With the Internet being composed of millions and millions of different websites that are accessed every day, it is of vital importance that these websites are well optimized and quick to load. Slow and unresponsive websites are prone to failure despite having good content. Also, issues and problems like cross browser incompatibility, not being mobile ready and having very slow loading times can result in viewership and popularity decrease.
This is where front-end optimization for websites comes in hand. Making sure that your website is well optimized and running quickly and smoothly ensures good user experience and makes your visitors not only frequently come back to your website but also makes them want to read and explore more of your content.
Making good website practices like having a clean and efficient code, compressed data, using a content delivery network, reducing the usage of external requests are some of the many important methods that you can implement to improve the performance of your website.
Optimizing your website and increasing the loading speed is also very important when it comes to search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is an extremely important aspect for any website or business. It makes your pages rank as high as possible on search engines which drives a lot of new traffic, visitors and customers towards your website. Never underestimate the power of good search engine optimization practices that can make or break a website or business. Front-end optimization will make sure that search engines crawl and index your website properly and quickly which can greatly increase your website rankings.
So let’s see which are the best and most efficient tips and tricks on how to properly optimize the front-end performance of your website. In the first part, we will cover the introduction as well as some tips on how to achieve best website optimization and performance. If you liked the article, please make sure you read the whole article in order to get the most information possible on this important topic. It turned out to be a long read, but it worth getting all the information if you want to do a really good job on front-end optimization of your website.
HTML Clean up and Tune up
Every single website is being founded upon the HTML language which is one of the most used backbone elements of every webpage. It allows for many important and useful features like headings, lists and comes in handy with webpage formatting. Many normative and unique features are being introduced with the latest HTML 5 web technologies.
Web crawlers and spiders are scripts that go through the HTML of your website and scrape important data and information. This is one of the main ways that search engines use to index and rank your website. Things such as making sure that the biggest search engines stay regularly and frequently updated with the content of your website is absolutely crucial for good search engine optimization.
This is why you have to make sure your HTML is written and formatted in a very effective and compact manner. There also are many great practices and tips that you should follow with your HTML documents to make sure that your resources are properly and effectively referenced.
It is also no longer needed to combine many different scripts in a single file. Web developers have used foul combining for a very long time in order to combine CSS scripts in a single file. This made it easy to reference your HTML code through one file instead of many different ones. Due to the advancements in the HTTP protocol, this practice is redundant.
If you wish to turn your HTML content into a compact and professional document, you most likely use cascading style sheets, or more commonly known as CSS. You should make it your priority to minimize the amount of big CSS files but still retaining all of your most important features. This is important because CSS uses HTTP requests that in turn slow down the loading times.
Your visitors will have to load many different files at the same time through their browser if your webpage locates the banner, plug-in and layout planks styles in different CSS files. This contributes to longer loading times and website clunking when these resources are externally loaded. Making sure that HTTP requests remain as low as possible can dramatically increase loading times.
Another outdated method which can lead to an un-optimized website is using the import directive for website style sheets. The best alternative for this method is using the link tag to improve the performance and the front-end optimization of your website.
Learning all the basic stuff behind web performance can greatly help you in understanding and implementing advanced methods to improve your website performance for site optimization.
Some additional tips and tricks for increasing CSS optimization and performance include disabling emoji’s by using code or a plug-in as well as disabling embeds which are not really needed.
Cache implementation through a caching mechanism is another important step for website optimization. This mechanism generates static HTML files that in turn speed up your website. You can use a caching plug-in like Cache Enabler to easily and quickly implement this method.
Minimizing the Amount of HTTP Requests
It is known that the biggest cause for slow loading times for websites is the amount of external HTTP requests. The speed and efficiency of loading times depends on many things including the server infrastructure of Internet hosting providers, geographical location and others. You can try using a minimalistic outlook when analyzing your external HTTP requests, as it is the key to improving website performance.
You should know your website inside and out and you should study and analyze each and every component and element of your webpages. Make sure to disable and eliminate every single unnecessary feature that does not directly improve the user experience for your visitors.
The best way to manage and optimize HTTP requests is to use content delivery network services, pre-fetching methods and compression tools. All of these will be explained in this series of articles.
You can minify your files in many ways, either by yourself or by using some of the great tools available online. You can use an online tool like CSScompressor.com which gives you the option of selecting several different levels of minification. It also tells you exactly how many bytes you saved with this process.
Next we will show you couple of tricks which will help you greatly increase the loading speed of your website and improve customer and user experience.
Above we covered the introduction to front end optimization as well as some very important tips and tricks that you need to implement in order to get the absolute most out of your website’s content.
Turn Pre-fetching On
The main examples for prefetching are linked prefetching, DNS prefetching and pre-rendering. The prefetching method is important for improving the browsing experience of your visitors by getting all the necessary data and resources before they are actually needed.
Content Delivery Networks and Caching
A content delivery network is a great way of improving the overall performance and the loading speed of your website. The static content of your website can be linked and preloaded to a wide range of server networks all around the world with the help of content delivery networks. If you have visitors coming to your website from all around the world, this type is absolutely crucial towards building a well optimized and fast website. There are various CDNs available on the market today, we recommend KeyCDN.
The content delivery network will load all the necessary data from the server that is geographically closest to the visitor that is trying to access the data. All of the static content including the website files will be automatically compressed to ensure the fastest possible rapid delivery all around the globe.
Apart from using a content delivery network to increase the speed and delivery of your websites assets, there are several other important tips and tricks to use for caching resources. One of those methods is leveraging browser caching.
Leverage browser caching can be implemented in your website by using the ’Expires’ header. This allows you to set custom time periods for file retrieval of cached files. The values for those time periods depend on how regularly they are required to change.
Some files like background website images don’t need to be changed once they have been set. This means that you can configure the leverage browser caching header to a big number like one year. But when it comes to website files like PDF documents that are probably modified and edited frequently and regularly, you will need to set the header to a much smaller number like a week or a month. Additional recommendations and tips for good browser caching include setting all expire headers to a minimum of one month as well as using a cache busting method for files that are cached locally. You can search online for more information about this topic.
Browser caching is very useful when it comes to increasing loading times by storing website files within an internal cache. You can use the configuration file of your origin server in order to enable and configure this particular method. If you wish to learn more about the many different cash method types, you can search online for more documentation and tutorials.
In case you’re not using a content delivery network or you want to compress certain files that cannot be uploaded to a content delivery network, you should think about using custom file compression in order to increase the performance of your website. These methods for file compression on your origin server can really increase the optimization of your website’s front-end.
Managing all your files, documents and content can be made very easy and simple by using file compression. The most popular method for compressing files on your website is by using gzip. You can use this software to shrink and compress images, audio files, documents and other big files that slowed down your website.
A new and unique method that is gaining in popularity is Brotli. This is an open sourced file compression algorithm that is being developed and updated by Google’s software engineers. It is one of the most efficient methods for file compression and features a great ratio of size reduction. It is very well possible that this method will very soon become the default algorithm for file compression.
Large images are one of the most common reasons for bad front-end optimization and slow loading times. Inexperience website developers that do not pay attention to optimization can have their website and their business damaged by un-optimized images. The rendering process of your website can really slow down because of huge photo albums, image galleries as well as high resolution images on your website.
High definition images are especially dangerous since when they are not optimized, they can have sizes up to several megabytes, thus greatly reducing the loading times on your webpages. The front-end performance of your website will be greatly improved if you manage to properly optimize these images.
A lot of unnecessary and redundant information is being stored for each and every individual image. Information such as dates, location, technical specifications for cameras and other necessary information needs to be eliminated. By using an image optimization tool like Optimus, you can delete all the unnecessary extra information and properly streamline the loading process of those images.
The images in your website will not lose their quality and the beauty because these optimization tools use a lossless image compression system. This means that while the size is reduced the quality of the image remain untouched. However, if you want to further optimize the size of images you can use lossy image compression tools that will greatly reduce the size of images but also reduce the quality.
Framework that is Minimalistic
The framework of your website is the backbone in one of the more important aspects of your website. Many amateur website developers make the mistake of using bad front-end framework which in turn results into bad front-end optimization. Choosing a quality front-end framework that has all the features and options necessary for your web project is an absolute necessity. Although you may not require all the features that a particular framework may provide, it is still very important to make sure that your websites framework is top-quality.
Some of the best options on the market when it comes to great minimalistic frameworks that are well optimized and provide fast loading times are Pure, Skeleton and Milligram. All of these options contain all the vital features and options that are necessary for any successful website. However, choosing a good framework is not the only step you need to watch out for when trying to create the best possible browsing experience for your visitors.
It is important to understand that a good and efficient framework will never be a proper replacement for good coding, proper web design and regular maintenance of the website. The framework is an allegory and it can be compared to a new empty house. And although the new house maybe clean and compact, you should make sure that you do not clutter up the house with all kinds of unnecessary and redundant furniture, decorations and home appliances.
Similarly, the website framework can be ruined by bad website practices, and redundant coding, unnecessary custom third-party plug-ins, large uncompressed images and a huge number of HTTP requests. It is your duty and responsibility to make sure that your website stays well optimized.
If you read both parts of this article, you will probably by now have a good idea on what the most important methods and most useful tips and tricks are when it comes to front-end optimization and minimizing the loading times of your website. And although proper front-end and website optimization may seem like a difficult and complicated task, if you implement everything that you learned from this article you’ll be absolutely fine.
Always have in mind that the less time it takes for visitors to load and visit your content, the more likely that those visitors will not only come back to your website but also explore more of your content. This benefits you as a website developer and your visitors as well.
Proper front-end optimization and fast loading times are also crucial for search engine optimization. Maximizing and improving your website’s rankings on search engines is a key factor towards bigger traffic and the growth of your website and business.