How to Identify and Fix Performance Bottlenecks

19th Nov 2020

Performance bottlenecks, what do they have to do with website performance? Simple, a performance bottleneck is something within a website that prevents it from loading as quickly as it should.

When crafting a web experience, it is vitally important to focus on the user experience (UX). We all browse in different ways, for different things and on many different devices. One thing that is common; we all want ‘speed’. No one enjoys sitting around waiting for a website to load.

These negatively affect user experience and can impact on your website performance. Ultimately, that can have an impact on your websites SEO (search engine optimisation), making you harder to find on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Google has indicated that it’s algorithm to rank pages includes looking at site speed (and as a result, page performance).

We offer our thoughts on how and why to tackle bottlenecks.

Why you should identify performance bottlenecks

Performance bottlenecks can have both direct and indirect negative effects on a website’s effectiveness. The direct impact can be things like a user not being able to complete a purchase or leaving a website because the performance of the site is too slow.

The indirect effects are related to Google ranking factors in the SERPs. Google’s algorithm is ever-changing, but one thing that has been a consistent factor for a number of years now is the way they rate websites based on their performance. As the importance of this grows within the Google algorithm, identifying and resolving performance bottlenecks within your site becomes essential.

How to identify them

Real User Monitoring

Using a multitude of user monitoring tools (such as Google Analytics and Google Lighthouse) allows you to gain a better understanding of how users interact with your website. They look at key metrics such as load time, transaction paths. Therefore, user monitoring tools can help highlight where the potential ‘pain’ points are.

Performance Bottleneck: Real User Monitoring (RUM) Tool (Google Analytics)
Performance Bottleneck: Real User Monitoring (RUM) Tool (Google Analytics)

Examples

Large Image Sizes

An example of a performance bottleneck would be a website that contains a huge number of images, trying to render all of the images in the web browser at the same time. This would put a huge strain on the webserver to deliver all of the data, leading to a longer load time.

The solution to this problem would be to load the images as the user scrolls the page. Also known as ‘lazy loading’, this enables the data to be broken up into smaller sections and loaded as required. This improves the load time and thus the performance of the website.

Unminified Code

Another common performance bottleneck is unminified code. This is when code hasn’t been optimised, creating a large file size thus slower page speed.

Minification is the process web developers take to reduce code and mark-up within your web pages to reduce load time. Not only does this increase site speed (and accessibility) but it also improved bandwidth usage for users.

Performance Bottleneck: Minification File Size Example

Usually, when a website is being built (using code such as HTML, CCS and JavaScript), it’s common for web developers to use comments and other variables that are simply unnecessary. Yes, these variables help developers understand their work, but the website will function without them, meaning they have a negative impact on performance.

To minimise file size, you need to minify the code. The following can be minified:

  • Comments
  • Line breaks
  • White spaces
  • Crunch variable names
  • Formatting
  • Function names
  • Block delimiters

Luckily, there is a wide range of tools and plug-ins available to do this for you!

Benefits of improving performance bottlenecks

If leaving performance bottlenecks unchecked can have a negative impact, fixing the problems can have an exact inverse effect. Positive performance improvements can result in direct web conversions. Indirect improvements include search engine results rankings and valuable traffic.

Let us look after your website so you don’t have to

The key to successfully tackling performance bottlenecks is to monitor the site regularly. This allows you to proactively track issues and fix them as they come about. Many businesses don’t have the time to do this themselves, this is where our team of experts come in.        

Think3 has a range of aftercare support packages that make sure your website is up to date, secure and performing as you expect it to.

Alternatively, we can offer you a free website audit, identifying your bottlenecks and suggesting improvements. Simply contact us if this is what you’re after.