The Speed of the website is the number one most important factor in all engagement related optimization.
We have said this many times but it is too important that we want to stress it again. Website speed is the most important factor for web quality PERIOD.
In a research done by Portent also showed that B2B site that loads in 1 second has a conversion rate 3x higher than a site that loads in 5 seconds. For B2c a site that loads in 1 second has an e-commerce conversion rate 2.5x higher than a site that loads in 5 seconds.
Here, we’ll walk you through why speed is important and how you can optimize your website’s speed going forward.
Understanding what contributed to the overall time
To answer this question, we can get ourself familiar with some of the common file types listed. Below is a the result we get by testing site speed with common speed testing tools like GTmetrix. You can see that file type contribute to its page size and the number of requests we are requesting to our server.
Think of number of requests as the amount of workers we require to finish a job and file size as the load each worker is taking.
So a typical web page could have a size of 2MB and a total requests of 82 times, that would mean there are 82 workers loading the size of a 2MB page. Each worker are going to the server and tell whoever is working back there for their share of information that needs to be carry out to the user. Each worker then will carry their share of resource to the user as requested.
So the key to optimization here is to lower the amount of requests made and overall size the each resource is requesting. As simple as that!
Understanding How to Optimize
After understanding each file type, next it’s all about how to optimize it. Let’s use our workers and users example we talked about earlier to further dissect this concept.
Hosting & Server
When a browser first fetches a web page, it talks to a server in a language called Hypertext Transfer Protocol, commonly known as HTTP. The browser makes an HTTP request, and the web server replies with an HTTP response, which consists of a status code and the requested content.
In Figure below, you see a request being made to webquality.org. The verb GET tells the server to locate /speed.html. Because a few versions of HTTP are in use, the server wants to know which version of the protocol is being referenced (which in this case is HTTPS). In the last step, the request is clarified with the host of the resource.
After making the request, you receive a response code of 200 OK, which assures you that the resource you’ve requested exists, along with a response containing the contents of /speed.html. The content of /speed.html is then downloaded and interpreted by the web browser.
That’s how a request is made to a server. That’s what each worker are doing behind the scene. As you can see if the speed.html page is containing a lot of different resources(not just a single html file), the amount of requests will become higher as well.
All of these steps incur what is called latency, the amount of time spent waiting for a request to reach the web server, the amount of time for the web server to collect and send its response, and the amount of time for the web browser to download the response.
So the server speed matters. A lot. Below article, we go deep into optimizing the server for better response time. Click on the link to read more.
How to optimize server resources?
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
In the article above where we talked about the optimization of server response time, we mentioned that getting your server closer to where most of your users are accessing your site will improve the server response time, since they don’t need to travel across the world to get the requested resources.
However, when you have a global audience, it becomes practically impossible. That’s where CDN comes into play. CDN helps with loading speed by having data centers across the world caching copies of resources users requested and serve that copy to new users that are requesting the same resources. With that implementation, your website now can enjoy the benefit of:
- Improving website load times: By having a network of servers serving a copy of website to the user that are requesting the same resources
- Reducing bandwidth costs – Bandwidth consumption costs for website hosting is a primary expense for websites. Through caching and other optimizations, CDNs are able to reduce the amount of data an origin server must provide, thus reducing hosting costs for website owners.
- Increasing content availability and redundancy – Large amounts of traffic or hardware failures can interrupt normal website function. Thanks to their distributed nature, a CDN can handle more traffic and withstand hardware failure better than many origin servers.
- Improving website security – A CDN may improve security by providing DDoS mitigation, improvements to security certificates, and other optimizations.
By how do we go about configuring content delivery network? And what are some of the options we have available at hands?
In below articles we will go through how we can go about configuring CDN for your website.