CGN WebPerf #29 – Performance optimization for non-developers

written by Elisabeth Iwanski

On April 29, 2020, the Cologne Web Performance Meetup took place again. However, our Cologne Office remained empty and the event took place online via Jitsi. From 18:30 on, the chat room began to fill up gradually. Everyone was welcomed by our hosts Angelina and Ingo and a few small life hacks for Jitsi were exchanged.

 

At exactly 19 o’clock the Meetup officially started. Although we all have been working remotely for some time now, it felt strange not to sit together at a table with a cold drink in hand for such an event. In order to convey this feeling at least a little bit, we started with a short introduction round.

 

PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZATION – WHAT CAN WE DO WITHOUT CHANGING THE CODE?

 

Long loading times are one reason that users decide to leave the website. Mostly, however, improvements in loading time usually require a high development effort, so page speed is often put on the back burner. And now this should work without code changes. But how?
Angelina first showed a few KPIs to show the importance of fast websites. 46% of the participants of a Google survey complained that long loading times annoy them most. Slow pages lead to poor Google rankings, dissatisfied users and therefore high bounce rates. In the worst case, this leads to declining turnovers. It is therefore obvious that fast websites lead to better rankings, higher click rates, satisfied and above all to returning users.

 

THE SOLUTION: PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZATION WITH ONE CLICK

 

Whether or not you engage a developer with the task, the first step is to measure the current performance of your site. There are many free tools that can be used for this. Besides PageSpeed Insights or Test My Site from Google, there are Yellowlab.Tools, WebPageTest, GTMetrix and many more.

 

While these tools show which KPIs need to be improved, CDNs (content delivery networks) can be used to improve page speed. CDNs, like wao.io from Avenga, show the ACTUAL state of the website and what can be improved by using the tool. But how is this supposed to work? By using CDNs no programming skills are necessary. They let the web pages run through their own servers and already take care of measures like compression of images or minifying the HTML. This takes the load off developers and page speed measures run by themselves – there are no excuses not to start immediately. Besides well-known CDNs, like CloudFlare, Akamai or wao.io, there are also other solutions. Most CM systems offer a variety of plug-ins that already have a lot to offer in the performance area. These are quickly installed and take care of topics like native lazy loading, image optimization and much more.

 

After the talk we had a look at how this works exactly. One of the participants kindly gave us his site for analysis. One could see directly how much percent could be saved with just one click!

 

My conclusion: The use of CDNs should definitely be considered. This way, measures can be implemented faster and without much effort, rankings can be improved and users can be satisfied! Thanks to Ingo and Angelina for the great insights!

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