Listen to a reading of this blog post:
Have you ever clicked on a link only to get frustrated as the page takes forever to load or be disappointed by a “Page Not Found” message?
As internet users, all of us have been there before.
Likewise, most of us usually respond to this kind of holdup in the same way, by closing our browser or returning to the search results page within a matter of seconds.
However, as business owners, this is the last thing you’d want potential customers to do when they try to access your website.
After all, even if you have great content, a slow website can hurt your online success because it negatively affects the user experience.
Recently we published a post titled How to Optimize Your Website Homepage, which focused mainly on key usability issues. Today’s post focuses more on the technical aspects of optimizing your small business website.
Here are three useful tactics to help your site run better and faster.
Analyze Your Website’s Performance
Just like for any other improvement, the first place to begin is by running a performance analysis of your website.
After all, it’s difficult to know where to start optimizing if you don’t know what the problem areas are.
In general, analysis can be done via third party speed tests, web page analysis programs, or utilizing other services that can evaluate your website’s performance.
Ideally, a good analysis of your business website will not only pinpoint what parts are functioning incorrectly, but will also identify what aspects are taking the longest to load.
Clean Up Your Code
As a result, taking the time to clean up the code can be very useful. This can be done by your webmaster or via certain tools, like Google’s Closure Compiler.
Most businesses find that their website speed improves after taking two key optimization steps. One, improving how their code is delivered, and two, putting their code through a process called minification.
In essence, code delivery can be improved through tactics like using shorthand and having good code positioning, while minification squeezes out all of the unnecessary characters and lines so your code is more compact.
Reduce Plugin Use
While plugins, applications, and other add-ons can make your website more interactive, it is also true that too much of a good thing can often cause problems.
In the case of your business website, this typically means slow performance and increased customer annoyance.
As much as possible, avoid low-quality plugins that require complex operations or substantially increase the load time of your website.
Tactics such as having videos or music pop up and automatically play when someone visits your site not only slows down your website, it also irritates most of your visitors, including me, who then have to pause, close, or mute a video or song they never wanted playing in the first place.
In fact, this is such a pet peeve that many visitors often respond by instantly closing the offending website without a second thought.
As I mentioned before, some of these steps are a little more technical than others so if you need help in this area shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any thoughts to add or questions to ask please leave them in the comments below.
To your success!