<h2>Don’t overlook site speed</h2>
Ever since April 2010 when Google stated that <strong>site speed</strong> has a direct influence on ranking on search engines, people have become more aware of its importance. The speed is essential from various point of views: it grants a better user experience, so fast and optimized pages lead to higher visitor engagement. Also, if your visitors have to wait less for a page to load, they’ll feel secure and comfortable, so the rate of leaving your page will decrease.
<span style=”font-size: 13px;”>The site speed also has a huge impact on the quantity of pages that search engines are indexing. The faster your site is, the more pages the user navigates through, so financially, it’s also a plus, because you can gain higher advertisement revenue.</span>
<span style=”font-size: 13px;”>The fact is conversion rates are far higher for websites that load faster than their slower competitors.</span>
<h2>The benefits of optimizing the site speed</h2>
Aside from the benefits already mentioned above, improving the speed of your website will help the entire Internet community. Google shows that it will increase the number of internet users globally, so information will be more accessible. Also, the web apps will become more responsive, performing more like the desktop apps. Last but not least, it will help new apps and markets emerge.
Google also shows that this will lead to faster crawling the information available, which could save costs, because less time will be spent on downloading pages. Also, there will be less aborted page downloads, the Web as a platform will be more available, becoming the platform for all apps.
<h2>How to optimize site speed</h2>
<strong>First things first</strong>: You can check your page speed with <a href=”https://www.pingdom.com/” target=”_blank”>pingdom.com</a>. Then, you need to focus on a number of tasks:
<li>Optimizing web graphics</li>
<li>PHP performance tips</li>
I will try to lead you through optimizing some of these parts, so that you can improve the speed of your site. Let’s get started:
When it comes to the graphics of your site, images usually make up the biggest part of what a user has to download for a website. You need to make a balance between size and quality of your image vs. the time of loading.
What to do? Let’s take a look at this great advice from <a href=”http://royal.pingdom.com/2008/11/20/speed-up-your-website-by-optimizing-files-and-images/” target=”_blank”>Royal Pingdom</a>.
1. You should use high-quality software like Photoshop or ImageReady.
2. Preview the images before putting them on the web. You might want to compress them to fit in the online format.
3. Use as few images as possible, because every image adds to the overall load time. You can use CSS Sprites.( <a href=”http://alistapart.com/article/sprites” target=”_blank”>Read more about CSS Sprites</a>)
4. Select the image format depending on the image contents. You can choose between GIF, PNG and JPEG.
<li>The GIF format shouldn’t be used for photos. It’s limited to 256 colors. If you want the image to look good, try and reduce colors as much as possible. Use it if you want animation, but you don’t use Flash.</li>
<li>The PNG format is a better alternative to GIF. It was actually created as its replacement. It can support 8 and 24 bit images. 8-bit images can have 256 colors, so they can replace GIF. 24-bit images can have millions of colors. PNG is a non-destructive format, which won’t reduce the quality of the original image.</li>
<li>The JPEG format is good when you want to compress photos, but it destroys their quality if you compress too much. Don’t use it for texts or illustrations. Make sure you keep the original image.</li>
<h2>Avoid using CSS inside your HTML as much as possible</h2>
You can also use CSS more efficiently, by using shorthand code and inheritance. The aim of this is to reduce the amount of code needed to design your pages and results in smaller file sizes. (<a href=”http://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200503/css_tips_and_tricks_part_1/” target=”_blank”>Tips on optimizing CSS…</a>)
You could also try to put your CSS in one separate file, instead of several ones, so as to reduce the number of files that need to be downloaded.
Also, try to minimize the size of your CSS with a script that removes unnecessary characters, like <a id=”link_541bcc50e975a” href=”http://code.google.com/p/minify/”>Minify</a>.
Instead of putting Java in your HTML document, try to have all code in one external file. This way it will be cached in your browser and downloaded only when it’s needed instead of every single time. Also, you can try to minimize its size, by using the same script for CSS.
<h2>Keep your HTML short</h2>
HTML is usually compact, so you won’t have to bother much with it. Try to avoid complex coding and try to keep it short. You can also use a HTML compressor to reduce its size and make it smaller.
<h2>Configure your web server to compress files</h2>
<h2>Additional help needed?</h2>
If you’re having problems with your site speed, Contentlook from Squirrly will give you a signal. You can install <a href=”https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/” target=”_blank”>PageSpeed Insights</a> for Google Chrome, and <a href=”https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/module” target=”_blank”>Page Speed Module</a>.
Here are a few tips you can put to good use, but if you still find it difficult, the team from Squirrly can help you fix it, by installing site speed plugins.
You can also use the <a id=”link_541bcc50e9954″ href=”http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/”>free Pingdom Full Page Test tool</a>.