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  • Sep 1 2011

    Site’s Speed Optimization for Better User Experience

    A website is weighed against various parameters in order to ensure that it enables a friendly user experience. One of these factors, which is of immense importance is the speed of the site or in other words, the time taken by the site to load itself. If a site loads fast, it allows users to quickly get the information they wish to know. This is an important consideration as users usually don’t prefer to wait for long. Also, having a fast site can create a competitive advantage for webmasters as site’s speed has made it to list of Google ranking factors. Therefore, efforts must be made to improve the speed of the site. We are going to highlight some of the effective ways of optimizing the site’s speed to enable a pleasant user experience.

    Code –Optimize It First

    It must be ensured that the source code is not bulky. The HTML and CSS documents must not contain unnecessary characters that may increase the file size and affect load speed. Optimizing the code is the basic thing to do.

    Minimizing HTTP Requests

    It is important to minimize the HTTP requests made to the server as they increase the downloading time, thereby decreasing the speed.  Two effective ways to reduce the number of such requests include:

    Using CSS Sprites

    This is a useful way to lessen the number of image requests and it does so by combining all background images into a single image.

    Combining Files into Libraries

    Combining various files, say scripts and stylesheets, and creating their libraries is another way to reduce the number of HTTP requests.

    External CSS and JS Files

    It is a good practice to keep the CSS and JavaScript files as external components as this reduces the number of HTTP requests and thus leads to fast loading pages. As these files are cached, keeping them inline delays the rendering of the web page.

    Make Use of Caching Systems

    Caching systems are the best option as the files don’t need to be downloaded several times if these are used. They help load the site faster by caching all files. You can enable the Browser Cache, Page Cache and Disk Cache for your Website.

    Optimize the Images

    Images are known to increase the loading time, thus it makes sense to optimize them so that they don’t affect the speed negatively. There are several image editing software that can be utilized for this purpose. They allow saving images in different suitable formats such as PNG & JPEG while reducing the file size which ultimately results in fast loading site.

    Usage of Content Delivery Network (CDN)

    It is a great thing to make available the content across multiple locations across the globe so that users see it. In this regard, using a CDN can come handy and will allow the users to access the site easily; no matter how far they are located. A CDN does so by caching the content and making it available across distant servers so that the site downloads fast and users face no problems in seeing it.

    Go for Gzip

    Gzip Compression is an efficient means used by sites to reduce the size of various files whether HTML, CSS or JS, etc. Using Gzip reduces the response time and makes a site faster.

    Keeping CSS at Top and JS at Bottom

    To enable progressive rendering and make pages load faster, it is a good practice to keep CSS at the top of the page. On the other hand, having JS files at the end of the page helps as it then doesn’t prevent the browser from downloading other components.

    Redirects Should be Avoided

    For the simple reason that they cause delay and hamper user experience by taking more time, Redirects must be avoided to maintain a good speed for the site.

    Site’s speed is important as it directly affects the users’ experience and is one of the ranking factors, therefore it must be dealt with serious attention.  A site needs to load fast and allow users to quickly view the content.

    We hope that the above mention practices provide some insights to our readers. We would be delighted to get suggestions and opinions from our readers.

    Posted by Charu Garg Posted in: web design, web standards Comments: 6