Importance of Page Load Speed
Improving the page load speed of your Webflow website is essential for a number of reasons and one of the best ways to improve your site. First and foremost, fast loading times lead to a better user experience. No one wants to wait around for a website to load, and if your site is slow, visitors are likely to leave before it even finishes loading. This can lead to a high bounce rate, which can hurt your search engine rankings and make it harder for people to find your site.
In addition to improving the user experience, faster page load times also have a number of other benefits. For example, Google has stated that page load speed is a ranking factor, so a faster website may be more likely to appear higher in search results. In addition, faster page load times can lead to increased conversion rates and better user experience. Users are then more likely to complete a purchase or sign up for a service if the process is a quick, seamless, and pleasant experience.
Page Speed Performance Tools
Now that we have the tools to identify performance issues and areas of your website slowdowns, let's start to improve your speed metrics.
Webflow Optimizations to Increase Site Speed
1. Optimize Images
Nothing will destroy your site speed and performance like megabyte-sized photos that haven’t been compressed. Optimizing and compressing your website images is the single biggest action that can be taken to greatly improve your website load speed. Proper image file formats and compression can make a big difference in page load speed without compromising image quality. In terms of file formats, JPEG is typically best for photographs, while PNG is a good choice for graphics with transparent backgrounds. However, using WebP formats for images is the modern file format that can help with performance and should be used whenever possible. There are some really good tools to help make this step straightforward and effortless.
TinyPNG is a great tool for optimizing your images without taking a hit on image quality. Just take your WebP, jpg, or png and drop on the web interface and TinyPNG will take that image and compress/optimize it for you to download, reducing its size but not quality. It’s an amazing tool that I use all the time.
Similar to TinyPNG, ImageOptim does the same thing but I wanted to give it a shout-out as a mac application. This can be downloaded and used on your mac and therefore, no internet connection is needed for use. Always great to have an image compression and optimization tool on your computer for instances where you can not access the internet.
1.3 Webflow Assets Panel
The Webflow assets panel has its own image compression tool. I’ve started to use this the most, as it is so convenient and easy to use. On top of compressing the images, it will convert images to WebP format automatically.
This tool is my best-kept secret for image optimizations. It can do all images on your website, but its special use case and superpower are how it does images that are in the Webflow CMS. Using Optily, you can put in your Webflow site URL and it will automatically get all the images in your CMS, optimize and compress them and then automatically upload the optimized image versions right back into place in the CMS! All without you doing any manual work. It’s a great tool and lifesaver for updating your CMS images.
One thing to note about this tool is it will be coming to the end of service, as Webflow plans to have this feature working natively in Webflow in the near future.
At the end of the day, all of these tools do their job and reduce image size and performance footprint. You can use what works best for your workflow and the use case at hand to compress your images and reduce their file size without sacrificing quality.
2. Defer Images and Videos
The next way to improve the speed of your Webflow website is to defer images and videos from loading right away. This can greatly reduce the initial load speed of a page as it does not require all images and videos on the page to be loaded right at the start. In Webflow, there are two main ways to accomplish this.
2.1 Lazy Load
Lazy Loading is a technique that allows for the images to only be loaded when needed, for example, when a user scrolls down the page and that video/image comes into view. Accomplishing this in Webflow is simple and straightforward. You can access the lazy loading option through the image setting panel for any image element. It is as simple as making sure that the Load setting is set to Lazy: loads on scroll. This enables lazy loading for that image/video.
2.2 Custom Code
4. Optimize Needed Scripts
4.1 Use Async or Defer
Add “defer” or “async” attributes to the <script> tag to control when scripts are run and make sure they’re executed at more appropriate times.
Async is the choice when you don’t care about when the DOM is ready, as the script is fetched in parallel to page parsing. This option is great for when something doesn’t rely on DOM elements, like analytic scripts.
The defer option will wait until the page has been parsed and the DOM is set up before executing the script. This makes this the best option for scripts that rely on or plan to manipulate the DOM and need it to be ready for interaction.
4.2 Load Scripts Conditionally
4.3 Embed Small Scripts
If the code needed to be added is small enough, just embed it on the Webflow website. Having a script tag is costly as it has to be located, downloaded, and then executed when loading the webpage. Embedding small scripts will save time and improve performance.
Just be careful and mindful of how much you embed, Webflow itself has a 10,000 character limit for embedded code.
4.4 Keep Scripts in <body> instead of head
Move scripts from the <head> tag to the footer area of Webflow. This would be in the Before </body> tag text edit for the page you are adding custom code. Pages are parsed and rendered from the top down, so moving the script to the bottom, allows the web page content to be loaded first before loading and executing scripts. It improves the user experience by allowing content to be the focus and increases performance by allowing scripts to run after the content at the top of the page.
5. Download Fonts
6. Bonus: Server Speed
Optimizing server response time is another important factor in improving page load speed. A slow server can significantly impact the overall performance of your website, so it's important to choose a hosting provider with fast response times. The beautiful thing about Webflow is you get all of this out of the box just by using it and hosting with Webflow. Hosting with Webflow takes care of security and server speeds, and is ready to take on any amount of traffic and scale without any slowdowns or performance hits to your website.
Once you've implemented the optimization strategies outlined above, it's important to test and monitor your page load speed to ensure that your efforts are paying off. Regularly monitoring your page load speed will help you identify any issues that may arise and allow you to make any necessary adjustments to keep your site running smoothly.
In conclusion, improving the page load speed of your Webflow website is essential for a better user experience, improved search engine rankings, and increased conversion rates. If you’re looking for help to optimize your Webflow website or just looking to save time by having your own Webflow development partner, contact us and check out what we can do for you! Until next time, keep building.