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How to Make the Umbraco CMS Even Faster

Speed is everything when it comes to web page and website loading times.​ How so you ask? Well, according to HubSpot, 64 percent of smartphone users expect a website to load in less than 4 seconds, while 1 second delay in a page load time leads to a 11 percent loss in page views. But worst of all, a 1-second delay in a page load time can lead to a 7 percent reduction in conversions. That means a 7 percent decrease in the actions users take that matter most to your business: sales, leads, downloads, contacts, etc.

In 2018 and moving forward, it’s more important than ever that your website is as fast as it can be, both for desktop and mobile, not only for engagement and rankings, but for your business’ bottom line. If your Umbraco website is slow to load, there are numerous steps you can take to take to ensure that your content and files start loading quickly in the future.

Optimize For Mobile

More users are using devices than ever before to access the web. In fact, according to a study conducted by Statista this year, 52.2 percent of all worldwide traffic in coming from mobile phones. Up from 50.3 percent the previous year. Not only that, Google claims that 89 percent of people are likely to recommend a brand after a positive experience on mobile. These statistics (and more) are why Google is putting so much effort into ranking a website based on its mobile experience, otherwise called mobile-first indexing, with page speed being a huge factor.

So, what can you do? One way is to take advantage of Accelerated Mobile Pages, otherwise known as AMP. AMP gives website owners and developers the ability to create clean and fast loading web pages on mobile, helping to increase both organic visibility and user engagement. Here’s what AMP looks like in search:

The Umbraco experts at Marcel Digital wrote a great post on AMP for Umbraco here and also have a great GitHub here to get your team started with AMP.

We also recommend that your development team checks to ensure that above-the-fold content is being prioritized before content below-the-fold. This means that the content we first encounter when loading a website on a mobile device is loaded first, and the rest of the content loads at a later time. This ensures that main content is loaded first right away, as opposed to trying to load the entire content of the page, reducing load times.

Leverage Browser Caching

Every time a user accesses a website, the browser makes a request to the website’s server to access resources such as the content of the page, the images, videos, and other assets that render the webpage. This takes time to render the webpage for the user trying to access the website, and can also lead to a bad user experience if it takes too long.

To remedy this, Google and other search engines recommend leveraging browser caching to help speed up load times; essentially having your server tell the user’s browser what resources they’ve accessed before and to remember them to speed up rendering of the web page. For Umbraco, you can pass along the same linked resource above to your website development team to help get them started!

Optimize Images

People love pictures and images; after all, one is worth 1,000 words. But when it comes to a web page load time, 1,000 of anything isn’t a good thing — whether it’s seconds or images themselves. Images render reduce the load time of your web page and website, so it’s important that they’re optimized for web. To do so, first make sure your images are compressed so they don’t take a long time to load. At Marcel Digital, our Umbraco experts use Post Processor, it automatically compresses images by 60 percent with no configuration needed!

We also recommend using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver not only your images, but your CSS, Javascript and files, like PDFs and other documents. A CDN is a system of networks that deliver your web pages and it’s assets to users based on their geographic location, the origin of the web page itself and the content delivery server. This is especially great if you have users accessing content from all over the world or across large distances.

Not only does this reduce server load, but it also ensures your content is loading and rendering quickly— increasing your user experience. To take advantage of CDNs, take a look at the Azure CDN Toolkit for Umbraco here!

Enable File Compression

It’s important to note that file compression isn’t only limited to images. Don’t forget that your website and its web pages consist of lines and lines of code, not only rendering the text and images on a page, but how those images, colors, and words layout across the page.

For instance, HTML builds the content and basic structure of your web page, CSS brings style and structure to the page telling the browser how to display the content, and Javascript finally brings the interactive functionalities of your web page to life. All of these resources take time to load and bring your web page to life, thus slowing down the speed of your website.

To enable file compression for Umbraco, you can use the built in web.optimization package that Microsoft provides for .net or have your web developer implement Umbraco’s client dependency handler.

Also, Google offers numerous resources to help you reduce, or “minify”, these resources and speed up your website.

Reduce Redirects

You hate detours right? They take more time and usually cause confusion, building your frustration. A redirect is the internet version of a detour. To give more clarity, a redirect is when a destination URL for a specified link is no longer applicable and instead sends, or “redirects”, the user to a different URL. This can happen for many reasons, but it mainly happens because a backlink hasn’t been updated, either internally on your website, or from an external link from someone else’s website.

Redirects, because the server has to find the new URL instead of the previous URL, cause the page or website a user encounters to load slower, thus giving a bad user experience. Google also recommends against using redirects. One way to do this is to run regular crawls on your website, find URLs that are redirecting or broken on your website, and update those to the proper URL. To this do this, you can use tools like Screaming Frog and Moz Pro to help you pinpoint these URLs. Also, make sure you are checking for links that contain redirecting or broken URLs pointed to your website. You can check for these using tools like Majestic and Ahrefs.

Site speed is an extremely important facet of being a website owner, and crucial to your digital marketing efforts— especially moving forward. Google and other search engines are putting more and more resources toward ranking fast, mobile-friendly websites because the data shows that users expect a high-quality browsing experience. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the resources available from Google on site speed and make sure to run your website through the PageSpeed Insights and the Mobile-Friendly Test tools for recommendations direct from Google.

As always, if you ever need help with any of the above, or simply don’t have the time or resources to handle these items, don’t hesitate to reach out the Umbraco experts at Marcel Digital. We’re always happy to help where we can!

  • Umbraco

About the author

Kyle Brigham

Kyle Brigham is the Chief Strategy Officer at Marcel Digital. He specializes in client services and project management, but also original Nintendo games and ping pong.