Website Speed Optimization Strategies
When analyzing competitors' successes, product owners often notice that their website runs slower than those of newer players in the market. It's even possible that not just newly created but also long-existing, substantial websites load faster, respond more swiftly to user search queries, and direct them to the next internal web page more promptly.
What does it mean? Should you give up and surrender to more speedy peers in the trade? - Absolutely not. As a developer, I can assure you there are many ways to speed up your website, and I will tell you about them right now.
To start with, it is necessary to mention that every website is essentially composed of two parts. The external part is the frontend - everything that users see in their browsers. And there's also the internal part - the backend - which is invisible to all but developers and digital world demons. Both parts can experience slow performance, but for different reasons.
Website Frontend: Let's Battle Slow Loading Time
Poor frontend performance causes web pages to load slowly. And this is something search engines are averse to. You cannot expect to reach the first page of Google search results with a slow-loading website. Users are also demanding now; they will likely navigate away from a resource if it doesn't load in over a second.
What exactly influences the website load time? Let's take a closer look.
Load From External Sources: It Has to Be Minimized
The most important part of a web page is the very top - the content visible on the initial screen, which users see first. This data must be transmitted as soon as possible.
In this part of the page, do we have any animations, weighty pictures, or visual effects? - It's important to verify if they're being loaded from an external site. If that's the case, the milliseconds lost in these loads become huge shackles on our website's performance.
We need to move all these elements to the same place where all the other project files are stored.
Are All the Uploads on the Page Actually Needed? We Have to Strip Away Extras
Everything viewed on our device screens has a certain weight. A page could be 20 kilobytes heavy, while another could reach 200 or even 2000. Thus, it is crucial to clearly realize the weight of all that we load from our backend and not to pull along any unnecessary information.
Might we be inadvertently bringing green elements onto the page that we changed to red in the last redesign? Is there an animation that's not showing but still exists in the code? - Every tiny bit of such unnecessary info slows down the load of our resource from the backend. A user, meanwhile, waits and taps on a Back button with impatience.
Our task is to review all content uploaded thoroughly and clear out anything extraneous.
Calculations, Images and Fonts: Let's Check These Frequent Causes of Delays
- Does frontend perform calculations? - They make the resource load from the backend slower, just like mistakenly loaded heavy styles or animations. Often, these calculations shouldn't be in the frontend. It's both feasible and required to relocate all calculations to the backend. This is unachievable only in a few rare cases.
- Have our images been tailored for IMAX screens? Are they displayed with appropriate tools? Have we set the right loading priority for them? - Every one of these small details may not consume a lot of time individually, but drop by drop, you can drink an ocean.
- Are a variety of different fonts being used on the page? - Each of them also consumes loading speed since they all load from an external storage. This might be just milliseconds, but it's like the saying, "drop by drop."
Our job is to examine all these little technical aspects that could be slowing down the page load and to optimize as much as we can.
Thus, if you look closely at what happens from the moment we navigate to a webpage until it's fully displayed, you can learn a lot. Sometimes you're happy because it's fast and good, but more often, it's a bit sad. The main thing is that now we understand how to make sure that in the future, we'll only be happy with the page's loading speed!
Website Backend: Let's Speed Up Response to User Actions
The backend of a website can essentially be split into two main parts. The first is a place for storing all our information, called the database. The second is the code responsible for various operations involving the database's content.
- Database: The likelihood that it hides the cause of a website's slowness is almost zero. Web developers don't create databases from scratch but use pre-built ones as an external service. Databases are used by millions of websites and are constantly improved by a multitude of individuals.
- Code interacting with a database: Problems should be looked for right here. This code is often to blame for users experiencing delays while the site is loading its next page, conducting a search, or forwarding their messages. And it is our duty to fine-tune its database interaction for our specific needs.
To make it easier to understand what this code might be doing wrong, let's imagine the code as a store clerk who needs to find the right data in the archive to serve a customer.
Let's say our store sells cars. And this customer is very demanding - they've been here hundreds of times for test drives. But now they're saying they want to buy every car they've test-driven. Isn't that incredible? A customer like this needs the best service we can offer! Clerk, start your task and do it quickly!
Multiple Database Queries That Can Be Efficiently Condensed into One
We must put together a list of all required vehicles. Swiftly, the clerk goes to the archive, accesses the cabinet with current month's test drive data, fetches the buyer's folder, and races back to place it before the buyer.
He then rushes back to the archive for the cabinet with data on the previous month's test drives, repeating the process. Our store has had this customer for years. Is it likely they'll wait for our clerk to complete the race? Doubtful.
Most common mistake in interacting with a database is sending multiple requests when just one would suffice. Correcting this can greatly accelerate the processing of user requests.
Database Missing Pointers for the Most Demanded Data
Now, let's suppose the folders in our archive don't have any labels. The clerk would need to open each one to see if it's the buyer's folder. After that, every folder must be put back neatly in its place in the cabinet; the archivist insists on not leaving folders open.
Even if the clerk reviews all the folders in the archive at once this way, it's a lot of time. And if he also carries each found folder to the buyer separately? It could take forever! Naturally, a software code searches for data in a database much faster than a clerk in an archive. But why wait five seconds for an answer when a quarter of a second would suffice?
The most demanded data in the database should be marked with special pointers. Doing this will make searches much faster.
Poor Data Allocation in Database Cells
The clerk finally stopped running back and forth to the archive, which is nearly miraculous. There's a mountain of folders on the table in front of the buyer. Each folder is filled with details about how a car was given for a test drive.
It covers everything from the car's color and price to the amount of time the customer spent behind the wheel and their review, along with much more. The clerk now has to sift through all this to record the vehicle's model in our list. Is the buyer still waiting?
Storing a variety of different data in one place in a database significantly slows down information retrieval. We need to fix this by distributing the data across cells more efficiently.
Finally, our list is ready - it contains all the cars the customer wants to buy. But wait, how do we sell them? The prices aren't listed - the clerk forgot to write them down from the folders. They will have to go through all the folders again.
Why was our clerk unable to note down both the car's model and its price right away? Just the model and the price together, that’s it. This would have cut the time in half. In actual databases, such inefficient computations can cause slowdowns not just by double, but by hundreds of times, and each extra operation means several milliseconds of additional waiting for the user.
To speed up calculations, we must remove all unnecessary processes.
So, if you carefully and thoughtfully unravel each twist of how the backend code interacts with the database, you can find many issues. These don't affect loading speed, but can greatly worsen user experience with this website - no one likes waiting for minutes after every action.
Website Tech Should Be Up-to-Date
This is yet another important aspect to keep in mind. During the website development process, we certainly utilized the most recent technology version and optimized the system's performance to it. However, a lot of time has passed, a newer tech version is now available, and our website isn't performing as well.
Should our website always have the latest technology versions? - No, it's simply impossible. However, our current versions should not differ significantly from the modern ones. We need to monitor this because each new version brings additional capabilities and potential speed enhancements for our website.
It's important to regularly check if the technologies used to create our website are outdated.
When it becomes apparent that your website is functioning slower than desirable, an audit should be initiated.
For this purpose, it's best to contact unbiased experts who have a lot of experience in understanding code written by other developers, and here's why:
- Fresh eyes from independent experts on your resource's code simplify problem detection.
- Independent experts don't know why the code was written so inefficiently, and they don't care - they're impartial and don't make excuses for mistakes.
- Independent consultants are not mentally tired of this code.
- Their sole mission is to eliminate the app's sluggishness, and they're committed to achieving this in the most efficient way possible.
Have you got any more questions? I would gladly respond or provide consultation regarding a certain website's performance. Don't hesitate to reach out!