Eight Tips to Improve Your Website Load Time and Performance for Better UX
- 1 How to improve load time and performance of your website?
- 2 Things to look out for a while performing website speed & performance test
Many factors contribute to a good user experience (UX), but website load time and performance are crucial among them. A recent study by Google and Deloitte reveals that 0.1s improvement in website load time can increase conversion rates by 8.4% for retail sites and 10.1% for travel sites. However, businesses across all other industries too, have noticed considerable changes in conversion rates by optimizing their website’s load time and performance. So, if you want to provide a better experience to your customers, you must work on your website’s loading speed as well as its performance.
How to improve load time and performance of your website?
While creating a website, developers investigate every parameter which can improve the performance. Irrespective of how big or small your business is, developing a website involves a lot of complex coding. So, if you want to provide a better user experience to online visitors, your website must pass through a rigorous web-app performance testing process.
But do you know what all you need to test in your website for enhancing its performance?
Things to look out for a while performing website speed & performance test
Now that you know why quality assurance testing is the key to improve your website’s loading time and performance, here are a few suggestions to help in this regard.
Using a better hosting service
Your website’s performance largely depends on the kind of hosting service provider you have selected. In general, there are three types of hosting:
Virtual Private Servers (VPS) hosting
The most popular among the three is shared hosting. It is cheaper and provides easy as well as fast migration. However, it can slow down your website’s loading speed because everything, including the CPU, RAM and disk space, is shared with other sites hosted on the same server.
The loading speed on both VPS and dedicated server hosting are comparatively faster. So, it’s advisable to go for VPS only if your website traffic spikes only occasionally. Dedicated server hosting is mostly preferred by websites that receive heavy traffic all year round.
Therefore, while testing, analyze your website traffic and check if you are hosted on the correct server.
Enabling Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A single server hosting your website can reduce its loading time as well as performance. Therefore, most businesses prefer using CDN, which uses a network of servers to distribute the content delivery load. CDN uses a set of geographically distributed web servers to provide website content to users with respect to their location. So, check your website server and enable your CDN if you have not already done so.
Cutting down on unnecessary plugins
Plugins are usually third-party programs that add specific features to your website. However, having too many plugins can reduce your website load time as well as performance. In some cases, plugins become outdated or have overlapping functionalities with other plugins. Additionally, some plugins generate a large number of database queries or need many scripts to load. So, it’s always preferable to do time-to-time checks on all the plugins you have installed in your CMS.
Using compressed images
A picture is worth a thousand words. It is always recommended to use only good quality images to complement your website content. However, you need to exercise caution when choosing your images as large-size images tend to slow down your website’s load time. The only way to come out of this catch is to compress and optimize these images without compromising their quality.
Moreover, it is advisable to use PNG format images as it has fewer than 16 colors and is also considered to be better for graphics when compared to JPEG. There are many free tools available on the web to help you compress as well as convert the images to PNG.
Reducing page redirects
It is a known fact that additional HTTP requests slow down your website, thereby increasing waiting time for visitors. Page redirects are one such culprit that contributes to the widening of this HTTP request-response cycle. There are a few genuine reasons when redirecting a page becomes necessary, such as when moving to a new domain or redirecting backlinks’ traffic from a deleted page to a new page. Nonetheless, you must remember that the fewer the redirects, the better it is for your website.
Utilization of website caching
Caching is an effective method to speed up website loading. It stores your website’s current version and shows it to the visitor until you update the website. Website caching ensures that every time when a visitor lands on your page, it doesn’t need to send the HTTP requests. Whether in WordPress or any VPS or dedicated server, you can easily enable website caching through a plugin or by going to general settings.
Usage of web fonts
Web fonts come in real handy when you want an eye-catching website design. However, web fonts, as opposed to system fonts, send additional HTTP requests, thereby increasing your website loading time. The best practice here is to use only the system fonts because they are already present on most devices.
This list of suggestions is not exhaustive; there are more. However, all these points are crucial and are considered by QA professionals for testing a website’s load time and performance. If needed, even you can do it manually. Nevertheless, it’s always advisable to consult an experienced QA solutions provider who is also an industry expert and has expertise in manual as well as automated software testing.