Gunner’s 7 top tips for speedy websites (infographic)

4 min read
Watb Team
A mountain biker mid ride

It’s time for another super helpful WATB infographic. Here, we run through some useful tips for speeding up your website. You can embed this infographic using the code below on your own blog.

7 Top Tips for Speedy Websites

Here’s how you can increase the speed of your website

Tip #1 – Don’t forget performance after page load

Your performance concerns shouldn’t end after page load. How a site performs once loaded is just as important.

Keep animations to a minimum – too many things zipping about will reduce the FPS (yes, websites have FPS) of your site causing a ‘laggy’ sensation that will put off your users and increase bounce rates. That said, carefully designed, smooth animations, enhance the experience and are worthwhile to help avoid any issues with a slow website.

You should also be careful with anything triggered on scroll, and be wary of DOM manipulations. Always try your builds on average machines to see how they perform.

Tip #2 – Write efficient, lean HTML/CSS

If you can do it in three lines, but you’ve written ten, then you need to re-think how you write code. Aim to be as lean as possible because every line of CSS the browser doesn’t have to download and parse results in better performance for the user.

Use Sass to help you break down your CSS into component parts. You can then compile into separate files, so pages only load the styles they really need.

Tip #3 – Defer JavaScript

If pre-10 Internet Explorer support is of no concern, you can increase the speed of page loading by adding a simple defer attribute to your JS script tags. This tells the browser to continue parsing the page whilst asynchronously executing the script. It stops the JS being render blocking, so users will see your content quicker.

<script src="script.js" defer></script>

Tip #4 – Get Kraken’ing

Kraken is an online tool for image optimisation which makes reducing image file sizes an absolute breeze. Upload your images, run kraken, and gain instant savings on page weight. Images are often the heaviest resources of a page, so it’s essential they are sizes and optimised correctly.

Tip #5 – Cache and Minify

If you’re not using the browser cache and minifying the front-end of your builds, then you’re missing a great party trick for super fast websites.

W3 Total Cache is easily the most feature packed and powerful caching plugin for WordPress and is essential. Proper configuration will dramatically improve your page loads.

Tip #6 – Aim high and keep excuses to a minimum

Sometimes you can’t do everything you want to – at WATB some of our sites couldn’t be as fast as we aimed for because of issues with hosting or project demands.

But keep your excuses to a minimum and aim high, you should be able to achieve sub-1 second load times and you should be able to score comfortably into the late 80s and 90s on Google Page Speed and GTMetrix.

Tip #7 – Test like your life depends on it

And throughout your project, damnit. Leaving testing until the end will make fixing page speed issues more difficult.

Use Google Page Speed, WebPageTest, GTMetrix and Pingdom to help you drive down your load times and identify those crucial areas of improvement. Run tests regularly throughout your project and you’ll deliver a project to your client that’s so fast it’ll blow their socks off.

Revel in your results

Scoring straight A’s on the notoriously harsh webpagetest.org, and straight 100’s on Page Speed, was weirdly one of my proudest achievements as a front-end developer. It isn’t easy, but achieving low page loading times for our clients means they can achieve better results online.

Social Media Management Software

In order to promote your business and reach consumers that spend an entire 24 hours a week online, you need to make sure that you have a viable social media strategy in place.

By posting unique and interesting content on your social media platforms, and by actively engaging with followers, you can start to turn this into a funnel for generating leads.

In order to stay on top of your social media strategy, it’s important to have some form of social media management software to do some of the heavy lifting. Software such as this is imperative for scheduling, tracking and monitoring social media content.

At its best, social media management software can help you not only plan your content months in advance, but also remain reactive by letting you tune into ongoing news stories or trending topics.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's homepage

We recommend: Hootsuite

There are a whole bunch of social media management companies out there and all of them offer roughly the same sort of package but Hootsuite is the only one that offers an actually free service (as opposed to just a free trial period).

They do try to hide it on their website though so make sure you follow this link in order to get to the right page.

The free version of this software lets you:

  • Manage up to three social media profiles from a choice of channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Schedule up to 30 posts in advance at any point in time
  • Track follower growth, likes and comments
  • Integrate two RSS feeds in order to find and share compelling content
  • Access Hootsuite’s online help center and community forum

Of course, there’s also a number of paid-for packages that you can buy from Hootsuite that give you access to a great number of services including higher ad spend budgets, automated post scheduling and custom analytics.

But if you’re a small business looking to get started, the free version of the software should be comprehensive enough to allow you to get your social media strategy in motion.

Website Tracking Software

We’ve said before that the secret to a successful lead generation strategy is to keep analysing and refining your methods. Well, website tracking software is the best way to conduct this analysis.

By digging into the analytics of your visitors’ actions, you can start to gain a better picture of why people come to your site, what they want from it, what they dislike about it and how you can improve upon their experience next time.

There are a wide variety of services that can fall into the category of website tracking software, including heatmaps, funnels, user polls, surveys, visitor recordings and more.

Basically, any kind of software that collects data about the ways in which your visitors interact with your site can be considered website tracking software.

Screenshot of Hotjar's homepage

We recommend: Hotjar

Whereas there are a multitude of smaller software companies that focus in on just one website tracking service, Hotjar offers an array of useful tools.

Hotjar tools include:

  • Click, move, scroll, download and share heatmaps that can also be split by device type
  • Visitor recordings that allow you to replay sessions of real site visitors
  • Conversion funnels that identify on which page and at which step the most visitors are leaving your site
  • Form analysis that can help you to discover which fields take too long to fill, which are left blank and why your visitors abandon your form and page
  • A customizable widget that allows you to create pop-up feedback polls
  • Responsive surveys that can be distributed through web links and emails, or featured your site just before your visitors abandon the page in order to discover what their concerns are
  • The ability to recruit test users in order to get instant feedback on your site

Hotjar’s free service is able to collect data from 2000 page views a day and will give you access to up to 300 visitor recordings and 3 heatmaps, forms, funnels, polls and surveys. Unlimited users can be added to your account and Hotjar will also store your data for a full year.

While we’d normally recommend free services when possible, it’s probably worth paying for Hotjar’s Plus plan to begin with.

For just under £25 a month you can collect data from 10,000 page views a day and have unlimited services and reports. Plus there’s even a 15-day free trial for you to test out whether you like their software or not.

Remember

Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour.

What’s important is that you put real effort into all of your interactions with potential leads - whether that’s through educational and informative blog posts, social media interactions or even just a chat on the phone.

If you believe in your business’ ability to help its customers then all you have to do is let that shine through.

Ultimately, these tools are just there to help you meet potential leads on their level. The rest is up to you.

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