Visitors to your site aren’t going to stick around and wait for a page to load. You have mere seconds to give them what they’re looking for or they’ll go check out your competition. Website performance doesn’t get as much attention as design or user experience, but it can make or break a company. This is why speed testing and load testing are so critical.
1) Load test on a regular basis
Load testing shows how your site performs with a certain number of visitors. If the load test shows that you can handle more users than expected without a significant increase in page load time, then you’re ready for anything. If it doesn’t, you’ll know that you need to make some changes.
Load test for higher traffic that your most optimistic sales projections predict so you can be ready for unexpected success. As the company grows, you’ll need to repeat load testing to ensure you’re ready for the increase in users. There are a variety of load testing tools that you can you in order to run an effective test including Apache’s JMeter, LoadView, and LoadImpact.
2) Don’t skip stress testing
We all dream of viral success. A celebrity endorsement, positive press coverage, or widespread word of mouth can double or triple your site traffic. Or more. All that good publicity will be for nothing if your site crashes when the world comes knocking at your door.
There are two ways to find out if your site can handle an increase in traffic. The first way is to wait for it to crash on Cyber Monday, or right after a product launch. The second way is to stress test the site so you can avoid disasters in the first place.
Stress testing will show how much traffic it takes to bring down your site. It should take an improbably high volume of visits to cause a crash.
3) Think twice before using images
Images can be extremely effective, but make sure that your site doesn’t have too much of a good thing. Images take time to load, so make sure you’re not using them where text will do the job just as well. If your load testing shows a greater page load time than you’d like, small changes to site design can bring the needed improvements.
4) Avoid sloppy HTML
Your developers know to make their code as elegant as possible to minimize load times. But your business users may copy and paste content from word processing programs, bringing along excess code that they didn’t even know was there. Teach them to paste the copy into a basic text editor to strip out all formatting. Text copied and pasted from the text editor will result in much cleaner HTML.
5) Fight for Net Neutrality
If the FCC overturns their Open Internet Rules (as they’re currently considering), your site may face slower load times than your competitors. All your hard work ensuring website performance will be undone if this happens. Leave a comment on the FCC website showing support for Open Internet Rules and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
This is a guest post by Jennifer Oksnevad