Even though there are a lot of factors that affect your website’s functionality, there is one thing that is always considered a deal breaker- the responsiveness. According to an infographic on the Kissmetrics blog, after failing to respond for just 4 seconds, your website is bound to lose one quarter of its audience. In order to prevent this from happening, you must improve the responsiveness and thus boost its overall performance. Here are a few ways to do so.
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1. Lower the number of HTTP requests
In order to give these things a boost, you must first learn how a page loads in the first place. You see, instead of just loading as a whole, a page tends to download different elements individually. In other words, every stylesheet you have, every flash and every image needs an additional HTTP request. In other words, the more elements your website has, the longer it will take to load. So, in order to keep the loading time of your website optimal, you may want to consider taking a minimalistic approach to your website’s design.
2. Find a reliable host
Another thing you can do in order to give your page a functional boost is find a reliable host. Here, you are looking for a host with as much uptime as possible (99.99 percent would be great). Another thing you need is a 24/7 available customer service, since for an online business, a 4 a.m. fluke is as dangerous as a 4 p.m. one. Finally, you may want to consider some other options they are offering such as expedient website migration service or unprecedentedly cheap domain names. When it comes to the choice of a host, you can’t afford to make any compromises.
3. Browser caching
As previously mentioned, HTTP requests can be particularly problematic. Luckily, there is a way to go around them, at least partially. One of the things you can do is enable browser caching on your website. This means that a part of this data will be stored on a HDD and therefore load instantly instead of being downloaded over and over again. Still, this can consume quite a bit of space, so make sure to reserve it only for those most demanding elements.
4. Image optimization
Next step towards making your website more responsive lies in learning how to properly optimize images prior to uploading them. For starters, the best formats for images are JPEG and PNG (JPEG still being a better choice), while BMP is to be avoided at all costs. Another thing you need to worry about is the quality and the resolution of the images. The higher it is, the more demanding it will be for your humble resources. Finally, you might also want to consider compressing them for the web.
5. Mobile friendly
Last, but in no way least important, seeing how more and more users are browsing the web through their smartphones and tablets, your website needs to be as mobile friendly as possible. Your layouts should be fluid, and your focus should always be on functionality. According to the statistic we mentioned in the introduction, only 11 percent of people expect online browsing on a phone to be slower than on desktop. Letting your audience down is never a smart move.
The thing that can slow down your website the most is your own overwhelming ambition. This ambition might lead you to try astounding your visitors by filling the homepage with a myriad of visually impressive elements. Needless to say, this often turns out to be too much for your website. Luckily, with the abovementioned five tips, it shouldn’t be that hard to make your website as responsive as possible and in this way, give your audience a positive first impression.
Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and regular contributor to Technivorz.