Website performance refers to how swiftly and smoothly a website loads on a Web browser. The loading speed defines the quality of websites’ usability, quality, reliability, and interactivity. So, a website or web performance is the end-users first assessment of your site as in – if it loads fast, is easily accessible (User Experience), and has a lucrative design. This article will guide you through different aspects of website performance and help you analyze the parameters/criteria related to them.
As mentioned earlier, Website performance is how fast a website loads and becomes interactable on browsers, strongly affecting visitors’ first impressions. Assuring optimal website performance has ample benefits, from improving user experience to boosting conversions and sales.
Factors affecting Website Performance
Here are some major factors affecting Website Performance:
➥ Page Weight
This reflects the website’s total file size. This includes elements such as scripts, HTML codes, images, & videos. Web browsers must download all these files to portray a web page rightly.
A heavy site has many large-sized resource files that take more time to download. Thus, page size directly affects the performance of a web page. Here are some ways you can lower the page size:
- Ease up the web design
- Remove unnecessary code files
- Remove custom fonts
- Use fewer ads
Images on a website largely impact the performance. They are much bigger than HTTPS texts, making them load slowly. However, removing images from the website is not an option as they are crucial for a website. So, Image optimization becomes a priority while handling webpage performance.
➥ Website Image Optimization
- Image Compression
- Keep image files to a minimum
- Resize image
- Use CSS sprites to reduce the number of server requests and save bandwidth
➥ Browser Caching
Once you open the website the browser temporarily stores its data as a cache. The cache has HTML files and images that are displayed on the website. The intent behind the caching process is to increase the speed of the website on a revisit. As it is stored locally, there is no need for browsers to fetch the data from the servers. For the different web hosting providers, the steps to enable cache may vary. In general, you can activate it via the web hosting control panel.
➥ File compression
Picking a proper Hosting Service provider for your website is important. A non-reliable hosting provider will low down your site or make it unavailable because of regular downtime. Look for the host server’s hardware to guarantee its reliability. Go for a hosting service with SSDs (solid-state drives), high-capacity random access memory (RAM), and high bandwidth connection.
Pick a hosting service that meets your requirements. For a high-traffic website, instead of shared hosting go for cloud hosting or VPS instead. A shared hosting plan divides the server’s resources for numerous users, slowing down your site during request spikes.
➥ Hosting location
Your website is held on a server in a precise location. To show the website, the host server will send the resources to browsers around the globe through physical undersea internet cables. The more distance from the server, the longer the path for the data to travel. Your website resources will take more time to send and load, and have a slower loading speed. Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service, such as Cloudflare you can resolve this issue and set up a group of servers and distribute globally that store a copy of your site files.
➥ Permanent Redirects
A permanent redirect moves a user from the site they access to another. Its objective is to ensure that visitors land on the fresh website instead of the old one. So, a browser sends a request twice to access the website with a permanent redirect.
➥ Network condition
Network condition is one of the most fundamental factors. Errors with the network can happen on the server side. If the network is unsafe or unstable, the communication between the servers and visitors’ web browsers is disrupted. This can slow down your page regardless of optimization.
Website Performance metrics
➥ Page load
This metric refers to the time taken by the website to load. The standard website page load time is under three seconds. But, this may not reflect in real-time as there are constraints to consider like device specifications and variations in network conditions.
➥ Time to First Byte (TTFB)
As a foundational metric for measuring connection setup time and web server responsiveness in both the lab and the field. It helps analyze when a web server is slow to respond to requests. TTFB metric is measured in milliseconds and a High TTFB indicates that your web server is unresponsive and may have an issue.
➥ Start Render Time
Render time is the metric that suggests the time taken for a website or web app to load enough that the user can truly interact with the page. Time to Start Render (TTSR) estimates the time taken for the first website element to load. This can be any element, regardless of its scope and importance.
Low TTSR means that the visitor can quickly notice the website’s content. It shows them that the website is being loaded, and that keeps them intact preventing them from clicking away. It is considered an important metric to retain the audience.
➥ Time to title
Time to title refers to the time taken for a website’s title to emerge in a browser tab after individual requests a website. The longer it takes for the site title to appear chances are the visitors will leave. An optimal Time to Title has a significant impact on users and also helps them get an idea regarding the site’s legitimacy.
➥ DNS lookup speed
DNS Lookup speed is the time it takes a Domain Name Server to acquire the request for a domain name’s IP address, process it, and return the IP address to the browser. The lookup speed measures how fast DNS servers fix the queried domain name to the individual IP address. The website only loads once the DNS servers give your web the correct IP address. In general, the DNS lookup speed ranges from 20 to 120 milliseconds. If the DNS lookup takes more than 120 milliseconds, it can affect your website’s performance.
➥ Time to Interact (TTI)
TTI metrics show the time a website takes until the user can interact with it. This is an important metric because some websites may load each content but remain non-interactable. A website is considered completely interactive when the page reveals useful content calculated by First Contentful Paint (FCP), the event handlers are registered for most of the site’s visible elements and a website responds within 50 milliseconds. Improving TTI enhances user experience and makes sure that visitors can interact with the page as fast as possible.
➥ Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of users that instantly leave a site without taking any specific action. Thus, if your website has a high bounce rate, it is a possibility that your site is slow.
However, other factors can impact bounce rates aside from slow loading speed. Even if your site loads instantly, visitors may leave if they don’t find its content engaging enough.
➥ Conversion Rate
Conversion Rate deals with the proportion of converting users to total visitors. It doesn’t instantly indicate your web performance like other metrics but provides insight. A high conversion rate means that your website meets visitors to a degree. This suggests your site performs well and provides a positive impression on visitors, encouraging them to convert.
➥ Request Per Second (RPS)
RPS is the total requests your web server receives in seconds. Requests retain all interactions with the web server, such as getting emails and database queries. Request Per Second shows web servers’ ability to manage requests. RPS testing provides insights into how your site will perform under high traffic.
➥ Error Rate
The error rate is the number of problematic requests in context to the total requests over a particular period. A high error rate indicates that the web server often encounters problems that prevent the site from loading properly. This metric allows you to see when your site gets errors, for instance, at the time of increasing traffic. Using the diagnostic you can easily come up with solutions.
Here are some areas you can work on to improve website performance.
➥ Reducing overall loading time
A common strategy is to make your files as small as possible, lessen the number of HTTP requests made as much as possible, and use loading techniques like preload to make files available more quickly.
➥ Develop a Site that is usable
Your website must have usability. This means a user can easily start using the website as soon as it begins loading. This means that you can load other elements while loading the primary components. Some websites also use the concept of lazy loading where you can load the elements that are crucial.
➥ Smoothness & interactivity
➥ Perceived performance
This aspect deals with how fast a website appears to the user. User experience and perception have a more significant impact on user experience than how fast the website actually is. How user rates and evaluates your website is important as it creates an audience perception. It is not measurable but helps boost your website.
We hope that this blog helped you explore details regarding website performance. If you are looking to improve your website’s performance or build one from scratch then Webbybutter will assist you with how you should proceed.