Optimize your website for the holiday season

Just make your website faster

Why don’t you take 5 minutes and make your website faster – go ahead, I’ll wait.

It’s tougher than it looks, isn’t it? It’s not always clear where to start or what is making your website slow.

Let’s break it down

Each time somebody visits your website, the browser requests the necessary resources from your web server to load the page. Imagine your website’s HTML, CSS, javascript, images, video, etc., traveling along a highway from your web server to their browser. Like a real highway, the lanes on the road are limited, and there are (likely) a lot more resources traveling along that roadway than the browser can handle. This can slow things down… a lot.

You’ve probably noticed your website or other websites you browse load slowly before. You have to wait for images or text to appear, and it seems to take forever. This is because those assets are caught in a traffic jam, but there are a few things you can do about it to stop this from happening on your website.

Create more lanes

You know that “HTTP” that appears before your domain name in the URL bar? That is the protocol that enables websites to function, it also is what determines how many lanes your highway has. There’s a new version “http2” and it allows for many more lanes, which means that web browsers can download more assets at a time, which will in turn make your website load faster.

If you use an ecommerce service like Shopify or Squarespace, you already have this feature. If you have a custom Magento or WordPress website, you may not – it’s worth checking with your developers or webshop to enable this.

More lanes aren’t always the answer.

So now you’ve upgraded your domain to take advantage of http2, and sure the site does load faster, but let’s get it loading even faster.

If you use a template, I’d be willing to bet that there are a lot of features you don’t use. It’s oftentimes the case that commercially available templates are built for looks rather than speed, and older templates can be out of date and not include the latest best practices when it comes to keep a site loading quickly.

Sometimes you can upgrade templates or add basic functionality that will decrease page load times, and sometimes you need to call your developer and have them work their magic.

Now we are at the point where you need to get your developer involved. There are a few pieces of low hanging fruit that you can have your dev work on in short order to increase your page speed and save the holiday season from certain disasters.

Here are some options:

Hopefully this article is helpful for you to get a sense of what kind of work goes into making your site fast, and conversely what makes your site slow. Most of this work requires your web developer to get involved, but the result will be a faster site that helps your users accomplish their goals faster, which means happier customers and higher profits.

View of a highway with no cars on it in first person perspective with snow capped mountains in the distance