5 methods to enhance your web site’s efficiency
Ensuring your website or application is running smoothly, let alone balancing customer needs on a day-to-day basis, is not an easy task. Because of this, digital agencies are increasingly relying on content management systems (CMS) to aid in the design and development of websites, including Magento, WordPress, Kentico, and Sitecore.
CMS platforms are user-friendly, quick to deploy, easy to maintain and, above all, cost-effective. They provide a quick and effective way to build and manage websites instead of having to code them from scratch. This in turn relieves developers and marketers of some of the technical burden so that they can focus exclusively on their customers and campaigns. It also enables non-tech-savvy users to create landing pages or upload and edit content themselves without having to outsource the work to a web developer.
However, one negative aspect that is often associated with CMS platforms is poor performance. However, it is worth noting that poor website performance can occur for many reasons and is often not a problem with the CMS framework itself. Here are five tips on how you can potentially improve the performance of your website:
1. Monitor your CMS and keep it up to date
This may sound obvious, but the first step in improving your website’s performance is to monitor it. Because through careful and regular analysis of important metrics, you can determine average performance indicators and identify potential problems, blockers or threats more easily. Also, if you make changes to the CMS to potentially improve the performance of your website, you can see those improvements immediately.
Pay attention to what elements are slowing down your website. Metrics to keep an eye on include website availability statistics, as well as page speed and load times; In fact, a second of delay can be enough to frustrate users and make them leave your website. Now that you’ve set and regularly monitored your website’s key performance goals, it’s time to review your website maintenance and make sure your CMS’s extensions are up to date to keep the website running at its best.
There are some good website monitoring tools out there that not only test your website regularly to spot any problems, but also warn you if any are reported. For example, if your website goes offline for any reason, you will be notified immediately so you can take immediate action to resolve the problem and let your customers know that you are already working on it.
2. Pay attention to the uploaded images
Remember when I said you should pay attention to what elements are slowing down your website? Pictures are usually the main culprit. It is known that, on average, more than half the page weight of a website is made up of images. They naturally make websites more engaging and vital, especially when it comes to digital agencies whose core offerings are heavily based on visual elements. But the more images you have and the larger the files, the longer your page will take to load.
Page speed also depends on the type of image file – if it’s a JPEG photo or an animated GIF, for example – as some formats load faster than others. For simplicity, use JPEGs for colorful photos or images, PNGs for images in black and white or with a transparent background, and GIFs for animated images only.
Optimizing images can drastically reduce the loading time of your page and speed up the overall performance of your CMS. Using fewer images per page is one solution. Alternatively, you can reduce the size of the images without affecting their quality. Most image editing tools like Adobe Photoshop have image compression features built in – be sure to use the Save For Web feature, but you can also use online compression tools like JPEGmini, ImageOptim, or Kraken. Reducing the file dimensions (height and width) can also significantly reduce the image file size. You can easily resize the images using image editing software on your computer.
I would say that the key to successful image optimization for web performance is finding the perfect balance between the lowest file size and the highest image quality.
3. Reduce the number of plugins
When you run tests to find out what will reduce your website’s page loading time, it may not be surprising that plugins negatively impact functionality. Although plugins are common components of a website, they require more resources to run and therefore slow down your website’s performance. Also, as with images, the more plugins you have installed, the more resources are required to run them.
Plugins can load all kinds of different files from external websites. These files can contain scripts, style sheets, and images from various online sources such as Google, Facebook, analytics services, etc. Badly coded plugins often load too much bloat, whether your website needs it or not. With that in mind, it’s okay to use some of these as many of them are optimized to load as quickly as possible, so it’s faster than hosting them on your own website. However, if your plugins make too many of these requests at the same time, it can slow down your website significantly.
Find out which plugins you may no longer be using and which ones are slowing down your website, delete the ones you don’t need and make sure the remaining ones are up to date. You should also avoid plugins that load lots of scripts and styles or generate lots of database queries. Finally, it’s a good idea to run speed tests before and after installing a plugin to compare the impact on performance.
4. Use a CDN
If you host the website on a single server, all user requests will be sent to the same hardware. Because of this, the time it takes to process each request increases. In addition, load time increases when users are physically far from the server. This is where content delivery networks (CDN) come into play.
A CDN is a set of web servers spread across different geographic locations that serve end users web content related to their location. Copies of your website’s files are stored in numerous data centers, typically located around the world. Files are cached and loaded from the closest server to the user. So when a user tries to access your website, they will be served files from the closest data center. This shortens the distance files have to travel, resulting in faster load speeds, improved usability, and reduced server load.
5. Find the right hosting provider
As we all know, any downtime can lead to lost revenue for your business. What companies have to keep in mind, however, is that the CMS itself does not have to be scalable. It is the server resources in the hosting environment that the CMS is running on that need to be scaled according to traffic demand.
Content management systems must be supported by high-performance hosting platforms that can be easily scaled to cope with increasing data traffic. I would recommend looking out for platforms that don’t have a single point of failure design as this is an essential feature for high traffic websites. Also, look for speed and flexibility, as this means resources can be updated quickly and your sites and applications run smoothly.
With a reliable cloud hosting platform, you can also automate common maintenance tasks like security updates, backups, and performance monitoring. Cloud hosting platforms usually also offer suitable DevOps environments, which makes web development more efficient for your web developers.
Put the parts together
As with anything in life, these tips are much easier to share with you than to put them into action. They take a lot of time, effort, and technical knowledge to implement, and as mentioned at the beginning of this article, digital agencies are busy enough dealing with customer demands. They don’t want to think about managing their web hosting or optimizing their website’s performance. They just want to know that the sites or applications they create and service for customers are working as intended, no matter what; from a small business with a simple website to customers who need complex interactive environments, CMS or high traffic websites.
My final piece of advice, however, is that it is significantly easier and cheaper to centralize this process with a trusted managed hosting provider rather than spending valuable development time configuring platforms. Not only do you take care of setting up the CMS, but also oversee performance optimization and load balancing, manage updates and take care of security issues through internal monitoring services to ensure that your platform is working at full capacity at all times.
At a time when downtime, slow loading speeds, or overall poor performance can cost a company thousands or even millions of pounds (or dollars), maintaining the technical performance of a website or application is absolutely essential.