Loading A Website Fast

When we first started designing and developing websites, we used themes that had a lot of pre-built tools to construct websites. It was easy to construct our design because we already had the blocks assembled.

If you’re not familiar with website themes, it’s basically like assembling custom Ikea furniture. You can choose the different legs that fit onto your table, but you can’t add a fifth one unless you drill a hole in the table top. Your options are limited to the pre-assembled choices. It’s restrictive.

It can also add a lot of extra bulk to your website if you start trying to turn that Ikea table into a love seat. So now when we build our websites we build them from the ground up. That’s cool to us, but why does it matter to you? Why does it matter to our clients?

40% of people will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Additionally, 47% of people expect it to load in two seconds or less. The same way that if I take too long to explain my point, you’ll leave if you don’t get what you want fast enough.

So here’s the point: when we custom build websites you only load exactly what you need in order to see that page, and nothing more.

The end result is a faster website. You can make the prettiest site, with the coolest animations, but if it doesn’t load fast enough, no one will care. On top of knowing everything that goes into our websites, here are three things we do to put out the best product:

Compress images

Chances are what’s causing the longest load time to your website is big image files – especially on mobile phones. We start by compressing our images through a tool like TinyPNG or Compressor.io.

Conditionally loading scripts & styles

What are scripts and styles? Scripts create animations and responses to what the user does on your website. Styles make the website look pretty and not like a Wikipedia page. If you’re loading all of these for every page, you’re increasing the load time of your website.

Build custom

If you use a theme, chances are you don’t know everything that’s in it. Do you know everything that’s in that Sausage McMuffin? Exactly. When you make it yourself, know what you’re putting in and what you’re getting out of it. It’s not as hard as you may think. There are loads of online courses, like this one at Udemy and there’s free information out there too. Stack Overflow is a great place to learn from people’s questions and answers, or you can ask one yourself like I do.

Now I have to get back to work.