Optimizing Website Performance for Speed and User Experience

Optimizing Website Performance for Speed and User Experience


7 min read


Website performance is an important aspect of web development.

It consists of mainly two things:

  • The speed of your website

  • How usable is your website for visitors?

Importance of website performance

Website performance is very important to consider when building new websites.

If it's an e-commerce store, it can have a large impact on your user's conversion rate.

If it's a lead generation website, it can have an impact on how many users become leads.

If it's a blog, people are more likely to be engaged in your content if the speed is good.

Website performance is also a factor in SEO, so a faster website will rank higher.

Impact of speed on user experience

Speed has a significant impact on user experience.

Slower websites leave a poor impression on users and make them more likely to leave.

Think of trying to navigate through a website, and pages take 10+ seconds to load...

You're very likely to leave, aren't you?

Now that we've established why good website performance is vital for modern websites, let's dive deeper into what affects a website's speed.

Understanding website performance

Factors affecting website speed

There are plenty of factors that impact website speed, including, but not limited to:

  • The size of images

  • The number of requests made

  • The server response time

  • The size of the files requested

  • Third-party scripts

At the end of the day, the more a browser has to do to render your website (like importing scripts, fetching images, etc.), the slower it will be.

Metrics to measure website performance

There are numerous metrics to take into account when measuring website performance.

Using a tool like Google's PageSpeed Insights, you can get valuable metrics to boost performance. These include:

  • First contentful paint (FCP): marks the first point in the page load timeline where the user can see anything on the screen.

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): marks the point in the page load timeline when the page's main content has likely loaded.

  • Total blocking time: measures the total time after FCP where the main thread was blocked for long enough to prevent responses to user input.

  • Cumulative layout shift: a measure of the largest burst of layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the lifespan of a page.

All of these metrics are crucial to review to improve website performance.

Strategies to optimize website performance

To effectively optimize website performance, the exact strategies vary based on the website.

A wide range of factors (as discussed previously) play a role in website performance.

Depending on the website, some areas are probably doing well, but others need to be focused on.

Fortunately, a tool like PageSpeed Insights provides actionable, specific opportunities to improve website performance.

Let's talk about a few common strategies that will improve web performance.

Minifying CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

Minifying CSS, JavaScript, and HTML is a simple and effective strategy to improve performance.

Compressing these files will improve your website's load time since it takes less time to download a smaller file.

So when a user's browser fetches your website, it fetches smaller payloads.

How this strategy can be implemented depends on the website.

For CMS-based platforms, there are typical plugins that can handle this.

For custom applications, this can be done through an NPM package or, in some cases, manually.

Minifying CSS, JS, and HTML can't negatively impact performance, so I recommend everyone implement this in some capacity.

Optimizing images and videos

Optimizing images and videos is another strategy to improve website performance.

Unoptimized images and videos can have a significant impact on how fast a website loads.

All images should be compressed and served in a smaller, faster format, like.webp.

Additionally, images that aren't shown right away should be lazy-loaded. This means they are loaded only when the user sees them, rather than on load, so the page's initial load time is faster.

This can be done by adding the loading="lazy" attribute to images.

Videos should also be compressed and preferably deferred from loading to improve the initial load time.

Implementing browser caching

Browser caching is another effective strategy for improving website performance.

Static files like and.js can be cached, so they don't need to be fetched again every time a user loads your website.

You may have noticed this when you revisit a website and it loads significantly faster than the first time you loaded the website.

Implementing this strategy varies based on how the website is built and how it is hosted.

Utilizing Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

A content delivery network is, in essence, a way of delivering content to your users by placing caching servers across the globe.

A CDN is designed to reduce the distance (virtually) between the browser and the server.

This means files are delivered faster, leading to a faster website.

CDNs integrate with web hosting providers to deliver faster website performance with ease.

Reducing server response time

Reducing server response time is another strategy that can boost website performance.

The initial server response time is a crucial part of website performance.

A slow response time means a slow website.

While most of the response time has to do with the exact setup and hosting provider, here are some general tips to improve performance:

  • Use well-optimized plugins (particularly those relevant to platforms like Wordpress).

  • Choose a popular, trusted hosting provider.

  • Optimize your database.

  • Reduce resource sizes

That covers website speed; let's move on to enhancing the user experience.

Enhancing the user experience

User experience (UX) is another crucial aspect of website performance.

UX is essentially how usable a website is for the end user.

UX is a wide topic, but let's talk about a few key areas where websites often get wrong.

Improving website navigation

The purpose of website navigation is for users to be able to navigate a website and find the information they are looking for.

Website navigation should be simple.

It should not be difficult for a visitor to find what they are looking for.

On desktop, links should be shown right away and not hidden in a sidebar behind a hamburger icon.

On mobile, the navigation bar should be small so it does not take up too much screen real estate and take away from the content.

Furthermore, the navigation bar should be sticky to improve the user experience so they don't need to scroll back to the top of the page.

These are some general tips on improving website navigation; however, they vary based on the purpose of the website as well as the specific niche.

Looking at similar websites can help determine what works best.

Implementing responsive design

A responsive design is a must-have for websites in 2024 and beyond.

Responsive, essentially, means the website adapts to the user's screen size and shows the content appropriately.

This means the website should look good on computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc.

Responsive design is crucial for UX, as if elements don't function properly or overflow off the screen, it makes it much harder for users to use the website.

If the website is custom-made, it can be responded to through CSS media queries.

If the website is built on a CMS like WordPress, it's important to choose a responsive theme that works well in your niche.

Minimizing pop-ups and ads

For superior UX, it's best to minimize pop-ups and advertisements that show up.

Using popups for users to complete actions like creating an account is fine, of course.

But having popups that show at random intervals with content that may not be relevant for the user can be very distracting and cause users to leave.

Additionally, too many advertisements on a page will also frustrate users, potentially causing them to leave.


Website performance is crucial for the user experience and SEO. Factors like speed, image size, server response time, and third-party scripts impact performance. Metrics like FCP, LCP, and total blocking time are key.

Strategies to improve performance include minifying CSS/JS/HTML, optimizing images/videos, browser caching, CDN use, and reducing server response time.

Enhancing the user experience involves improving navigation, implementing responsive design, and minimizing pop-ups and ads. Continuous optimization is essential for website success.

Importance of continuous optimization for website performance and user experience.

Continuous optimization is crucial for website performance and the user experience, as things change over time.

User experience is largely about learning what your end user's key goal is and how you can best optimize your website for them to achieve that goal.

πŸ‘Œ Thanks for reading this article!

If you like what I do and would love to see more related content, follow me on my other social platforms:

Twitter: Blake Yeboah

GitHub: Blake-K-Yeboah

LinkedIn: Blake Yeboah