Why Web performance matter?
Web performance has become an unavoidable topic for the last years. Indeed, the average weight of a website was 320 kb in 2009, and in 2015, it rose up above 2mb, 6 times higher! The bandwidth has also increased but not with the same factor and, above all, mobiles arrived.
Why Web performance matter?
Letâs discover together 6 outstanding facts, from research, polls or else success stories, to convince you that the optimization of the loading time of your professional website must be a priority.
A website that loads in more than 5 seconds has a bounce rate twice higher than a website that loads in 1 second.
Only 1 more second in loading time can cost up to 7% of the conversion rate.
Entry points must particularly load fast, otherwise traffic and conversion collapse on the entire website is to be feared.
Already in 2010, 1% of websites were penalized for their too long loading time.
The first result in Google has a loading time 30% faster than the 50th one.
Web performance is then a criterion that you must take into account in the SEO, and it is very likely that the trend will grow stronger and stronger, particularly with Google recent experiment: the Red Slow Label.
60% of web users leave a website to a competitor’s when the loading time is above 5 seconds. 88% of web users won’t come back if they assume the website to be too slow.
85% of web users expect a loading time to be equally fast whether on a mobile device or on a classic website.
Web users are demanding and eager, and this, before even being on your website, it is essential to not make them flee before they can access your content.
Thanks to these data, we now better understand the key part of web performance, and we can sum up the multiple impacts of an excessive loading time by remembering this adage: âTime is moneyâ!
If you are not convinced yet, or you would like to get more statistics, you can have further information here.
The most common issues and how to avoid them
A website must be fast, letâs discover now the 5 most common errors and, above all, how to solve them.
Forgetting to resize images
The first point to take into account when using an image on your website, is to use it at the right size. If an image will be displayed at a lower size than the original one, directly provide it at the right dimensions. Indeed, configuring a display size (often managed with HTML width and height attributes) wonât absolutely change the quantity of downloaded data by the user.
Unless your CMS takes over this feature, be aware of always generating your miniature yourself.
Using non optimized images
This is a technique still underused, but some tools enable to optimize images, without any quality loss.
Our intention is then not to ask you to compress your picture at most, at the cost of your product value, but rather to make sure of the installation of a technical operation in your image upload process. The benefits will be surely substantial.
How to optimize images?
- By using an online tool such as kraken.io;
- By automating optimization during the upload, with a plugin for your CMS for instance;
- By using appropriate options in your image-editing program during the recording, if offered (Photoshop offers it for example);
- By using utilities such as optipng or jpegtran, in command line.
We talk about an optimization without quality loss: but always keep in mind that it is however necessary to make compromises on the web! All of your contents have no need to be in high definition, your users wonât blame you for this. Indeed, the same jpeg picture can have a weight almost doubled between a reasonably compressed version and a HD one.
Concatenate and Minify
Each HTTP request has a cost in terms of performance:
- Extend your websiteâs loading time (latency)
- Bandwidth (mobile)
It is better for a browser to do a request to a file of 50kb of data rather than 10 files of 5kb.
This is why your files should be concatenated with one another:
- gathering your scripts in only one .js file
- combining all of your style sheets in only one .css
Once you have concatenated your files, you must minify them. That means to delete all the formatting characters useless to the browsers such as spaces, returns, commentsâ¦ and by doing this, free many data bytes and reduce the delay of downloading, analysing and executing for your scripts.
Not measuring the impact of a feature
Temptations are high to go for the maximum interactivity and to insert varied features: best sales, promotions, categories, partnerships, ads etc. But this functional richness comes at a cost.
Even if this feature may seem insignificant in the first instance, a bad design can be dramatic in terms of performance, and could downgrade the global user experience.
Some questions you could ask yourself:
- What is the added value to my user?
- What is the added value for my company?
- Does this new feature need to use a new framework, a new library?
- Is it a third party service? If it is, is it reliable? Is it efficient?
- Is the impact estimated on the loading time acceptable, considering the added value?
If a solution reveals to not be powerful enough, there is may be an alternative. Once more, web performance is all about making compromises. Automated diagnosis tools (such as DareBoost) will enable you to measure the performance of your pages, before and after the installation of a new feature. To sum up this paragraph, Larry Pageâs quote (Googleâs founder, quoted by Urs HÃ¶lzle during the Velocity conference in 2010):
âAs a product manager you should know that speed is product feature number one.â
Not watching the performance of your website
Without doubt, you keep an eye on your website positioning, its conversion rate or else the involvement of your audience on social networks. If you remember what has previously been said in this very article, you got it, loading time is a fundamental criterion to the success of a web activity.
Google is one of the pioneers about it, and tends to integrate it more and more in its different tools. Did you know that Google Analytics offers Real User Monitoring? In other words, if you use Google Analytics, it is already made possible for you to assess the loading times of your users, by taking advantage of the usual richness of the solution. (Behavior > Site speed).
It is necessary to integrate the loading time to the other variables you follow every day. Solutions of web performance monitoring does exist, they will not only help you to detect rapidly the problems (alert mechanisms), but will also help you to having them corrected.
I hope this article has made you more familiar with the issues raised by web performance and will allow you to avoid some mistakes that remain too recurrent.
Have a good optimization!
Anthony Fourneau. I am a cofunder of DareBoost, a startup that provide an online tool (SaaS) of web site analysis : www.dareboost.com. We offer a unique, automated expertise for optimizing your website loading times, and also improve its quality.