The internet has completely transformed the way we interact with friends, family, entertainment, and business. Gone are the days when you would have to go from house to house telling people about the new company you’ve just started – now you need to make sure that your social media presence is up to par, and that you’re running a modern website.
Having a website isn’t enough, however; it needs to be a site that offers solid navigation, is visually appealing, and can offer visitors a quick and streamlined loading experience. This latter point is especially important. Almost 50% of site visitors expect that a website needs to load within two seconds or faster, and almost as many will abandon that site if it takes too long to load. This means that if your site isn’t loading within this period of time, you’re potentially losing almost half of your visitors. Here we will look at the easiest ways of speeding up the load times of your site.
Most of what consists of a page load time includes downloading the various elements found within page, such as scripts, images, videos, and stylesheets. For every one of these elements, an HTTP request is sent out, meaning that the more that’s on the page, the more requests are issued, and the slower the site becomes. It’s important to take the time to learn how many requests your site makes by using a benchmark, where Browsers like Chrome’s Developer Tools can give you an idea. Once you know how many there are, you can begin minimizing the files that need to be loaded when the page is started up.
Taking away formatting and whitespace that isn’t necessary as well as improving the code of the site are the best ways of improving the overall speeds. Along with minifying files, you can also combine them, taking more than one file and turning them all into one, reducing HTTP requests for the users when they wish to visit website.
The First Byte
Another aspect to consider is the time that it takes for the start to start the loading process, which is known as Time To First Byte. This is the period of time required for the initial request to be sent and for the necessary data to begin the process. This is a factor that’s directly associated with the server, and using the Developer Tools available, you can see the length of the TTFB. If it’s under 200ms in total, then the load time is in good order. If it’s higher than this, then you will need to try and cut down on that time wherever possible.