Page Speed is a Google plug-in that allows developers to analyze their websites, rate their performance in terms of a score and optimize them. This is done by testing how much average time a webpage of the website takes to load, which is the duration from the user requesting a page to it being fully rendered by the browser. The quantitative measure of this load time is the Page Speed score, expressed on a scale from 1 to 100; 100 being the most ideal. Google Page Speed works on Chrome, Firefox and any other browser by using a version of WebKit installed on a server.

Google page speed

This set of tools also identifies which of the front-end best practices for web performance are applicable to the website being tested. This website optimization leads to better viewer engagement, which eventually leads to retention and customer conversion. Here are some useful tips on how the Google Page Speed score can be improved.

Optimization of Cache

Static web page resources like image files, CSS files and Java scripts should be cached to keep them off the network as much as possible. This is achieved as follows:

  • Leverage the browser caching by including an expiry date within the HTTP header, so that all static resources that were previously downloaded are taken from the local disk
  • Leverage the proxy caching, so that the browser downloads resources from a proxy server in proximity rather than the remote server.

The other advantage of optimized caching is reduced bandwidth, which brings down the costs of hosting the website.

Data Compression over the Network

HTTP requests from the client involve uploading of cookies and other data which is an overhead in terms of size. This in turn triggers the sending or responses, downloads and cached pages, all of which increase payload size traveling over the network. It also means longer round-trip time of client requests and server responses moving over the network. It is obvious that a higher number of HTTP requests contribute to webpage latency; it can be reduced in the following ways:

  • Remove unnecessary bytes from HTML, CSS and JavaScript codes; this is called minification
  • Defer the loading of JavaScript
  • Serve resources from a consistent URL
  • Reduce HTTP requests by optimized caching

Optimized Page rendering of Browser

Even if resources are optimally downloaded to the client, performance on the client side still needs to be enhanced by proper formatting of HTML, CSS and JavaScript codes, so that the browser can load, interpret and render them easier and faster. Ways to improving the browser’s layout of a page include:

  • Avoiding CSS expressions as far as possible
  • Using efficient CSS selectors
  • Moving inline style blocks and link elements to the document header
  • Specifying image dimensions and HTML character sets

One or more of these tips which are applicable to the website being tested should be employed for a better web performance. This can be re-tested and proven with a higher Google PageSpeed score. Although a new website still under construction cannot be tested through PageSpeed, these tips can still be applied to the development process, so that PageSpeed testing done once the website is ready will give a high score the first time round.

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