Web Performance is more important than ever before. Here are some tips and tricks to help get your site on the right track in 2015!
As we dive headlong into Q1, I know we’re all busy setting growth strategy and planning for 2015. Sales, Marketing, Dev, Operations – every department has goals and deliverables that need to be met in the coming year.
But what about web performance? Every business knows it should have a fast, reliable website, but how many actually set an annual strategy for diagnosing, optimizing and preparing their sites and other web assets for top performance and growth?
A solid 2015 Web Performance Plan should outline long-term strategic goals, important seasonal deliverables, and all improvements (with deadlines) necessary for the following year.
We recommend first going through the following performance planning checklist as you start formulating your annual Web Performance Plan. It walks through many of the most common web performance concerns, and tips for improving them.
Web Performance Planning Checklist
Response Times and Maximum Capacity Limits
- Do you know the response times for the most critical pages and functions on your site? And what would happen if there were a sudden spike in web traffic?
- Load test to establish solid benchmarks of your site’s current load times and maximum capacity limits.
- Testing tip: Consistency is the key to effective load testing.
It is recommended that the load be increased step-by-step – increasing the number of users geometrically or logarithmically. This is the fastest way to gain an accurate overview of performance.
Images and Page Bloat
- Perhaps the greatest hurdle for optimum web page performance is imagery. Simply put, Images take up a lot of space. On average, images take up more than 50% of the total size of a typical web page.
- Determine the size of imagery on your site and its effect on performance with a page load test. This will allow you to determine the load times of every element on a given page, including images.
- Takeout Tip: The first step in increasing page speed is to decrease page size. The first step in decreasing page size is reducing the number of images and/or optimizing images (changing resolution, minifying, etc). A tool such as Google PageSpeed can help optimize image size and resulting load times.
3rd Party Functions
Third party components (Payment Processes, Ad Networks, etc) can affect your site’s performance as well. Always know exactly what is being shown on your site and its impact on performance.
Good Design = Good Performance. In other words, a site’s design, no matter how pretty, is not effective if it’s not optimized for high and reliable performance. Your customers want a fast loading website that won’t crash on them, period.
- It is a wise to have an automatic scaling system firmly in place not only to prevent your site or application from ever hitting critical mass, but to always deliver the best possibly experience to your customers.
- Auto scaling utilizes the cloud to respond automatically to changes in demand and add or remove servers based on demand levels. Auto scaling not only provides greater peace of mind, but can actually save you money in the long run by removing servers when they are no longer needed.
Implement and Verify Load Balancing
It is essential to verify that load sharing is functioning properly and the underlying servers are receiving an even load (ideally 50% each if there are two servers carrying the load). If a server is at 90% and the other at 10%, you are only delivering slightly more that 50% of your real capacity to end users.
Continuous monitoring and review of application performance, customer experience, and traffic & response time fluctuations is necessary to stay on top of performance and drive success. Pinpoint and eliminate minor threats before they develop into serious issues. Use a Web Monitoring service like Apica WebPerformance to monitor site uptime and performance 24×7, and be alerted should response times ever hit above an acceptable threshold.
Optimize for Mobile
Mobile commerce sales are growing three times faster than overall eCommerce. You cannot afford NOT to optimize your site for mobile, especially if you offer consumer services or products from a web storefront.
Listen to your Customer
Optimize your site to better suit your customers and their needs: ease and shorten transaction flows, improve search functions, and add site improvements to help your users feel more secure and well taken care of.
If you need help going through this checklist or formulating your yearly Web Performance Improvement Plan, please get in touch with us here at Apica.
Happy New Year!