Prioritise load speed for above-the-fold content

RoboNow the mobile-internet revolution is in full throttle, fast load times are crucial. And we’re not saying that, Google is.

The search engine giant is planning to release ‘transcoding’ feature which loads webpages up faster on slow mobile connections. The problem is it strips away content will can leave your website looking bare and unprofessional.

Not only that, but researchers claim online users only have the patience to wait between one and four seconds for a page to load (depending on which report you read).

Essentially, all the signs point towards having a fast loading website. The key is to make your pages as lightweight as possible so here are a few tips of how you can easily achieve that.

Streamline HTTP requests

A webpage contains separate components, each of which has an HTTP request. The more components on your webpage, the longer it takes your webpage to load.

You can reduce the number of requests made to your server by streamlining components. Here’s how:

  • Reduce the size of HTML files, CSS and JavaScript by compressing them with a minifier
  • Combine JavaScript and CSS files

Defer JavaScript parsing

When JavaScript is added to the top of an HTML document it slows the page down, but you can fix this by deferring parsing so the code slots in at the bottom. This is an easy fix using the defer attribute in the HTML code.

Resize and compress images

Large resolution images can put a strain on load times, but it is an easy fix by compressing the number of pixels and resizing the frame in Photoshop. However, this adds more admin time every time you post a blog article, but fortunately Google’s page speed plugin has a default compressor which fixes the images for you.

Prioritise load speed for above-the-fold content

A sneaky but neat little trick of speeding up your load times is to split your CSS stylesheet in two so that the top half of your webpage loads quickly. It doesn’t matter then if the lower portions of your website load a little slower.

Therefore, don’t include heavy content like high-res images or videos in your above fold content as this knocks down the text users have already started reading – and losing your place whilst reading is not a good user-experience.

Don’t overload plugins

Plugins are useful for all manner of things, but unfortunately they do slow down the load times of your website. Therefore, prioritise which plugins you really need and ditch those you don’t. Before you decide which plugins to lose, you may want to run server tests to determine which are the heaviest.

Reduce the number of redirects

Redirects require HTTP requests which as we established earlier increase load times. If you are redirecting mobile users to a responsive part of your website, use a HTTP redirect to send visitors to the equivalent URL rather than a standard redirect.

Alternatively, you can include a markup in your code to redirect users to the mobile equivalent URL.

If you know you need to improve load speeds, but are not sure what is weighing your site down, you can check page speed scores using Google’s Page Speed Insights.

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