In this blog we’ve already discussed the importance of response time. And I hardly need to tell you that when a website loads slowly… um, well, you’d rather take your business, reservation, purchase or pleasure somewhere else. So, now that you have your website up and running, you definitely don’t want it to be an underachiever and drive those potential clients away simply because it fails to load properly. So here are 5 simple ways to improve the performance of your site without too much effort.
1. Minimize the HTTP Requests
Why is it important? The answer: the greater part (and I mean like 80%) of the response time is spent downloading the front-end components of the page – images, scripts, CSS and so on. Therefore, fewer components to download mean fewer HTTP requests and this, on the other hand, means faster response time of your page.
How to do this? Use combined files, CSS sprites and Image Maps. You may find them a little challenging in the beginning, but if you really want your site to perform well, this is the first starting point.
2. Compress to Impress
Why is it important? To put it simply, compression helps decrease the response time of a site by reducing the size of the HTTP response.
How to do this? The most popular method is Gzip. It helps you reduce the response size by almost 70%. Generally, servers choose what file types to Gzip. And while most sites Gzip their HTML content, you can take it one step further and compress even your scripts and stylesheets. This will reduce the weight of your site and significantly improve user experience.
How to do this? Well, you can always do it manually… But why bother, when now you have such good tools like JSMin, Packer and YUICompressor, which can even compress your CSS files.
4. Stay Away from Redirects
Why is it important? Unless absolutely necessary, avoid redirects as they notably slow the response time. This happens because during the redirection nothing in the page can be loaded until the HTML from the new location arrives.
How to do this? Very simple – just don’t insert any redirects unless you have to.
5. Monitor Your Server Performance
Why is it important? Even if you have the best performing and most beautifully and efficiently designed site ever, if your server is not working… well, you can do the math.
How to do this? The answer: here.