Website speed optimization

Website loading times are important. Studies show that e-commerce platforms with low loading times will have a better conversion rate that sites with slow loading pages (tests at Amazon revealed that every 100ms increase in load time of Amazon.com decreased sales by 1%). Another important factor is that google now also measures loading times and includes those results in their ranking algorithm, which means that fast websites will rank slightly better then slow ones.

Of course you shouldn't over optimize your website. A mean if you find something that could be optimized, for example if this optimization will only make your website faster by less then one percent, but on the other hand you will have to put several hours / days of work into that task, then you may reconsider your decision to do it.

So the first thing to do might be to find the action that consumes most of the total loading time and start trying to optimize it, instead of tying to optimize stuff that consumes far less of the loading time. In Chrome you can use the Developer Tools, click on the Network tab and reload your page to see the loading times and lots of other useful information. In Firefox you could use Firebug (open the "Net" tab).

Also in some cases optimization techniques will lead to lower server performance, therefore you will be able to deliver more optimized pages but maybe a smaller amount of pages, because the server resources are used to compress your data instead of being used to deliver a high amount of them. So don't forget to keep an eye on server performance. If you want to get a quick overview of what could get optimized take a look at tools like Yslow from Yahoo which is a browser Addon and PageSpeed from Google which is an Addon too but which also offers an online pagespeed analyzer on their website.