Say you have a website that is loading slowly, regardless of what browser you are using. Step one is review the website’s waterfall diagram.
Steve Sounders has written a number of articles and a book on performance tuning websites. He analyzed the top 10 U.S. websites, in terms of traffic, and found that 20% of response time is the server sending the data to the client. The remaining 80% is spent dealing with the front-end, i.e. what was sent by the server. So, start there. There are big opportunities for improvement.
I recently worked with a marketing firm that used a parallax design for what should have been a small website. But, they included a Google map with 34 markers. The waterfall diagram shows a whopping 266 http request for loading the website, most are for googleapis.com. The map has no zoom or street view capabilities. A static map would have sufficed.
The waterfall diagram is crucial in figuring out where your website can be streamlined for speed. A couple of things to consider:
- Reduce the number of http requests.
- Use asynchronous scripts.
- Optimize your htaccess file to reduce disk reads.
- Use a CDN, content delivery network.
- Put style sheets at the top and scripts at the bottom.
- Optimize images and sprite images wherever feasible.
Simple changes can give big results.