Improve Your Websites’ Performance with These Tools, Hosting Adjustments, and .htaccess changes
The main search engines have made it clear that website loading speed is noteworthy factor. Google mentioned site loading speed being a factor back in 2009. However, at that time they said only 1% of websites would be affected. I believe it is important for all websites these days, even the smaller sites with only a couple dozen pages.
Google has stated that they want websites to be fast to load, secure, and mobile friendly. All three of these are important for various reasons to the website visitors, so Google wants to encourage and reward that with higher SERP ranking. And, with so many visitors increasingly coming from mobile devices we should make sure our sites load faster and are mobile friendly. Not to forget, site slowness also affects user bounce rate and Click Through Rate (CTR). Should we be concerned about all this? Absolutely!
First of all, take advantage of the website analysis tools that Google and Yahoo have provided for us.
The Website Performance Analysis Tools
The Yahoo tool is called YSlow and displays the performance grade as A through F. YSlow is available as a bookmarklet and also an assortment of browser addons and other methods for conducting the test. See below:
- Command Line (HAR)
- Node.js Server
- Source Code
Google has a much simpler delivery method. They simply use a webpage to test your site: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ Although Google has created a Chrome extension too. Google grades as a percentage score from zero to 100%.
Running the tests
Run each performance test in different browsers. With and without addons installed in your browser. If you can, run the tests on different platforms too, mobile and traditional.
My Opinion of Tool Usefulness
Yahoo’s YSlow is the most helpful, in my opinion, because it shows you much more detailed information, including a link to information on how to solve any issues. However, I was not able to run it from Firefox, but Google Chrome, ironically, worked just fine. As for Google, they do state what should be fixed, but not nearly in the detail of YSlow.
Fixing the Problems
The adjustments run the gamut of technical skill levels needed. However, most are adjustments that webmasters can fix, regardless of their level of access to the host servers. WordPress users probably have it easiest, as their are a number of good plugins that resolve many of these slowness-causing problems.
First of all, check your webhost (via cPanel, etc) as they may have some website optimization tools, such as compressing files, lossless image optimizing, setting expirations on certain files. etc. Then, try to optimize files yourself, such as a Content Delivery Network (CDN), for any big videos or images. You can adjust your .htaccess file as well.
Here’s a few links: