Optimizing For Site Loading Times
When the Internet was first introduced to the world, it was nothing more than a selection of webpages containing basic information, with access normally being given over a dial-up connection. This process is now seen as something from a bygone era, especially with the introduction of lightning-fast Internet connections and devices that can handle a multitude of processes in one sitting.
(Image Source: http://home.cern/images/2014/02/robert-cailliau-web-pioneer)
As such, the online community demand results when they’re browsing the Internet. Many use the World Wide Web as part of the daily routine, so expect websites to be able to display information instantly. Many website owners recognize the importance of a website that loads quickly, and often look for ways to offer their visitors a seamless browsing experience while ensuring that the website is robust and secure.
Many webmasters have opted for shared hosting in the past, as it offered a cost-effective solution which for the most part, was robust enough to handle a steady stream of visitors without being a burden financially.
The drawback with shared hosting is that as the server space is shared with other users, another website could suffer if another user suddenly had an influx of visitors. This would result in a website that would suffer from slow loading times, and in some instances, downtime of a website.
A cloud server eliminates this hindrance, as the website isn’t based within a single server, rather it draws on multiple services and connected servers that comprise a cloud, thus offering a more robust and seamless browsing experience. However, it is still important that cloud startups are able to optimize the site to ensure loading times are kept to a minimum.
Optimizing a Website on Cloud Sites
The optimization of a website is something that should be ongoing, whether it’s for search engine optimization purposes, or to ensure that all pages are loading quickly. Media is a big driving force behind the popularity of website nowadays, and you’d be hard-pushed to find a website that doesn’t contain some kind of media attachment such as a picture or video.
(CDN Example Benchmark Testing By cedexis.com)
Files that are held in one location can cause a webpage to load slowly, depending on a number of factors, such as geographical location and the current visitor count. A content delivery network (CDN) ensures that media files are sourced from servers nearby the visitor’s location, ensuring a speedy download of anything media-related.
There are a number of options available when it comes to hosting a website, but those with access to a web designer will more than likely opt for a completely original website. While this is to be encouraged, it is still important that a bespoke website is coded correctly, regardless of the platform it will be hosted on.
Ensuring the number of file system operations is reduced, and that database queries are optimized means there is less work going on behind the scenes, which will result in a website that will perform and scale as expected.
Very few websites have a set number of visitors each day, but it’s still important to monitor traffic, as a sudden spike of traffic could mean your website is a little overwhelmed if the correct steps haven’t been taken. Monitoring traffic is important, as it allows you to converse with your service provider to help ensure the website is robust enough to deal with a sudden traffic spike, meaning that new visitors are converted into return visitors, as opposed to a high bounce ratio.
While cloud startups have the benefit of a hosting platform that works in their favor, it can do some of the work. Those behind the website still need to ensure that the necessary tweaks are made in order to offer their visitors a faultless browsing experience, slow-loading times can have the following detrimental effects.
- Loss of traffic
- Unforeseen downtime
- Negative search rankings
- Reduced sales conversions
There is no made-for-all solution when it comes to optimizing a website for speed, and while instilling a cloud platform is a good start, every cloud startup should ensure that they have an optimization plan in place to help make the necessary tweaks to ensure the website and the business behind it is a success. Even a site that takes a couple of seconds longer to load could mean you lose a whole new demographic of visitors, and potential customers. A few of the CloudTweaks readers favorite speed optimization tools are pingdom tools, gtmetrix, webpagetest.org as well as Google PageSpeed insights. These should help you on your way.
A website that is able to deal with visitors promptly while still being able to deliver aesthetically-pleasing visuals and engaging content is ready to face the online community with its head held high.
By Paul Simpson