and distribute them globally via Content Delivery Network CDN. You can save 60-70% on average on image sizes if your site is imagery heavy that’s a lot. Use of the correct format also matters.

Cache, Compression, Minification

Utilise browser cache and gzip compression of CSS and JS files. Minify all your web assets.

Content Delivery Network

Beyond the server that hosts your site, you can also use other networks of servers to decrease load times for your visitors — designed to distribute static assets globally, closest to your users. We love AWS CloudFront as it has 123 Points of Presence (112 Edge Locations and 11 Regional Edge Caches) in 59 cities across 26 countries.

Build For Mobiles

Strangely, the mobile web page size has overtaken desktop size in the past year. Building for mobiles should be your new priority. As of December 2017, Google took the initiative to the index for mobile users first! It means that it’s in your best interest to focus on mobile users.

Slow speed kills your business. 47% of visitors expect your website to load under 2 seconds

Devastating 40% of visitors will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. These are serious implications if you are looking for a genuinely global reach either with your web application or mobile app.

Amazon discovered this a few years ago. For that mega-site, every extra second it takes a page to load costs the company an estimated $1.6 billion in sales each year.

The average webpage size is now the size of the original Doom game.


2019 update

Website speed is becoming a more prominent factor now. Slow website speed hurt sales, impact user experience and can negatively affect your Google ranking. As the world gets faster, people have less time and even less patience to wait for a site to load. 79% of customers who report dissatisfaction with website performance are less likely to buy from that same site again and every second delay equals to 7% reduction in conversions.

Mobile has already overtaken desktop platforms, and 47% of consumers expect to wait no longer than two seconds for a web page to load. You should take the website speed seriously. It has a profound impact on your business and if done correctly, can make a big difference and propel you above the competition.

CDN networks

Probably the most effective way to speed up your website around the globe to accelerate asset delivery to the user. No matter which kind of website you have, a CDN will make noticeable improvements. Use of content delivery networks has now become a standard.

AWS CloudFront now uses a global network of 187 Points of Presence (176 Edge Locations and 11 Regional Edge Caches) in 69 cities across 30 countries.

Cloudflare CDN network is powered by data centres in over 180 cities around the world.

Cloud hosting platform

Your hosting platform is going to affect your website. You should architect your cloud hosting platform for speed and use serverless and global content delivery networks everywhere possible. Our cloud DevOps architects can help you design platform that is secure, reliable, but also fast!