- Nico Bistolfi
When operating an online business of any kind, you need your customers to have the best experience possible. The way that customers come into contact with your business online is through what is called the front end. The front end is where your website and the visiting party interact and transfer information. Front end Optimization will help you to deliver a better experience to your users.
Front end optimization, or FEO, is the process of making sure that your website is going to be easy for any browser to open and load the content from. This means making your website easy for browsers to open efficiently and load content quickly.
In the most basic way of looking at it, FEO essentially revolves around making files smaller and reducing the chatter between your server and the customer’s computer when they open your website. (Check the growing importance of mobile websites)
When websites are being created, the metrics of perceived and actual load times of a given website are very important to designers. These metrics impact how a user perceives the length of loading and how long the loading actually takes.
To ensure that websites are getting tasks managed and processed as effectively as possible, Content Delivery Networks, or CDNs, are used to optimize the content on a webpage. These processes get rid of the need to manually adjust parameters like compression and code modification as it does everything for you.
The Importance of TTFB
When it comes to the delay between a website loading and the information being processed, you can run into any number of problems that would restrict access to your platform.
Time to First Byte, or TTFB, is the measurement of the response time of a website as the data is transferred from a given server to the desired browser. By reducing the TTFB, your website is perceived as loading faster allowing users to access the content they want faster.
5 key elements to Improve Website Responsiveness
1. Optimize Your Cache
The cache that is utilized by your website determines what loads and when it loads. When an item on your website is needed to be cached for a certain amount of time, you define the item and the length of time it needs to be cached for through the HTTP cache headers.
What caching does is it stores the files that are often large and static in a location like a local drive or CDN PoP, where it is outside of your direct server.
What gets on the nerves of most designers is that managing cache headers manually can easily become tedious and hard to streamline.
Caching mechanisms are also not the most reliable option. They cannot easily process dynamic content that is created right as web pages begin to load.
With a CDN, you can often find cache controlling options that allow users to set certain parameters for loading. This ensures the most essential content is delivered to the browser upon loading. Many cache services also have smart learning so they can essentially remove the need for you to manage your cache.
2. Reduce HTTP Requests
Upon a page opening, every HTTP request that is made requires any given browser to create individual TCP connections. This number will be equal to the number of page elements that need to be downloaded by the page.
Since a browser can only open a certain amount of connection channels at any given time, this presents a large issue.
Servers can easily be overloaded when too many HTTP requests are made. There are limits in place that restrict the number of concurrent connections. This also helps to prevent the browser from needing to connections as the result of a bottleneck.
A CDN will assist by pre-pooling your connections so that the delay time is eliminated for loading. It also allows for essential connections to stay open throughout the duration of a webpage being open.
3. Optimize Your Images
One of the most difficult things to deal with as a website designer is something as simple as an image. Image formats are a compressed file and cache is used to optimize the image for the page.
While compressing helps reduce an image’s digital size, you need to further break down the image using lossy compression. If you want to ensure it does not take up valuable cache space to process.
In many cases, people buy a CDN product for the sole purpose of image caching. As they automate the process of image compressing and allow the user to choose a loading speed and image quality.
CDN’s can even progressively render an image to make it load quickly. At a lower resolution as it then increases the resolution with load time.
4. Minimize Your Code
Coding a website is what allows it to operate successfully, but website creators often leave in space that is unnecessary. Developers write code with many spaces to ensure they are able to read and edit it more effectively. However, a computer will never read these blank spaces that only take up space that could be used elsewhere.
When a CDN is brought in, it can minimize the code and get rid of any unnecessary script that a developer might have included. This helps the computer read the code more efficiently reducing the load times of various files. In many cases, these CDN’s can read multiple coding languages and produce the same minimization results.
5. Compress your Files
A developer will use a scripting language like HTML or Java to create a page using coding files. Large pages often result in larger data files, so file compression is something to consider.
Compression reduces the file size to help a site respond faster. It can even reduce file sizes by up to 90%. Try this tool to analyze the image content of your website and take advantage of improvements.
A CDN is going to make compressing your files simple through using a compression system like gzip to reduce the size of all essential files.
As the CDN works to compress every file that it can, it will help reduce the amount of cache used by your website and will help the website to load faster when opened in a web browser. Here you are a powerful solution that will help your website loads faster at high-quality.
Front End Optimization or content optimization, is the process to make your website browser-friendly and faster to load. In other words, Front End Optimization focuses on reducing requests, and reducing files size. As a result we will have a better digital experience and we will improve our web performance.