Technical Web Performance Metrics shown on a laptop screen
How to Simplify Technical Web Performance
Technical web performance is far too often overshadowed by SEO (search engine optimization) and conversion/user experience optimization. However, technical optimization is the driver of your website but is often left in the backseat when undertaking a full website optimization overhaul.

Go into 2020 with technical optimization behind the wheel to ensure a true encompassed web experience for your visitors.

How to Simplify Technical Web Performance

Understand Your Customers Across Every Interaction

If you run a website, you’ll understand the importance of keeping it fully optimized to attract traffic and generate sales or leads that lead to high conversion rates. 

If you don’t run a website, the encompassing aspects of web optimization are the marketing and technical aspects put in place that are necessary to acquire traffic. A positive user journey increases engagement, conversion and acquisition of customers.

Image of the user journey process with people walking up various stairs to different points in the online journey.
The user journey process

The fact of the matter is, there are so many aspects within the umbrella of web optimization that it often requires several professions and skills to ensure all web optimization actions are taken properly. 

Page speed, SEO, design and development are all key aspects of web optimization that create a consistent and contextual cross-channel experience that drives deeper customer engagement. 

Some key areas to monitor performance optimization include:

  • Visitor Profiles
  • Visitor Loading and Performance Timelines
  • Lighthouse Score and Progress Graphs
  • Asset Location Maps
  • Session Replay Video

Documenting and learning from this list of performance criteria is a crucial aspect of understanding your customers and their interactions. Use what you have learned to form new hypotheses and tests to crate actionable and shareable recommendations.

Optimized Customer Journey Based on Data

A seamless online customer experience that differentiates you from competing brands will create more effective digital engagement and interaction with customers. A lot of companies fail to retain customers on account of clumsy, unappealing and inefficient digital touchpoints. 

If the optimization task seems overwhelming at first, begin with one area to gather data. A great place to start testing the technical optimization of your website to mitigate the same issues others face is to monitor visitor loading and performance timelines. So today, we will briefly cover this performance criterion.

Visitor Loading and Performance Timelines

Monitoring site speed is a technical aspect of web optimization that ultimately ties into SEO. Visitors will abandon your website for many reasons, it is called bounce rate

Bounce rate is often attributed to the value of the content you are offering your visitors. Making sure your keywords are relevant to your site’s content is one aspect, but ensuring your site loads quickly is a major aspect that can attribute to high bounce rates.

Google estimates that 53% of visitors mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Considering the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, this can really cripple your performance ratings. 

Image of a website and a stopwatch to depict loading time.
Website loading times will hinder your sites performance

Far too often, site content is seen as the reasoning behind these high bounce rates, not the site loading time as it is more difficult to monitor without the proper tools that provide actionable insights.

For example, the BBC determined that their site was losing over 10% of traffic each second its pages took to properly load. 

Boosting page load times will decrease your site abandons and attribute to enhancing your SEO all without having to even tweak your content.

Thankfully, there are ways to automatically identify and easily understand what is slowing down your site’s speeds. Visitor loading and performance timelines can be monitored using visual records of what your page looks like while it is loading.

With a tool like Siteimprove, you can track user-centric performance metrics to provide better insights into your visitor’s experience as your site loads. 

Here is a breakdown of how it works:

First Contentful Paint (FCP): When the browser renders the first bit of content (e.g. text, an image, or page elements)

First Meaningful Paint (FMP): When the primary content loads (e.g. the main video, text, or image)

Time to Interactive (TTI): Time when visitors are able to perform an action

Combining these metrics in a performance chart with benchmark statistics outlining what points visitors are leaving your page helps make a definitive case as to why you should improve leading times of specific pages.

Image of graphs and charts to depict statistics.
Gathering data is crucial in assessing the pain points of your site

Many of our clients conclude that content is not the issue and have determined that site speeds are hindering their site traffic and conversion. 

Having completed hundreds of web projects, our data tells us that the following areas have significantly improved page speeds for our clients:

  • Offering a more appropriate hosting solution.
  • Reducing file size by compressing and combining common files to reduce requests.
  • Reducing DNS lookup time.
  • Ensuring both CSS and JavaScript load simultaneously.
  • Leveraging browser caching.
  • Minimizing image sizes.
  • Minimizing HTTP requests for the different parts of the page, like scripts, images, and CSS.

There are many aspects that go into a fully optimized website and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for the next part in our series as we highlight web optimization best practices that will guide you along on your journey towards website optimization.

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Ryan is a passionate storyteller who thrives on challenging the status quo. He is an avid researcher with a keen analytical mind able to strategize on sales and marketing decisions by analyzing data and behaviours across various industries and technologies.