Tips for improving the performance of a website

By | June 27, 2012

This article provides useful tips for improving the performance of a website.

So why would you want to improve the performance of a website? Well there are some obvious benefits such as website visitors not waiting long for pages or blog posts to load. However there are also some less obvious benefits such as improved search engine ranking and hopefully coping better with higher visitor numbers.

Improving the overall speed of a website, shouldn’t just be focusing on one element of a website to improve, but looking at all areas. This means that the changes coupled together should result in a great increase in performance.

Tip 1 – Optimise your design and page images.

People often don’t think about the images that make up a website theme, or that are placed in a page or blog post, yet images can make a dramatic difference to the speed of a web page.

Also the CSS code itself for the website theme, although pretty small in size, can often be optimised to load even faster. Remember many small changes will build up to a larger overall change, so it is worth looking at the CSS code.

So how do you go about making these changes?

For the images you can often change bmp or png images to jpg or gif to make a file smaller, but make sure you don’t visually make the quality of the image appear poor. For images used to accompany the content in pages or blog posts, you should consider resizing the images before uploading to your site. i.e. Resizing to 450-600px width instead of uploading 3024x width images and then resizing onsite.

For the CSS code, you should always make a backup before modifying it. Then you can use a free online CSS optimiser that should be able to merge some data and compress the code, to produce a faster loading CSS code.

Tip 2 – Review the libraries, modules and plugins used.

It is very easy to get carried away and install multiple libraries, modules and plugins on a website. However many plugins will slow down your website and thus impact performance. So it is worth reviewing what you have installed, the impact and whether you truly need the additional feature.

Tip 3 – Setup a cache and use a CDN.

The last tip looks at minimising the demand on your server. You could install a website cache on your site to serve up static versions of your content, reducing the demand on a database server. Then you could use a CDN which will cache static items, such as themes at various locations around the world, and then load a version of the data from a closer cache. Website caches and CDN’s can both be used at the same time.

About the Author: Gary is passionate about websites including UK web designer topics, when not playing pool.