Page load time is the first impression a user gets when visiting your website. The longer a web page takes to display, the more likely users are to abandon it in favour of other sites. Fast response times have been shown to foster higher engagement, higher conversion rates, higher perceived trustworthiness, and lower user frustration. Users are not the only things influenced by speed — it is widely believed that from 2010, page load speed will become one of the factors that effects a web page's search engine rank.
The page load speed of a web page is primarily determined by its size. In the five years from 2003 to 2008, the size of the average web page has more than tripled which has led to inevitable slowdowns in load speeds. Much of this extra data is unnecessary and can be avoided with good programming practices. Website performance optimisation is the art of tuning your server and transforming your content into a smaller, more streamlined form for faster delivery, cutting your content and bandwidth usage while maintaining your websites appearance and functionality.
Factors Affecting Response Time
There are many factors that we look at when auditing a website's performance. The biggest factors affecting web page response time relate to the page's content and markup (the code used to write the webpage). Some of the things we look for include:
- use of non-semantic markup or HTML tables for layout
- inline and unoptimised Cascading Style Sheets
- unnecessary HTTP requests and importing of objects
- unoptimised graphics and other multimedia
In addition to looking for ways to optimise your content so that it is as small as possible and loads efficiently, we look at ways of improving your server based settings. These include:
- using additional domains to allow for parallel downloading
- using HTTP compression where appropriate
- caching frequently used objects and page fragments
After performing a full performance audit of your website, we produce a detailed report identifying the areas that need to be targeted to increase the efficiency of your website. You can then choose to have some or all of these changes implemented. We use a number of benchmarking tools that detail your sites performance before and after we optimise it so you'll know exactly what speed increases result from the optimisation.
Faster Sites, More Conversions
Even small changes in response times can have significant effects. When the home page of Google maps was decreased in size by 20%, traffic went up by 10% in the first week and an additional 25% in the following three weeks. Amazon.com test results show that every 100ms (0.1 second) increase in load time decreases sales by 1%. Website performance optimisation is not necessary for all websites, but can greatly improve the response time of sites that are adversely affected by slow speeds. Contact us for more information and advice on whether you should consider optimisation for your website.