As a business owner, you will no doubt understand that one of the most effective tools for driving sales, expanding reach and ensuring customer retention is the internet. But what are the most important elements when it comes to using the internet to its full marketing potential? Some of the most popular methods involve building a following on social media, creating search engine optimised (SEO) content and paid advertising
Whilst all of these methods are an incredibly effective means of generating website traffic, an aspect that gets frequently overlooked is website performance. Creating SEO optimised content may ensure you get clicks on your website, but the performance of your site, in regard to loading time and page speed, will determine whether those clicks convert to sales and lead to client retention. 
Don’t think loading time is important? The statistics may surprise you, as recently it was confirmed that a mere one second delay in page speed leads to: 
A 16% decrease in customer satisfaction; 
An 11% decrease in overall page views; and 
A 7% loss in conversions. 
Where in the past, people may have been happy to wait for a website to load, consumers now do not have the patience, especially given they have endless access to multiple websites if the one they are currently on isn’t fast enough. 
Not only can poor website performance lead to a decrease in customer conversion and retention but it can also decrease the chances of them coming across your website to begin with. This is because Google now takes speed into consideration when ranking sites, meaning if you have a delayed loading time, your website will not rank highly on the search engine. 
So, with website performance being a crucial factor in cementing your online presence as a business, here are some top tips from it'seeze Web Design Knutsford on ways to optimise your page's performance. 

1) Minimise HTTP Requests 

Yahoo recently confirmed that 80% of a website's loading time comes down to the time spent downloading parts of the page. This includes images, scripts, videos and stylesheets, all of which require an HTTP request to be made. 
In order to minimise the amount of HTTP requests your website makes; you must firstly understand the amount it is already making. To do this you will need to access the browser Developer Tools that are available on Google Chrome. 
Right-click on the page of your website that you would like to analyse, then go to ‘Inspect’ followed by ‘Network’. Once you are in here, the ‘name’ column will display all of the separate files on the page, whilst the ‘size’ column confirms the size of each file and ‘time’ displays their loading time. 
When you look at the bottom left-hand corner of this page, you will see the total amount of HTTP requests that your site makes. Consider this number of requests and filter out any which are unnecessary. This will have a positive impact on your overall page speed. 

2) Combine and Minify Files 

Another effective way of reducing the number of HTTP requests that your site makes is to minify and combine them. 
Minifying a file means you remove from it all whitespace, unnecessary formatting and code. Every piece of code that isn’t essential ends up adding to the size of your page and this can reduce loading time, so it’s incredibly important to eliminate things like line breaks, extra spaces and indentations. 
Another way of improving website performance is by combining files. This is exactly as it sounds. If your website runs multiple pages made up of code that is JavaScript or CSS, you can combine all of these into one. 
These are effective methods; however, a knowledge of code is required in order to execute them to the highest quality. This is why when it comes to creating and running websites, a lot of businesses opt to contact professional web designers who have more of an in-depth knowledge. 

3) Minimise the Time to First Byte 

Though the time it takes for the pages on your site to fully load is important, it is equally crucial that the time it takes for your page to start loading is fast. 
The time to first byte (known as a TTFB for short) refers to the amount of time that passes before a browser receives its first byte of data from the server. Google recommends a TTFB of under 200 ms. 
You can look up the amount of time it takes for a browser to receive its first byte of data either on Google Chrome’s Developer Tools or a third-party tool. To access the information, click on ‘Network’ and hover your mouse over the ‘waterfall’ column. This will bring up a list and in it you will see your ‘waiting’ time (TTFB). 
If this number is under 200 ms, as Google recommends, then your website is running quickly; however, if it is higher, this may need rectifying. Most issues with a slow TTFB now are caused by dynamic content creation, network issues, high amounts of traffic and web server configuration. 

4) Reduce Server Response Time 

One of the most prominent factors that can impact your page speed is the amount of time your website's domain name system (DNS) lookup takes. This is the process where a computer finds the specific DNS that pertains to the website the user is trying to get on. It essentially involves translating the domain that has been typed in into an IP address for that specific URL. 
This step prevents web users from having to memorise elongated strands of numbers to find a website and instead means they only have to type in the name. 
The amount of time that it takes will depend entirely on the speed of your DNS provider. If it is too slow then you may want to consider switching providers. There are DNS speed comparison reports available online, which will help you better understand what provider you should be using. 

5) Run Compression Audits 

You should make it regular practice getting your files as small as they can be without compromising their quality. Overall, the smaller they are, the faster they’ll load. Pages that you use that contain lots of content, videos or images will be larger in size and therefore will take longer to load. You can speed up their download times by compressing them. 
There are multiple platforms available for you to check whether or not a file is compressed and by entering the URL of your website onto them, you will be able to tell if a file's size can be reduced. 

Do You Need Assistance with Improving Website Performance? 

The above is a helpful guide on how to improve your website performance; however, there are more complex methods available as well. The speed of your website is incredibly important and it’s for this reason that we at it’seeze Knutsford offer clients professional web design at reasonable rates. 
Thanks to our affordable website packages, you will be able to choose what kind of site you would like to use and dictate how you would like it to look. After it is set up and our team have taken the necessary checks to ensure it’s running at optimum efficiency, we also offer ongoing expert support so that if any problems arise, or if there are any performance issues you would like us to look at, we will always be on hand to help. 
If you have any questions or to find out more, then please do not hesitate to contact us at it’seeze Web Design Knutsford. 
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