These days, the speed of your website matters more than ever. Video and high-res photography is everywhere, increasing the total size of the average website, even as more and more web traffic moves to mobile devices on slow or unreliable data connections. This Pingdom report claims that the size of the average web page went from 2.5 megabytes in 2016 to 3.4 megabytes in 2017. That’s a 38% increase. The same report demonstrates the relationship between page speed and user experience: the longer your page takes to load, the more likely users are to leave before it finishes. Those users aren’t reading your ideas, they aren’t applying for your job openings, and they’re definitely not clicking on your ads or buying your products.
Adding insult to injury, slow websites are about to take a hit in their Google search rankings thanks to Google’s “Speed Update”. Google’s always favored fast websites over slow ones, all else being equal, but starting in July 2018 that effort will ramp up and broaden to mobile search results as well.
We use a couple different tools to measure performance. First, we use Google PageSpeed Insights to make sure we’re using general best practices. Then we get into the nitty gritty with a Lighthouse audit, also by Google. Every website is different, and high performance always requires some kind of trade-off, so we’ll work with you to make some hard choices about where to prioritize speed if it comes at the expense of a particular feature or effect. Finally, we offer automated performance monitoring through Pingdom. Pingdom will periodically crawl your site to make sure that your performance is where it needs to be.
Making fast websites can be complicated, so we make it easy. We minify and concatenate the files your site needs, so we can make fewer requests for smaller files. We make sure that your users aren’t sitting at a blank screen waiting for the whole page to load by loading the important stuff first and deferring the rest. Lazy loading your beautiful high-res photos means they only load when they’re in view, and automatic image compression makes sure the image files are as small as possible without losing quality. For your videos, we load the video asynchronously and play it when it’s ready.
If you host with us on Pantheon, you’ll get the benefit of their server-side caching and their worldwide content distribution network, or CDN. Using a CDN means that, wherever your users are in the world, their browser can download the files it needs to display your site from a nearby server. Server caching saves us from having to re-run database queries, and well-configured browser caching means that your users don’t have to download images and files over and over again as they navigate through your site.
Finally, our strategy-first development process lets us build your site from the ground up, starting with your business needs. We’ll design the back end of your site around your content and your data so that your users can do everything they need to do without fighting through inefficient queries and bloated databases.