Speeding up a website loading walkthrough - part 1

Speed of a website is one of the most important factors for its success in the ocean of billions of others on the Internet. We, users, want informations faster and faster and every website owner needs to respect that to stay visible. In the past, we were able to wait a minute for a website to load. Today, we close the tab or hit the back button after only several seconds of waiting.

We want to share a story of, a website we have created several years ago and now is the time to update the core to match its performance to today’s requirements.

What is the project we are dealing with? It’s an informative portal about all things banking and personal finances. So we can expect:

  • huge amount of pages and URLs

  • many and many pictures throughout the website,

  • probably obsolete, no longer used functions.

Measuring the speed

Before any action, let’s check the exact current state.

The results are bad. Google Insight shows the homepage has a score 31 of 100 for mobile devices.

Google Insight is a global measurement, now we dig in for specifics.

  • Loading of HTML documents is fast.

  • Fetching basic resources, such as CSS and JavaScript not so much - this we can work on.

  • Pictures are as JPG and PNG and are loading all at once - definitely deserve automatic conversion to smaller WEBP files and so called “lazy loading”.

  • Many external sources that are fetched right after page is loaded and add to the bad score, such as analytic tools and ads - let’s see if we can reduce it since they make the most of loading time.

Not every page of the website is the same as others, but all these data are mostly the same through the entire portal.

Targeting results

The goal here is to optimize the website to better perform in speed / speed tests and therefore in SEO. Optimization will be done with modern methods, that weren’t realistically possible back when we created the website and to adjust to handle the current content with visitors, which is both changing and growing.

This is going to be a three-part series with used methods and final measurements.