Optimising your website for speed brings numerous benefits for an online business. An increase in conversions, customer satisfaction plus a reduction in operational costs all positively impacts the bottom line. In terms of SEO, the faster your website, the higher it will rank in the natural or organic searches.
In this episode we focus on 10 ways to optimise your website and increase conversions. I speak to Kyle York , the VP in charge of Sales and Marketing for Dyn and Andy Piggott, the Managing Director of Incutio. We cover the main factors affecting the speed of a website and more importantly, the steps you can take today to make your website faster and reap the benefits of speed.
In true Kaizen style, we also cover ways in which you can measure some of the more critical metrics . The measurements you should really care about are:
1. TTFB – Time To First Byte. This is the measure of how long it takes for your browser to get data back from a web server after you’ve hit go. During this time the browser must ‘locate’ the website (convert name to number) and then ask the address its given for the relevant webpage. As soon as that webserver sends the first bit of data back, we have our TTFB. This is an important metric as browsers will often start showing the user to the page as soon as the first bytes come back. This test is the best indicator as to whether you have infrastructure problems (DNS, Hosting).
The Ten Ways to Optimise Your Website :
1. Check your TTFB at: www.bytecheck.com, if it’s higher than say 500m/s, pursue your hosting company as it’s likely to be infrastructure related (eg: slow or overloaded servers).
2. Compress text components using gzip, check if it’s enabled on your site: http://www.whatsmyip.org/http_compression/ – if it isn’t, get your development company or hosting company to enable it.
4. Use caching, it’s a good thing, read about what Google recommend: http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/docs/caching.html
5. Optimise your images and use the right ones in the right place; For most logos and computer generated graphics you should be using 8-bit PNGs unless you require animation, when you should be using a GIF. Photographs should usually be saved as JPEGs, and optimised to balance quality and size.
7. Enable Keep Alive – this allows the browser to download multiple objects from the server without having to create a new connection for each one. You can find out if Keep Alive is enabled via: www.webpagetest.org, once you test your site then you can see in the “Details” section whether the connections show “Keep Alive”.
8. Monitor everything – we monitor our internal application performance using RPM from newrelic.com and user experience via catchpoint.com, both offer a free trial, why not see how they can enable your business?
9. DNS – hosting companies DNS servers tend to perform inconsistently and slower than dedicated DNS services. Incutio moved their DNS to the Dynect platform from Dyn.com and experienced improvements of 80 to 3000m/s in different areas of the world.
10. CDN – get your content onto a CDN. Both Incutio and Dyn partner with Edgecast who have a fantastic network. Using a CDN improves the performance of your site by delivering the content from locations nearer the user, it also means your servers have to do a lot less work and ultimately reduces costs as well as improving your performance and therefore your conversion.
This Top 10 list has been made possible by Incutio, a web development business that has been specialising in eCommerce Solutions and Content Management Systems for over 10 years. They run two platforms – www.salesonrails.co.uk for eCommerce and Fabric their content management system. Incutio does more than just build brilliant sites, the team produce and execute online marketing strategies to grow their clients businesses at a manageable rate. This includes search engine optimisation, pay-per-click marketing and social media services. If you’d like to find out how Incutio could help your online business grow, get in touch with them via www.incutio.com or reach out to Andy Piggott at firstname.lastname@example.org