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Web Optimization: Getting Your Site to Load Quicker

by recycler on June 1, 2012

Make Site Load Quicker

Why should a car dealership care about the load time of the page? It may not seem like a big deal, but it is something that definitely should be addressed by all dealerships.

Do you really know how quickly your site loads? Test it out right now with Pingdom Tools. Go ahead…right now! Normal page load time is 3-4 seconds. Ideal load time is between 2-3 seconds. (If you want an even more thorough look at your page load times, try out Google Analytics’ Site Speed report.)

A quick-loading website will keep potential customers on the site and will also help with search engine rankings because page-load time is considered by search engines. More importantly is the adverse effect a poor-loading site could have on customer retention, so here are some backend tips that can help make sure your website loads quickly and keeps potential buyers happy.

Host Images, Script Separately: By separating your web components like images, graphics, Javascripts, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), etc. you can assure better server stability if you ever have a large traffic spike. You can also off-load the components by using web services to host the assets freeing up the server to mainly do the PHP processing. For example, instead of hosting all your images, you can use a web service like Flickr.

Optimizing Images: Speaking of images, they can be one of the biggest server burdens because they can use up huge amounts of bandwidths. Optimize images in an image editing program or through a site like Smush.it. If you try to optimize in a website creation program, the image will likely just be rescaled in visual size but not actually in file size. Not only does the browser still have the full file to upload, but also it has to do the rescaling on the fly, creating even more work (and therefore load time).

Minimize Redirects: Redirects have their purpose, but the more redirects you have the more load time a page is going to have. Eliminate all the unnecessary redirects that you can.

Compression: Contents (data, images, script, etc.) travel from server side to client side whenever a web request is made. Compressing the content being sent can greatly reduce the process and load time. One great way to do this is with GZip.

Combine/Merge/Compress Javascript or CSS Files: It’s plain and simple. The more Javascript or CSS files you have, the more HTTP request is going to be made and therefore, the more load time needed. Try out Minify — it “combines multiple CSS or Javascript files, removes unnecessary whitespace and comments, and serves them with gzip encoding and optimal client-side cache headers.”

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