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CSS Hacks to Enhance Site Loading Speed

By Catherrine Garcia

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The user experience on a website matters as much as the site's content itself. A website's user experience is all about making the navigation and the buyer's journey of a prospective customer/visitor as smooth as possible. It's necessary to provide visitors with everything that they need to complete an action or a transaction, given the fact that they are ready to purchase. This is where the speed of a website plays a very crucial role. Nobody likes a slow website and it can be difficult to draw profit from a slowly loading site.

As per that recent report, the loading speed of your website will significantly impact whether or not people are going to stay on your website or move to your competitors' websites. The ideal page loading speed for a website is 2-3 seconds. If you fail to implement that, your website visitors will be very quick to abandon your website and move on. Even the slightest delay in the loading time can negatively affect the quality of the user session on your website and cause you to lose traffic, along with prospective sales. Even for the mobile version of your website, 46% of people dislike a mobile website that is slow to load.

So, if you want your website, and the sales from it, to fair well, here is what you can do with CSS to reduce the loading speed.

  1. Get rid of that cluttered code
    Did you know that a 100-millisecond delay in load time can cause conversion rates to drop by 7%? We bet you don't want that for your website. This is why removing any unnecessary CSS code is a great trick to improve the load speed for your website. If you are able, you can manually figure out the duplicate or unnecessary code and the redundant items as well. If you manually want to remove this redundant CSS, here's what you can do:
    • For Chrome users, use the DevTools tab to figure out which code is being used on a certain web page and which is not.
    • Go to Chrome DevTools and use the 'cmd + shift + p' command to access the Command Menu
    • Now enter 'Coverage' and you will find an option to show coverage. Click on it
    • Now the coverage tab will display CSS files and you will have to select the files. This action will open up that certain file in the sources tab.
    • The CSS that you see next to the green line is the one in use. The one next to the red line is not being executed. For green and red both, some of the code is being executed and some is not.
  2. Organize your code, FTW
    This is a very popular CSS hack used for boosting the speed of a website. All you need to do is ensure that there is minimal duplication. By this, we mean to say that you should make sure that you put your CSS into the right set of branches or even in hierarchical branches. This will help you greatly enhance the loading speed of your website and impress your new visitors — and keep them coming back.
  3. HTTP Connection Reuse
    Also known as HTTP Keep Alive, this tool allows multiple concurrent requests to be multiplexed over a single connection. By implementing this, you can save some bandwidth by allowing the browser on the other end to download many files without seeking the request to do it again and again. All you have to do is paste the following code to your .htaccess file.
    <ifModule mod_headers.c>
        Header set Connection keep-alive
    </ifModule>
  4. Use a CDN
    One of the best ways to help your website load swiftly on the viewer's end is to implement the usage of a CDN, i.e. a Content Delivery Network. The CDN service provider uses a network of servers to deliver the content of your website to varied geographical locations with enhanced speed. By implementing a CDN, the number of simultaneous HTTP connections is increased around the globe, making your website blazing fast. CDN helps serve the static assets of a websites, such as its CSS and JavaScript, which are located in the wp-content directory, making your website fast to load.
  5. CSS Animations
    One great hack to enhance the loading speed of your website is to use native CSS animations instead of the usual animations. This is so because the CSS animations are comparatively faster. Also, do not overdo the use of animation, as they tend to slow your site.
  6. Place external JavaScript files at the bottom
    A lot of webmasters don't pay attention to this but the website visitors have to wait for the JavaScript to load before the content it if the webmasters place the external JavaScript files at the top. To get rid of this waiting, you simply need to place this at the bottom before the close of the body tag. Or you can consider using the defer or async attributes while placing these files.
  7. Image compression
    Did you know that pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that take five seconds to load have a bounce rate of 38%? The pages on your website that have images end up consuming a lot of bandwidth off the server and cause the entire website to load slowly. Speaking of bandwidth, using the right web hosting service is also a very crucial decision. For example, A2 Hosting vs Siteground, provides an overview of two from which you can choose. A competent web hosting provider will not only ensure that your website stays swift to load, but also provide ample security.

    Hence, you need to optimize your images to scale them properly. There is no benefit in using large and heavy images and then scaling them down with CSS. So, make sure that you scale your images right before you upload them. You can also try compressing them, using tools to get the work done.

  8. Get rid of extra fonts
    Something as simple as a few lines of code for custom fonts can end up cluttering your code database. A lot of times, most of these fonts are not in use and only contribute to making your website slow to load. You need to get rid of the weights and styles that you don't use and limit the characters.
  9. Gzip Compression
    Something as simple as a code addition can help you optimize the loading speed of your website. You can add some simple code to the .htaccess file and enable Gzip compression:
    # compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

Conclusion

By adopting the CSS hacks mentioned above, you will successfully be able to enhance the loading speed to your website. This will allow you to cater to the needs of your audience by providing them a great user experience, without any hiccups or of all that extra waiting.



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