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5 Ways of Making your Responsive Website Load Faster Published 23 August, 2019   Report Issue

5 Ways of Making your Responsive Website Load Faster

Having a website is not enough to generate sales and get traction online in the modern era. You need a responsive website design that works seamlessly across different devices. However, it still can be plagued by the problems affecting traditional websites such as slow loading times.

Studies show that a slow loading website will lead to an 11% drop in page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions. Besides, it is one of the most significant contributors to high bounce rates.

There are many reasons why your responsive website is slow, right from slow server load time, the number of redirects, to the size of your images.  The Google recommended page loading time is three seconds, but a majority of websites are nowhere near that threshold. 

In this article, we look at five tips to optimize your responsive website design.

Minimize HTTP Requests

According to a recent survey from Yahoo, 80% of a website’s loading time is spent downloading the various elements of a page such as images, scripts, and style sheets. Each of these elements requires an HTTP request. This means the more elements you have on a page, the slower they will take to load.

The first step should be in identifying the number of HTTP requests on every page. Most browsers will allow you to see the number of HTTP requests your page is making.

Minimize and Combine Files

HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files are important to your website, but they could be slowing down your website by increasing the number of HTTP requests. You can reduce them by combining and minimizing your files to reduce the size and number of files.

Minimizing also includes removing extra formatting, code, and whitespace in your pages.  Combining files, on the other hand, means that you combine several files into one. For example, you could combine your JavaScript and CSS files.

Use a CDN and Caching

A content delivery network (CDN) copies your site onto several servers around the world. This reduces the time it takes for the data’s travel time from the server to the visitor’s device. The CDN will also cache static content and present it to website visitors server near them.

You should also leverage browser caching to improve the website’s loading speed for repeat visitors. The files will be downloaded from the server onto the user’s device. By doing so, the files will load locally from the device instead of the device requesting them from an external server. However, this is dependent on the expiry date of the files.

Optimize Your Server Settings

Google recommends that the time to first byte (TTFB) should be at least 1.3 seconds or less. This refers to the longest delay before the device starts to download the page files after contacting the server. This means that a server delay will have a significant impact on your website’s loading speed.

The average website today has a TTFB of more than 2 seconds, and this is usually caused by shared hosting plans. Optimizing the following server settings can fix the issue;

  •      Using the latest version of PHP compatible with your website
  •      Ensure the ‘Keep-Alive’ setting stays switched on
  •      Set your website backups to complete at night
  •      Use HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)
  •      Enable HTTP/2
  •      Remove Non-Essential Plugins

Plugins can improve the functionality of your website but should be used only when necessary. However, you should think about using simple CSS before installing a plugin. Plugins take up a lot of memory and can strain the CPU thereby compromising load time. 

You should remove heavyweight plugins such as the JetPack and replace them with lightweight plugins whenever possible.

Conclusion

Slow responsive website design will undo the benefits of having a site accessible from a variety of devices. Users who leave a slow loading website hardly come back, and this eventually causes a drop in  SERP rankings.

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