How we got 100% in the Google PageSpeed Insights
Recently, we thought it would be a good idea to redesign our Poole Software Limited website. Given that on average, a user will only wait about five seconds for a website to open, before they give up and move on, - the new website had to load quickly. Of course, when the new website was ready, it yielded an impressive 100% for desktop and 99% for mobile (see below). That is quite a good result by anybody’s standards, including Google’s own standards.
So how did we achieve it then?
The first thing to mention here is that we do not use an off-the-shelf Content Management System (CMS) to power our new website. A CMS has its uses and they are many, but one thing many Content Management Systems are not extremely good at, is blinding speed when loading a page. A CMS has many moving parts (modules, add-ons, etc.) that add to the overall page loading time. A more detailed blog post is coming explaining all the reasons why a CMS is not best if you are looking for speed, but for now, one of the reasons why we achieved our results was the absence of a CMS. You may need a CMS to manage your website content without a developer, and so for you there may not be a way round it, which case, choosing the right CMS is paramount.
The second reason is that we did not overload the “Home Page” with loads and loads of images and videos. Lately, I see more and more sites playing videos on their Home Page. It may look cool, once the page “eventually” loads of course, but you are potentially losing customers because they do not want to wait that long. Time is very much of the essence in today’s world, and people will not waste it on slow loading websites. The statistics show it. So, keep the Home Page light and put on it only the overall main summary about what your company does and the services it offers. Then provide clear and prominent links for the user to dig for more information if they wish to. You have to be weary of the Search Engine Optimisation or Optimization (if you like) (SEO) when choosing what content, you put on the Home Page. So, chose well.
Use Good and Up-to-date Technology
The technology you use for your website is very important. Much work has been done in recent years to bring to the market new technologies that are more performant and resilient. If in today’s day and age, you go back and choose to use a technology that needs loads of props and braces to make it compatible with the latest browsers and servers, then you are burying yourself. There loads of frameworks that make things simpler and quicker. As far as web development is concerned, the wheel has been very much invented already. On our website we used the latest version available of ASP.NET Core MVC. The framework is new and heavily optimized for the latest web environment. The data sent to and from the client is kept to a minimum, which helps with speed. Make sure you chose the technology wisely.
The Hosting Provider Matters
We host it on the Microsoft Azure cloud and there are some very good reasons for that. The first reason is that we can chose the region where we want our website hosted. So, we chose UK as the region. That means the website is near the customers that we are targeting, which is mainly the UK market. Many people try to save on hosting costs by searching online for the cheapest hosting provider. Of course, they will find some $5 per month hosting provider somewhere in the US, which means if a UK customer accesses the site, the traffic has to travel some distance to get to that user. That is false economy. The Microsoft Azure Cloud provides great infrastructure and security is pretty much built-in. It just makes sense. And since we are very good with the Microsoft Azure Cloud, it was no bother for us.
Use Best Practices
When we develop a bespoke website or web application, we do it with the awareness of the latest industry best-practices in mind. Things like “Bundling and Minification”. It is very important to enable them so that you increase the page loading speed. Maybe use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). There are many tricks which must be implemented to ensure the website is nice and quick. But not only that, it is also kind on your user’s mobile data allowance if they access your website via a smart phone.
It is important to get it right when developing your new website today. You need to make sure you chose the right people to do it for you if you are not confident to do it yourself. There are so many tools and platforms that will make a website for you. And it will look nice. But just like when you buy a car, you just have to look under the bonnet, don’t you? It may look nice, but will it get you home?