Could Browser Caching make a difference to your website conversions - in all honesty the answer is probably a very simple yes !!

“My website is really slow and takes ages to load on my mobile.”, “Our clients SEO is being penalised by their PageSpeed results, can you take a look and recommend what can be done?”

In my last article we looked at how the hosting and speed of your webserver, or the server your rent via your web developer can affect your site visitors experience. Not only is this inconvenient to your visitors, even to the point that they click away, but also because it can and will effect your google rankings. We know how hard it is to get looked on favourably by the big ‘G’ at the best of times. However cool your website is, it will have a major impact on your online presence if it runs slow. Let’s take a look at another way to speed things up.

We can use something called browser caching to speed up how your webpage is presented to your visitors. This is something that your developer needs to setup and configure on your website but the Cache itself is actually located on you local machine, laptop, tablet or phone.

So what is a cache? We’ll let’s look at another type of cache that you may be more familiar with. When the great explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott set out to the South pole he left piles of fuel and food along the way in preparation for the return journey. This way he didn’t have to carry supplies all the way to the pole and then drag them all the way back. As we know it didn’t quite all go to plan but that is another story as they say.

In the case of your web browser the cache is actually a store, in a similar way to Scott’s, that is there when you come back. So if you think about it, when you visit a website there is usually a high proportion of the pages that don’t change very often, if at all. Lets take the logo as an instance. Every time you go to the same website and every time your visit various pages the logo remains the same. If we keep that logo file on our local machine we don’t have to download it every time we visit a page. If we expand that concept a little further and include CSS files, HTML Files, Images, Backgrounds and JavaScript files it becomes apparent quite quickly that we can get away with downloading very little when we are a returning visitor to a site.

When your browser visits a page it will compare it’s cache with the page content and if it is the same age there is no need to download it.

Essentially what we are doing is reducing the amount of time we wait for content to download, which is the slowest part of building your webpage, by simply not downloading it if we already have it.

If you want to test how effective browser caching can be simply go to a favourite webpage, one with nice content and plenty of images, and see how long it takes to load. Then clear your browser cache and see how long it takes when you visit it again.

It’s a pretty simple thing for your web developer to setup if they haven’t already done so and can make a major difference to you site visitors experience.

Next time we will have a look at something that can also have a major impact on your site speed when we ask “Where is your server located?”

If you want to find out more about how we may be able to make your website perform better and faster, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Remember, if you have a question just fire it at me and I will write about it in a plain English way that will help you to understand how your website should be adding to your business not detracting from it.

Image Credit to The Natural History Museum – https://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/community/[email protected]=blog.html