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5 helpful tips to reduce webpage load time, improve performance

Nobody wants to wait for a webpage to load. Follow these tips to reduce website load time and improve the user experience for a better online persona.

A website often serves as the first interaction between a prospective customer and a business. The adage "you can only make one first impression" rings true when a user sees a company homepage.

With that said, it's important that an organization maintains a web presence that's easily searchable, navigable, fast and performs well even under a high load. But what exactly is a barometer for strong webpage load time?

A webpage consists of many different elements, such as text, images, video or interactive chat bots. When it comes to webpage speed, an organization needs to specify what it considers to be strong performance metrics, and how to solve problems when they arise.

Let's examine some helpful tips to reduce webpage load time and how an organization can make a strong first impression with its user-facing website.

6 metrics to monitor

Webpage performance is directly related to organizational success. If a website fails, it instantly turns away potential customers. An organization must use quantifiable metrics to manage webpage performance.

Here are six website performance metrics to monitor for webpage success:

  • Above the fold rendering;
  • Webpage finally interactive time;
  • Time to first byte;
  • Server response time;
  • Document Object Model (DOM) loading and processing; and
  • Webpage fully loaded time.

3 website performance issues to fix

While most modern framework technologies are complex, most performance issues boil down to three key categories:

  • Excessive page weight
  • JavaScript issues
  • Excessive DOM traversals

Once an organizations identify these performance issues, it's just as important that they know how to fix them.

Improve UX with reduced page weight

Page weight issues largely stem from images and too much content below the fold. Images that are oversized with excessive resolution can hinder download speed. If development teams built their site to respond to mobile, tablet or desktop requests, consider moving the response generation to the server. 

Another easy fix for page weight issues is to move the common CSS file off the homepage. When a website homepage contains the entire style.css file, it takes up time and space. Instead, use inline styles to reduce webpage load time on the home page and improve the initial user experience.

Fix JavaScript issues for a faster site

Development teams can also easily solve JavaScript issues with a few changes. First, if programmers can reduce the amount of processing that occurs during an onReady event, it can significantly improve webpage responsiveness. Another option is to add a "defer" attribute to all HTML script tags on a page. This allows a user to view static elements of the page first while JavaScript resources download in the background.

Developers should also avoid the JavaScript var keyword. JavaScript variables declared with the var keyword are globally scoped throughout the page and maintained in memory for the lifecycle of the page. However, if a developer uses the let keyword instead, it applies a block scope and the variable will be removed from memory after the block executes.

Reduce the DOM to optimize CSS

Issues with DOM traversals can also be addressed in several ways. One easy way webpage developers can solve DOM problems is to use inline styles. Another, albeit more involved way to solve the DOM problem is to redesign webpages to use the WebComponents framework to allow for more modular and isolated stylings.

If a developer splits up a CSS file, it can also reduce the DOM size. Whether the CSS file is split, shrunk or divided into multiple, smaller files, each option reduces the number of DOM elements in the HTML and helps improve webpage load time.

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