8 Ways To Avoid Poor Website Performance

Today in business the name of the game is customer service. If you keep the customer happy then chances are good that your business will be successful. Now obviously in the digital age a website is the primary way that customers relate to your brand and service. We’ve all heard the stats on the rise of e-commerce and especially mobile commerce in the past decade. It goes without saying too that in order to please your customer your website needs to be in tip-top shape. After all, if you strolled into a brick-and-mortar business and found it be missing key merchandise and with little or no customer service, how long would you stick around? The same point applies to your website; it absolutely must be running as fast and efficiently as possible. Conversely, when a site is buggy visitors are going to vote with their fingers and “scroll” to the next place to do business, plain and simple.

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Industry experts suggest that downtime can cost as much as $7900 per minute. That’s a staggering $474,000/hour! Obviously, a down website results in lost time and money not to mention frustrated customers. You should aim for uptime 99.99% of the time.

In order to be mindful of the importance of continuous operations, let’s walk through 8 best practices that you should adopt in order to avoid poor website performance.

Check Your Web Hosting

When reviewing web performance one of the first things to check is your web hosting service. It’s surprising how many times this gets overlooked. Even though your provider may offer you unlimited bandwidth, does that mean shared service with other sites that ends up affecting your own web performance? Are you frequently experiencing downtime or bandwidth issues? If so, it’s worthwhile to review your hosting options to ensure you’re getting the most efficient service. Don’t be afraid to insist on 99.99% uptime.

Web Hosting

Make Your Site Mobile First

Given the prominence (and dominance!) of the mobile web, it’s critical to ensure that your website is mobile first. The paradigm of making desktop sites responsive for mobile devices must now be switched. The strategy should be to code for mobile users first and then progressively enhance the experience for tablets and desktops. Doing so will help reduce the number of unnecessary dependencies.

Image Optimization

Statistics show that customers tend to abandon a website that hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds. Images often account for most of the downloadable byte space on a web page. Therefore, any steps that can be taken to optimize your images will result in the biggest gains in terms of performance and speed. One of the best ways to ensure proper image optimization is to adopt correct sizing and formatting (JPEG, GIF, or PNG). The goal is ultimately to reduce the file size as much as possible without sacrificing quality and there are a number of tools on the web that can help with this. Another useful technique is to combine images into a single image file, thus reducing the number of HTTP request that are required to download the web page. This feature is implemented by using CSS image sprites. For a useful overview of image optimization techniques, see this article.

Try a CDN

A frequent recommendation for enhancing website performance, whether that be Drupal or any other CMS, is to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is described as “an interconnected system of cache servers that use geographical proximity as a criteria for delivering Web content.” In other words, a CDN offers a way of taking the static files of a website, like CSS, images, and JavaScript, and delivering them through web servers that are closer to the user’s physical location. Shorter proximity amounts to faster load time; some examples of CDNs are AWS CloudfrontFastly, or Cloudflare. But another benefit is that by offloading the bandwidth you also get less risk of downtime disruptions due to traffic volumes. Every way you look at it a CDN is a win-win for uptime.

CDN

Compress JavaScripts & Load Asynchronously

JavaScript is a big part of web development today and increasingly websites rely on this code to run as efficiently as possible. One trick is to compress your JavaScript files. Doing so will remove extra spaces to shrink file size and ultimately improve load time. Another strategy is to think about loading any of your third party JavaScripts asynchronously. Websites today are increasingly integrated with third party content: social media, chat features, commenting services, information feeds, and others. So if you load async then in the event the third-party crashes, your page won’t be held up trying to load that resource. Async loading can also speed up page loads.

Improve DNS

Domain Name System, or DNS, is an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. DNS is often overlooked, since it’s an attribute of your website host. But it shouldn’t be ignored because if DNS is down then your site won’t work. It would be worthwhile to check with your host about upgrading from standard to premium DNS services to ensure an automatic failover to other servers on the network if the closest server goes down.

Build Redundancy into Your Website

Another step to take in guaranteeing continual uptime is to invest in a DDoS mitigation platform. This kind of service can optimize and scale up your infrastructure if you experience a DDOS (distributed denial of service attack). The way it works is by redirecting your web traffic to the platform server farms so that your site keeps on running inspite of being under attack.

Adopt Cloud-Based Website Monitoring

No technique for optimizing your uptime is as powerful as that of a quality website monitoring service. It’s impossible to manually do this, but thanks to the cloud there are services now available that will keep metrics on your site 24/7.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a monitoring service keeping an eye on your site for you? How about having a service notify you of any downtime events that are in progress instead of discovering it too late? Better yet, what about knowing in advance when there’s a performance drop so you can save the sales you would otherwise lose from downtime?

Cloud-Based Website Monitoring

These are exactly the benefits you get when you try a 24/7 monitoring service like Monitis. With its first-class global service, Monitis allows organizations to monitor their network anytime and from anywhere. For instant, with Monitis you can tell when your hosting service goes down, accompanied by timely notifications (via everything from live phone messages, to texts, to email and Twitter). Or you can load test your website to determine at what point it starts creating traffic issues.

By keeping your website and applications running smoothly and more effectively, Monitis alleviates the stress and helps you focus on running your business. If you’re serious about website monitoring, then go on over to Monitis today and start a free trial. Once you see the benefits of the Monitis monitoring platform, you’ll be glad you did!

This article has been contributed by Jeffrey Walker.

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