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Boost Website Performance with Google PageSpeed Insights

3 Tips To Boost Website Performance

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It’s no secret–people don’t like to wait. So websites with longer/slower load times are more likely to lose impatient visitors; they’ll move on to your faster-loading competitor’s site in a heartbeat. And believe it or not, your website’s response time may also affect your search engine rankings, with slower sites sinking below faster ones. Both of those scenarios can cost you customers.

Fortunately, there are three relatively simple things you can do to make a big impact on your website’s page speed–and there’s a simple way to measure their impact. Before making any changes, visit Google’s PageSpeed Insights, and run a test on your own site. This will show you just how much work there is to do, and it will give you a good performance baseline, moving forward.

ONE: Minify Your Files

Good website developers organize their code with spacing and indentation, and with comments to help other developers find their way around. Problem is, all those extra spaces and characters add unnecessary bloat to your files. It’s a relatively small amount of bloat, but the bigger your site, and the more pages you serve, the more that bloat multiplies. So best practice is to minify your files before moving them to the web server. It keeps the organization and comments intact in the original development files, but strips out what’s unnecessary before going into production. There are minification apps that can be incorporated right into a developer’s workflow, and there are free stand-alone tools online that can also get the job done. The task is quick & easy, either way.

TWO: Use GZIP File Compression

If you have ever zipped a file or folder before sending it to a colleague, then you already understand the concept of file compression. Compression tools like GZIP use an algorithm to reduce file size on one end, and then re-expand the file on the other end, so the file can be read and used. Think of it like dehydrating food for transport, and then rehydrating it before consumption–same concept. GZIP can reduce your site’s overall data transfer by 70% or more, so it’s definitely worth your while. And the best part is that GZIP can usually be enabled with a simple settings change on your server–and modern browsers already have the “unzip” capabilities built in, on the users’ side.

THREE: Implement File Caching

When pages are initially requested from your server, they are usually compiled from a number of different files and data sources. Even if the page hasn’t changed in any way since the last request, the server still has to “do the math” all over again, every time a page request comes in. File caching allows you to store a “finished” version of the page, and make it readily available, either on your server or (better yet) on a network of servers set up specifically for delivery of cached content. Taking all of that “thinking” out of the equation is probably the biggest performance boost of all these methods, and you don’t have to be Amazon or Google to use caching; there are inexpensive (even free) caching solutions like CloudFlare available to websites of any size, and they provide excellent results.

Before launching our own website, PixelPeople implemented these three methods and watched our Google PageSpeed score increase by more than 30%. That’s a huge return on a small amount of work, with little to no cost. And remember that those efficiencies multiply, as your site grows in size, complexity and popularity. Few tasks that simple will provide such a big advantage–why not get started today?

If you have questions about this topic, or any other questions/suggestions about website development, brand development, or digital marketing, please send an email to [email protected]. We appreciate your suggestions, and enjoy helping you make the most of your brand and your online presence.

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