Optimizing Your Website For Faster Load Times
By on March 22nd, 2009

Quite recently the Google Blog carried a story which included tips for webpage design, the one point that caught my eye was;

Tip #1: Pass the 8 second test. At first glance, a visitor should understand the purpose of your website within a few seconds. People are busy and have limited attention spans — you want to keep them from hitting the dreaded back button.

This rang some bells in my head and made me relook at how much time this website took to load for users, seeing the results left me unsatisfied, and I started out to do something which would grow readers and make them stay back.

I was successfully able to cut down the load times from about 12 seconds to under 3 seconds, and would like to share those tips with other webmasters who want to optimize their websites for faster load times.

With that, I am kicking off a new series of posts which will teach webmasters to optimize their website and increase their load times, as a part of the series I will be covering several topics, which include but are not limited to;

  • How to test website load times.
  • How to optimize and compress CSS files
  • How to optimize and compress JavaScript files.
  • How to GZIP content using Apache .htaccess files.
  • Dealing with unwanted things in a installation.
  • How to load content and images on demand.
  • How to make use of Google Hosted content for faster file serving.
  • And any other things readers suggest

As the last point says, I am open to reader suggestions and would love to hear what you want to add to the series, so don’t forget to comment and tell me your suggestions.

I plan to complete this series in the next two weeks, time permitting, however it may be more depending on the time I have and the content queue I have to write about, which is pretty high at this time.

To keep everything organized, all the content in this series will be tagged as so that users can find all the relevant content in one place.

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Author: Keith Dsouza Google Profile for Keith Dsouza
I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

Keith Dsouza has written and can be contacted at keith@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://alexandru.me Alexandru

    True words, but most of the times loading time depends on your users ISP
    For example, your first page loaded in arround 9-11 seconds ( i mean completly ) even for the second time.

  • http://www.blogaboutnothingatall.com Kai Lo

    Faster load time is so important. I try visiting my own blog from other computers, and the loading time is around 5 seconds. I look at it from other viewers point of view and I believe that is slow.

  • http://www.elutherie.org Robert Irizarry

    Another thing to consider when optimizing load times is a site’s initial response time. For example, take two sites that load in the same time but one takes a few seconds before it starts to render content. The one that shows content right away is more likely to keep a reader around – especially that new reader. If they’re engaged right away, they won’t perceive that there’s still rendering going on in further down the page.

    Among the things I’ve seen impact initial response time are too many redirects, certain plugins, JavaScript placed near the top of the page rather than down the page, etc.

    Testing is vital. You want to address individual components but you also want to take a holistic view as well. Certain components or configurations may behave well on their own but interact poorly with others.

 
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