3 Tips To Optimize Your Website For Speed

You have the need for speed, and Inno Garage has three ways to decrease page load time and help your website run faster.

When it comes to websites, we know that faster is better. In case you need more convincing, there is a great story about Google and a user survey they performed. In this survey, Google asked people whether they would prefer 30 search results or 10. The majority of people said they thought 30 sounded better. However, when Google tested pages with 30 results, they found that they were getting 20% less traffic, and less traffic equals less money. Further investigation revealed that the pages with 30 results were loading slower. No shock there really; speed matters to people online, whether they say it does or not.

When it comes to your own website, it can be difficult to know where to start optimizing for speed. Ultimately, website speed is about two things: reducing the number of requests—every image and asset is a request—and reducing the size of those requests. To help optimize for speed, I'm going to suggest three relatively easy things you can do right away to make sure you're not sending too much over the wire:

1. Optimize Images: Much, if not most, of the weight of your site is probably images. You can of course optimize them manually in Photoshop by reducing the quality in a way that isn't noticeable. Reduce the file size without reducing the visual quality. Beyond that, you should absolutely be using a program called ImageOptim. In the website's own words, it optimizes images “by finding best compression parameters and by removing unnecessary comments and color profiles.”

2. Enable Gzip Compression: Gzip compression makes requests smaller by (you guessed it) compressing them. This feature should be available on most hosts and is really easy to turn on. HTML5 Boilerplate can help there with configuration files for the most popular servers, and gzip set in those configurations.

3. Caching: There is probably no better way to reduce the number of requests than ensuring that once a browser requests an asset or an image they don't request it again. This is what caching accomplishes. There is client-side caching (in the browser) and there is server-side caching as well, but I'm just talking about client-side caching. HTML5 Boilerplate can help again with this; it has many settings for caching.

Beyond these three easy items, there is a nearly endless world of optimization and many tools that can help. Google Page Speed Insights is a great tool for analyzing your website's performance. There is also an extension for Google Chrome, and both that and the online tool are great because they not only tell you how well you're already doing, but also offer recommendations on what you should do to further improve your website's speed.