Boost Your Success with Our Website Performance Checklist

In this complete website performance checklist, we’ll explore some essential steps to supercharge your website’s speed, responsiveness and overall performance.

And with attention spans shorter than ever, a poorly optimised website is detrimental to your success, as users expect a flawless UX and search engines reward websites that meet these expectations. 

Website SEO Performance Checklist

Our Website Performance Checklist

By implementing the strategies and techniques outlined in this checklist, you’ll enhance your website’s speed, responsiveness and overall performance:

1. Conduct a Website Speed Audit

A speedy website is the foundation of any great user experience. Begin by assessing your website’s current speed with tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix or Pingdom. These resources will provide you with valuable insights on areas for improvement such as caching, server response time, image optimisation and code minification.

2. Optimise Image Files

According to Content Marketing Institute, images can ‘make your content more accessible and attractive’  to users, however, they can slow your site down if they’re not optimised correctly. They go on to discuss that you should compress your images without compromising their quality, where possible (consider next-gen formats like WebP or JPEG 2000 for better compression). Additionally, you can leverage lazy loading techniques to ensure that images load only when they appear in the viewport, reducing initial load time.

3. Implement Browser Caching

Leverage browser caching to reduce server load and improve page load speed for returning visitors. Set appropriate cache expiration headers to enable browsers to store certain static resources like images, CSS and JavaScript files locally. This way, the browser won’t have to fetch these resources every time a user visits your site, resulting in faster load times and reduced bandwidth consumption.

4. Minify CSS and JavaScript

Large CSS and JavaScript files can significantly impact your website’s performance. Seek to minify and concatenate these files to reduce their size and the number of HTTP requests needed for loading. Leverage tools like UglifyJS and CSSNano to remove unnecessary characters, comments and whitespace, making your files leaner and faster to load.

5. Optimise Your Hosting Environment

Choosing the right hosting provider is crucial for a high-performing website, so opt for a hosting plan that offers sufficient server resources, robust security features and reliable uptime. Consider upgrading to a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute your website’s assets across multiple servers worldwide, reducing latency and improving response times.

6. Enable GZIP Compression

In a recent article, Hubspot point out that that compressing your website’s files using GZIP can significantly reduce the size of data transferred between the server and the user’s browser; in other words you can decrease file sizes without losing any data integrity. This technique can dramatically improve load times, especially for text-based files like HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

7. Optimise Your Code

Clean and efficient code is essential for optimal performance, so seek to eliminate anything unnecessary, including unused CSS classes and JavaScript functions. Use minification tools to remove whitespace and comments, therefore reducing file sizes and improving load times. Regularly update and optimise your CMS, plugins and themes to ensure compatibility and performance improvements.

8. Implement Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

A CDN is a geographically distributed network of servers that stores and delivers website content to users based on their location. By caching static assets and distributing them across various servers, CDNs reduce latency and provide faster content delivery. Consider using popular CDNs like Cloudflare, Amazon CloudFront or Akamai to boost your website’s performance globally.

9. Mobile Optimisation

With the ever-increasing number of mobile users, optimising your website for mobile devices is no longer an option but a necessity. Implement responsive design techniques to ensure that your website adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes and resolutions. Moreover, you should optimise images and use media queries to deliver appropriately sized assets. Look to minimise the use of pop-ups and interstitials that can disrupt the user experience on smaller screens, conducting regular testing on mobile devices to identify and address any performance issues.

10. Prioritise Above-the-Fold Content

When a user lands on your website, the content above the fold – the portion visible without scrolling – should load quickly and be optimised for speed. Prioritise the loading of critical elements such as headline, main content and primary call-to-action buttons. By ensuring a fast and engaging experience from the start, you increase the likelihood of user engagement and conversion.

11. Implement Caching Mechanisms

Utilise caching mechanisms to store and serve static content efficiently. Implement browser caching, as mentioned earlier and explore server-side caching options like Redis or Memcached. Caching helps reduce server load and speeds up subsequent visits by serving pre-rendered content, resulting in faster page load times.

12. Monitor Website Performance

Regularly monitor your website’s performance using tools like Google Analytics or third-party monitoring services. Track key performance indicators like page load time, bounce rate and conversion rates. Set up alerts to notify you of any significant performance drops or issues that may arise, allowing you to address them promptly.

13. Optimise Database Performance

If your website relies on a database, optimising its performance is crucial. Regularly optimise and clean up your database by removing unnecessary data, optimising queries and indexing frequently accessed columns. This helps reduce query time and improves overall website performance.

14. Implement Content Delivery Optimisation

Optimise the delivery of your website’s content by utilising techniques such as lazy loading, content preloading and asynchronous loading of non-critical scripts. As Wordstream reveal, lazy loading delays the loading of images and other non-essential elements until they are visible on the user’s screen, reducing initial page load times. Content preloading loads important resources in advance, ensuring a smoother browsing experience.

15. Test and Optimise Third-Party Scripts

Evaluate the impact of third-party scripts, such as analytics trackers, social media widgets and advertising tags on your website’s performance. While these scripts can provide valuable functionality, they can also introduce delays and damage performance. Assess the necessity of each script and optimise their implementation by loading them asynchronously or deferring their execution until after the page has loaded.

16. Regularly Update and Optimise CMS and Plugins

If your website is built on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal, ensure that both the CMS core and installed plugins or extensions are up to date. Updates often include performance improvements, bug fixes, and security patches. Additionally, regularly audit your plugins and remove any unnecessary or outdated ones that may impact your website’s performance negatively.

17. Implement SSL and HTTPS

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption and the use of HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) not only enhance website security but also positively impact search engine rankings. Evidencing this is the fact that in 2022, 92.2% of the top 1 million websites used HTTPS – a significant increase from 2016, when only 54.7% of the top 1 million websites used it. Therefore, by implementing SSL certificates on your website to encrypt data transmissions, you can ensure a safer browsing experience for your visitors.

The Key Message

By following this comprehensive website performance checklist, you’ll be able to optimise your site for speed, responsiveness and user engagement. Take the time to evaluate your pages, make the necessary optimisations and enjoy the benefits of a fast, reliable and high-performing website.

Saturate can help you fulfil these steps with our wide range of digital marketing services. Give us a call and receive a free 30 minute consultation that’ll help to propel your business to the top of the SERPs in no time.

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