It’s time to
get in shape!
Year after year, websites are getting more and more comprehensive – and as a result, they are becoming slower. This process happens so gradually that most administrators aren’t even aware of it until it becomes an acute problem.
While websites are getting slower, clients are getting quicker and more impatient.
They decide within seconds whether they will wait for a page to load or try their luck somewhere else. If your website fuels your business financially, poor performance can quickly become a sales killer.
There are many good reasons to be concerned about this – and many options for improving performance.
Our opinion? It’s time to whip your website into shape! Whether peak season or not: continuous, sustainable improvement is what counts.
So let’s get to it!
By the way: we are avoiding technical jargon in this article on purpose. After all, your colleagues should understand what you’re talking about, too.
The website is a hopeless case, usually because there is no in-house administrator or the admin is occupied with too many other tasks that have little to do with IT and has no time for the website.
Benchmark: Your loading times are over three seconds. If you are investing in online advertising and your site is loading that slowly, you are wasting a lot of money.
At the next performance competition, you’d land somewhere in the middle, not too far behind the leading team. A solid performance, especially considering that you, as the administrator, have a lot of other tasks to complete as well. You do your ‘work outs’, but not regularly.
Benchmark: Your loading time is less than three seconds.
Your website is as fit as a runner. As a high performer, you are actively engaged in keeping your website in shape. There are only three spots on the podium, and you want to make sure your website is always at the top.
You are the benchmark: Loading times are less than one second.
We want to help you to reach the next level!
Move into the leading team!
to Get in Shape
Various studies on website performance have been done in the past few years. All of them mention five decisive points:
High Customer Satisfaction
Nearly half of all users expect loading times of less than two seconds. Two-thirds of younger users hold this expectation. A simple equation: the faster the loading times, the happier the customers. And vice versa: poor performance has a negative effect on the customer’s experience. Even a company’s image is affected by slow loading times.
Just one second of delay in loading times leads to lower conversion rates (contacts or purchases) and therefore, to lower sales. Even the number of pages visited and the size of the shopping cart sink. Customer patience is reduced bit by bit and in the end, the customer's trust in the site is reduced so much that s/he hesitates to enter banking information in the payment process. Walmart's site shows the opposite is true as well: loading times are reduced by a second lead to two percent higher conversion rates.
It's common knowledge that poor loading times have a negative effect on rankings for search engines like Google. How much influence this aspect has remains a mystery, but a rumor that circulated last year shows that it should be taken seriously. According to this rumor, Google plans to mark websites with poor performance with a red warning notification in the search results. But that means the opposite is true as well: good performance leads to better rankings, more visitors and more sales.
Website performance is a determining factor in the efficiency of employee workflows. When internally used programs, such as Wiki systems or content management systems, are too slow, users can get upset quickly. Frustratingly, many employees accept slow processes as unchangeable. They do not report the problem and simply continue working at a reduced pace. Productivity is reduced correspondingly. Only dedicated employees bring attention to the problem and insist on a solution.
An administrator's role is often not acknowledged by many departments - usually due to ignorance of the administrator's responsibilities and tasks. A website fitness program can provide an opportunity for you as the administrator to approach other departments, like development, sales, communications and marketing. You have the chance to demonstrate how your work supports your colleagues and contributes to the company's success. Use this chance!
First of all: There is no patent recipe for good website performance. Instead, good performance depends on each individual situation: where are bottlenecks that you can work on? Here are nine suggestions - from professionals, for professionals.
1. Change your database server
MySQL is the most popular database solution in the world, which isn't surprising considering that it offers reliable tools and high levels of security and stability. However, other innovative, non-relational database solutions carry their own advantages. We recommend going "NoSQL" and suggest looking into other options, such as MongoDB. MongoDB is document based and does not use a set table schema.
2. Reduce CPU load
CPU can suffer under the stress of an extreme load increase - during Christmas sales or sales promotions, for example. Make sure your CPU is sufficient for these important peak situations. It's usually possible to stock up on guaranteed resources on most managed systems or in the cloud.
3. Have sufficient RAM
In addition to insufficient CPU, many web servers often have too little RAM. Skimping on RAM can quickly lead to problems during load peaks. Systems with guaranteed, dynamic resources are often inexpensive and easy to set up.
4. Get fast hard drives
SSD has found its way into the server world. Quick access to files can give websites a real boost. Many providers include SSD as an option in their product range. However, this option does come with an increased risk of failure. Be sure to include sufficient backup solutions!
5. Introduce caching and compressing
Caching increases performance drastically. Files no longer have to be reloaded for each inquiry, instead they are pulled from the browser cache and the website loads that much faster. Compression ensures that file size remains manageable. Caching and compressing can be adjusted in the web server's ".htaccess" file.
7. Set up CDN
If your web shop should be available to customers worldwide, regional performance is important as well. A content delivery network can be set up so that content - especially large files like videos and photos - do not have to be sent around the world every time they're called. With a CDN, contents are stored on regional servers and can be called up from there. User queries are handled much more efficiently and economically.
8. Optimize Images
Images are still one of the main reasons for poor performance. Image compression should be standard practice. When editing with an image program, photos and images should be saved in web page format. Slight color reduction can help to decrease the size without being noticeable. Unnecessary metadata can be deleted as well. When working with online editors or front-end managers, you as the administrator should insist on these measures.
9. Optimize CMS
Whether WordPress, TYPO3 or another content management system: every CMS can be optimized to improve website performance. Take WordPress, for example: WordPress supports countless plugins, but each plugin slows down loading times. Discard old plugins to make sure your website stays as lean as possible. Most CMSs include features that aren't used or are irrelevant for some users. For more complex CMS installations, such as TYPO3, caching is often disabled during design and development. Forgetting to activate it for live operations can cause the performance to suffer enormously. Ask your developers about it!
Not all of these exercises can be put into practice at once - each of them requires work hours and investment costs, and you may not be able to execute all of them on your own. Create a customized fitness program for yourself and your colleagues over a longer period of time. Be sure to inform management and the other departments of your goals.
for good with PRTG
30 Days of PRTG with
Use PRTG to improve your website performance now! Just download the installation file and you're ready to start.
„THIS IS THE COOLEST SOFTWARE I HAVE EVER USED!! It does everything!“
Every fitness and weight loss program displays the same "yo-yo" effect - you lose weight, just to gain it back again. We recommend starting early with a monitoring solution in order to ensure this doesn't happen with your website performance.
PRTG lets you continuously monitor your website performance. It is secure, reliable and comprehensive. Once implemented, it runs like clockwork and you can lean back and relax!
Example 1: Loading times
Regular ping tests help to determine how quickly the whole website and individual subpages load. In this way, you can identify exactly which subpages need attention. PRTG's Full Web Page Sensor determines how long individual page elements - like Flash, videos or images - take to load.
Example 2: Stress test
How does your website react to sudden spikes in traffic, up to 10,000 visitors? Extreme situations like this can be tested using PRTG's Webserver Stress Tool, so you know in advance how your site will react. This is especially practical when planning promotions, in order to ensure that the website will bear up under a sudden rush of visitors.
"PRTG showed us that our own website's performance had suddenly dropped. Because we constantly monitor our site, we could identify the exact point in time where this occurred. It was the day of the relaunch. The new website has menus with three navigation levels, and the content on these levels had to be loaded from scratch every time the menu was called. We went to our development team and were able to find a solution quickly. Thanks to an idea from our coaching, we use caching for better performance."
Pascal Fleck, Paessler AG