How Content Complexity Impacts Your Website's Performance
February 21, 2019

Duke Vukadinovic

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How many times have you lost your will to visit a website because it took forever for it to load? Even worst, how many times have you watched a visitor giving up on your website for the same reason?

If a website doesn't load quickly enough, it negatively affects the behavior of the visitors and that directly leads to decreases in revenue and sales conversions.

Today, people use the internet to stay in touch with their friends or find a job, but more importantly, they use it to buy everything they need. The number of digital shoppers increases every year, so a slow website isn't any good for your online business.

Then, there's also the visual complexity of your website and the content it displays that affects the user's memory, performance, physiology, and experience. Your website can slow down for numerous reasons, like low server memory or data influx or competing resources and so on.

The truth is, a slow web server hinders the performance of your website. The bottom line is, the performance of your website can make a huge difference in how successful you are at generating revenue.

To make sure you stay on the right course, you need to optimize your website's performance. You can do that by analyzing the six most important website performance metrics.

1. The overall weight of the page

The overall weight of the page is referred to as the total number of bytes each user receives. It's the relationship between each asset of the page that really matters.

One extremely heavy asset can slow down the entire website. With time, your web page size will expand. Checking which assets you really need from time to time is, therefore, necessary.

By separating individual website's performance metrics such as the total asset weight, image weight, CSS weight, and JavaScript weight, you can select the categories that are too heavy and might be causing your website to slow down.

To clearly identify only those assets that need to be removed or altered, you can perform a waterfall analysis.

2. Waterfall analysis

Waterfall analysis or a waterfall chart gives a visual representation, an insight into how all the important assets load on your website. That means all the third party content, plugins, images, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

More importantly, waterfall analysis allows you to see the right order in which these assets are rendered in your browser. To perform this analysis, you can use a dozen different tools. There are ten most important pieces of a waterfall analysis:

1. DNS / DNS lookup
2. Connect / Initial connection
3. SSL / TLS
4. Waiting / TTFB
5. Content download
6. DOM content loaded
7. Fully loaded / load time
8. Page size / bytes in / data transferred
9. HTTP requests
10. Server response codes / error / status codes

3. Total asset count

The overall weight of the page and total asset count are two different things and most people don't differentiate between asset weight and count. The truth is, it's more than obvious that the total number of assets you have on your website affects the overall weight.

No matter how compressed or small it is, every asset greatly affects the time your website needs to load. Total asset count includes the total count of your images, CSS, and JavaScript.

So, total asset count is an important metric that will clearly show you what you can remove or alter to improve the website's overall performance.

4. Third party assets

While most of the content on your website is hosted on your own domain, there are many websites that use social media widgets, embedded videos, and other third-party content that originates from third-party domains.

Because of this, you have little or no control over the way they function, which only increases the risk of having problems with your website's performance.

The best thing to do is only go with the domains that guarantee excellent performance to prevent a third party from compromising your visitors' experience.

5. Image optimization

One of the well-known ways to speed up load times and improve website performance is to compress text and images. Almost all content online is comprised of text and images. Optimization of content makes sure that a server sends out only as much data as it needs to.

While you can ask your hosting providers to automatically optimize your images and content, you can also test it yourself by using the adequate tools.

If your website is image heavy, it will take more time for it to load. Also, the tools for optimization allow you to optimize your images without sacrificing visual quality. Image optimization is one of the most important steps when you're thinking about making your own website.

6. Minifying HTTPS, CSS, and JavaScript

Most websites have very large amounts of content to display. By minifying HTTPS, CSS, and JavasScript, you can significantly improve your website's performance. The best way to do this is by minifying the code to get smaller file sizes.

The smaller these files are, the quicker the page load time. HTTPS, CSS, and JavaScript all greatly affect the page load time, so compressing these files solves this problem very well.

While there are many other ways that you can use and many metrics you can analyze to get the most out of your website's performance, it's best to focus on the essentials. Optimizing the content on your website and its complexity, will provide your visitors with better user experience and increase your chances of getting better sales conversions and revenue.

Duke Vukadinovic is an Online Marketing Expert at FirstSiteGuide
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