Page Speed

Page speed is a measure of how fast a site loads and how it compares against various benchmarks. A faster loading site means the visitors to your site will have to wait less for the page to load and can affect visitor retention, engagement and conversion.

As fast as the blink of an eye1

This page tested out at 99%/100%/0.4s with one request as of 2015-04-10 at gtmetrix.com. It is running an up to date version of WordPress (4.1.1) with .htaccess based caching and minified inline css and no javascript analytic files. The .htaccess file has been modified to improve text compression and adds expire headers, cache control headers, Etags, Charset (set to UTF-8) and text/cache-manifest.

Removing the image and replacing it with a table reduced the page size by 21.3kb and 394ms, while still retaining the look of the page and the information contained within it. It also reduced the number of requests by one. Please see a discussion of how page speed was improved below the 500ms threshold, as the strategy had to be adjusted to achieve these marginally smaller gains.

Page Speed YSlow Page Size
99% 100% 19.1KB
Requests Dom Loaded Page Loaded
1 244ms 326ms

It is running on a shared server. The performance on this shared server is better than previously attained on high end WordPress optimized servers. However, for fine-tuned performance, you may still want to consider dedicated WordPress host such as WP Engine or Synthesis (http://websynthesis.com/). The good thing about an optimized website is that respectable page load times can still be achieved, even when on the opposite side of the globe. This can minimize the need for expensive infrastructure, while ensuring those in even hard to reach places can still easily access your webpage. In addition, there are significant gains in general when page load times go down worldwide. This page is also mobile friendly ready.

To optimize the page speed of a website, the following steps can be taken:

  1. Run the site through a page speed tester such as gtmetrix.com
  2. Take the recommendations, one by one, and rectify the problem, as indicated.
  3. Retest.
  4. Continue until the site has been optimized to satisfaction.

The following is a list of the steps indicated in the page speed test1:

  1. Specify image dimensions
  2. Serve scaled images
  3. Optimize images
  4. Combine images using CSS sprites
  5. Remove query strings from static resources
  6. Avoid a character set in the meta tag
  7. Specify a character set early
  8. Avoid bad requests
  9. Minimize redirects
  10. Minimize request size
  11. Serve resources from a consistent URL
  12. Specify a Vary:Accept-Encoding header
  13. Enable Keep-Alive
  14. Leverage browser caching
  15. Enable gzip compression
  16. Specify a cache validator
  17. Avoid landing page redirects
  18. Optimize the oder of styles and scripts
  19. Avoid CSS @import
  20. Put CSS in the document head
  21. Inline small CSS
  22. Inline small JavaScript
  23. Defer parsing of Javascript
  24. Prefer asynchronous resources
  25. Minify CSS
  26. Minify Javascript
  27. Minify HTML

1. As of June 2014

Comments

There are 27 items indicated in five sections: content, images, server, css, and js, each with level of priority. It takes about ten hours to work through the complete list at least once, to understand what all the different parts there. Some of the common items seem to be clustered around the images and the server. The image items can be dealt with by scaling them, optimizing them and specifying image dimensions. In addition, taking many of the small images (social media icons fall under this category) and combining them into a sprite can deal with the sprite recommendation.

Five of the server items are dealt with by a plugin that can be installed as part of a page speed overhaul. With this as well, it took about eight to ten hours to gather all the pieces together. The plugin is small, can be used to install the script and then discarded.

CSS, JS and HTML Minification can be handled with a minify plugin. As well, while doing this, the order in which the scripts are called can be fixed, if necessary. The content items will also be dealt with, as needed. For a fuller description, run your site through gtmetrix.com and inspect the results page.

If you are ready to proceed, please see the pricing page, and place an order.

1. The blink of an eye is stated to take between 300 and 400 milliseconds. I feel it is important to achieve speeds that mimic our natural processes. Slowing the web down by transmitting excessively large pages stresses people out. They lose interest. It is not just important from the standpoint of sales, but simply to create a more pleasant user experience.