User Testing

Navigating the Slow Lane: How to Accelerate Your Website

Navigating the Slow Lane: How to Accelerate Your Website
Strategies and tips for optimizing website speed in today’s digital landscape
Navigating the Slow Lane: How to Accelerate Your Website

Website speed is more important than ever. Most users are browsing the internet from a mobile device, a quick analysis of your website traffic can uncover if this is true for your website.

Website speed is measured in milliseconds. The average amount of time someone will wait for a website to load is two seconds, giving us a window of two thousand milliseconds to load what is known as above the fold or anything which the user sees before scrolling. The fold varies on a device to device basis.

A slow website will have a very high bounce rate due to user desperation

Speeding up a website can be a daunting task, and the tools at your disposal depend on how your website is hosted. For example, if your website is hosted on one of the popular hosting platforms such as GoDaddy or Squarespace or Wix you don't have much say in the optimization process.

Knowing what needs to be optimized is much easier on a small website. Viewing the log of the server connections being made is a good place to start. A log will contain the time stamp at which the request was received and the milliseconds the response to the request by the user took, as well as the response code.

In most cases, you will uncover large images taking a long time to load. This can be fixed by implementing compressed images as the landing image and providing a link to the high resolution image. By having a user explicitly click a button which says "Download Large Image" the user understands the "why" of the load time.

The process of minification may also prove useful to you. You can minify many files which make up your website. Commonly, JavaScript and CSS files are minified to save bites. Each bite saved is a bite not served. If your website is slow even after minification and compression of images, you may need to enact a separation of concerns game plan. Uploading your static assets (images, video, audio, .etc.) to a service such as AWS S3 which allows for region availability selection. This ability allows you to serve your files from a server closest to your audience.

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