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What Are the Different Ways to Improve Website Performance?

Many companies provide services that can track and analyze your website's traffic.
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  • Written By: Rodney A. Crater
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2014
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There are a number of different ways that website performance can be improved. This includes how the website is hosted, the load caused by unnecessary integrated media, and changing the way the pages are coded. Other improvements require direct access to the website host's server and network. The hosting environment, database integration, off-site media integration, graphics and multimedia additions, and webpage construction should be examined in that order. Ideally these issues should be dealt with when the website is first built, but dealing with these issues after the fact, while possibly time consuming, will dramatically improve website performance.

The hosting environment or service can play a major role in how fast web pages are delivered. Not all hosting services are alike, and many offer differing levels of performance at different price rates. When choosing an outsourced platform for a website, it is wise to make sure the best user webpage access speeds are obtained. If a developer has the option of choosing a local or remote hosting server, they should use a server with an operating system which allows all graphical user interfaces (GUI) to be turned off. Running a GUI interface on an operating system loads the server processors down so heavily that they may have difficulty finding enough time to properly preform webpage serving duties.

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Databases are used in conjunction with webpages to allow up-to-date information, user customization, back-end inventory and sales control, and the utilization of other variable or time sensitive types of information. Factors that can cause slow downs when using databases include improperly created tables and associations, poorly constructed queries, inefficient query languages, bloated database management systems, and nominal connections between databases and web servers. It is always best to avoid any program or server operating system that promotes itself as “easy”. The best speed efficiency is realized by properly learning and using proven, steadfast languages, software, and operating systems which do not have lots of visual enhancements.

Website performance will often lag due to improper incorporation of banners, ads, or other click-through type products and overworked or non-responding sources. If this content is necessary or if it is a required by contract or policy, the designer should make sure that the companies providing content have a guarantee regarding assured delivery and quick response time. This type of media should be coded with predetermined place holders in order to load itself into the browser last.

Flashy multimedia platform files can also hinder website performance. This type of addition or other similar plug-ins should be avoided if possible to improve speed. The purpose of your website should be based on the purpose of your business or personal need, and not serve as a showcase for all of the developer's skills.

There are many web design products which create excessively burdensome and poorly coded webpages. Designers should learn to hand-code Standard HyperText Markup Language (HTML) variants, cascading style sheets, JavaScript, and work with well-compressed web-safe graphics in order to achieve maximum website performance. Designers may also wish to investigate Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) scripting and the Structured Query Language (SQL) in order to improve response time and integration efficiency.

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clintflint
Post 3

@ana1234 - Another good point is to make sure you get input from a wide range of demographics when designing your website. Even if you don't think they are going to end up using your site very often, they might be able to point out a flaw that you didn't notice.

Just getting as many trial users on your site as possible is a good idea. Watch how they interact with it and how easily they manage to achieve what they want to achieve.

And if you can, try to get information from different countries as well. All too often I'll end up on a site that's tailored solely for the US or for the UK and completely misses out on another portion of the English speaking world because they haven't considered them in the design of the website.

Ana1234
Post 2

@Fa5t3r - That goes for handheld devices and touchscreens as well. If your website isn't going to work well in those conditions you need to either fix it or at least provide people with an app specific to whatever you are providing so they can get it some other way.

There are very few demographics these days that don't use some kind of handheld device to access the internet at least occasionally.

Fa5t3r
Post 1

One thing I would encourage every developer to do is to make sure your site is going to run well on different browsers. It really annoys me when, in this day and age, I can't go to a website or use all it's functionality because I'm using the wrong browser.

Whether or not you agree with someone's choice of browser, shouldn't matter and you should cater to all of them. People get attached to one type where they have installed all the options they prefer and it can be very annoying to have to switch. They might just not bother.

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