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Speed is Everything: 11 Ways to Improve Your Site’s Performance

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Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.

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When it comes to website performance, slow and steady never wins the race. In fact, at the rate human attention spans keep dropping, you better hope your website loads like it’s fast and furious, or you’re literally going to get left in the cyber dust, choking on your competitor’s digital fumes. If you’re okay with that, this blog is not for you—stop reading and move on to something…more your pace.

But, if you want to give your site a competitive edge, rev that brilliant mental engine of yours and get ready for the green light in three, two, one... 

Try and keep up, this page moves fast.

Top 11 Ways to Improve Website Performance

  1. Use a fast and reliable DNS provider
    Don’t underestimate the importance of DNS. “Well, of course, you’d say that.” Admit it, that’s what you’re thinking, right? After all, this is a DNS company. But it’s true. If your queries aren’t being resolved as quickly as possible, you’re losing precious time—and you only have a couple seconds

DNS Points of Presence map

Tip: When looking for a DNS provider, pay attention to the number of their points of presence (PoPs), where they’re located, and how much data can be handled per PoP. This can greatly help with speed and uptime.

  1. Take a test
    Relax, no studying needed. And it’s your website that’s actually taking the test anyway, not you. One easy way to improve the performance of your website is to find out why it may be lagging in the first place. With there being so many variables that can contribute to performance issues, knowing where to start or what to look for is half the battle. And even if your site is loading quickly enough, it never hurts to test it out from time to time to see what can be improved. There are many sites that can put your performance to the test, such as Pingdom and or Google’s own PageSpeed Insight page. In fact, analyzing your site’s performance through multiple services like this is an ideal way to get the best overall picture of your site’s strengths and weaknesses. So test away!

  2. Make the Most of Your Time to Live
    It’s actually good practice to live by this tip in general, wouldn’t you say? But this blog is about website performance, not philosophy. I’m talking about TTL. In a nutshell, TTL is just the amount of time a web page is stored in a caching system. Many domain hosts have a default TTL (which varies from host to host), but these values can (and often should) be changed depending on your specific domain needs as it directly impacts your page load times. The higher the TTL value, the less a DNS look-up is needed. 

Before you go crazy with TTL values, make sure you know how it will affect your domain(s) and any future plans that may be in the works—setting values too high and at the wrong times can work against you. For instance, if there are specific rules applied to your domain, such as Failover or Load Balancing, a TTL of 5 to 30 minutes is better.

  1. Image is Everything
    It may not be fair, but companies are judged by the appearance of their website and the time it takes to load. Before you upload any image to your site, make sure it’s optimized for web first. There are plenty of ways to do this without sacrificing the quality of the image. An aesthetically pleasing site is crucial, but even more so, is a fast loading site. The slower your web pages load, the higher the bounce rate.

  2. Use a CDN
    Notice a trend here? Images and graphic-intensive content like videos play a major role in your website’s performance. A good way to speed up a website with lots of images and video is by using multiple content delivery networks (CDNs). We even offer an intelligent solution that can manage all your CDNs in one place so that your site is running at full speed and doesn’t “run out of gas” in an outage.

  3. Console Your Site
    Websites need love too. And you can show them love and support by using Google Search Console. This nifty little tool essentially gives your site a performance review and helps you pinpoint areas that need improvement. If your site is down in the dumps, do something nice for it, like giving it a spiffy new look using sharp, optimized images or faster DNS. Aside from being “hit on a lot,” nothing gets a website more excited.

  4. Keep it Clean
    Over time, your website can get pretty messy under the hood, even if it still looks nice on the outside. And while “image is everything,” if your site has an abundance of redirects and broken links, this can cause slower load times and even error codes. So clean up your rooms, kids.

  5. Give Your Site Some Cache
    Another way you can improve website performance is by instructing browsers to cache any elements of web pages that seldom change. Simple, but effective, this method can cut down on page load time significantly depending on how graphic-heavy your site is.

  6. Know How to Host a Party
    When you’re looking for venues to host a party, you make sure the place has the capacity to handle all your guests, right? Well, the same should go for your web host. Some key points to consider when deciding on a web host is its amount of server locations, allotted bandwidth, and whether your plan will be on a dedicated or shared hosting plan.

  7. Be Lazy
    Well, more accurately, do some lazy loading. Similar to the idea of having browsers cache elements of your webpage, lazy loading can shorten the critical rendering path for webpage resources. This method can, for instance, ensure resources such as images, fonts, or code are only downloaded when someone navigates to a specific page.

  8. Be a Minimalist
    If possible, keep widgets, scripts, and plugins to a minimum on your site. Having too many third-party scripts or plugins such as social media and chatbots, for instance, can hurt your site performance. Aim to strategically place these resources only on pages that really need them. It’s also best to avoid render-blocking JavaScript when possible.

As you can see, there are numerous factors that affect the performance of your website. If you want to avoid high bounce rates and loss of customers due to slow web page speeds, these 11 tips can help get you across the finish line—and stay ahead in the never-ending internet race.

“It don't matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning's winning.” - Dominic Toretto, The Fast and The Furious, 2001.

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