It goes without saying that optimizing your website is a complex topic, with what feels like an nearly infinite selection of best practices, guides, and tools. When you're dedicated to using the best practices to produce a quality site, it's hard to know if you're leaving any stones unturned. We feel your pain and present you with our list of the top 5 website optimization tools.
Optimize Page Load Times
Half of all web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less. Those same users have a great tendency to abandon a site that isn't loaded within three seconds. Load times also affect your rankings and, subsequently, how attractive you are to advertisers.
A content delivery network (CDN) can improve loading speeds by distributing your data through a network of servers around the world, reducing the time it takes to reach your hosting service.
Companies like CloudFlare provide reasonably priced CDN services, along with the added value of blocking threats and limiting abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources.
While a picture can be worth 1,000 words, it can also be one of the main elements bogging down your load times. Even if you're using the proper file formats (JPEG, GIF, and PNG) and optimizing them for the web within your graphic design software, the finished files are still not as efficient as they need to be.
Compression tools like Kraken can help reduce the file size of your images considerably. Their basic drag-and-drop service lets you optimize images up to 16MB, and their pro service will let you optimize larger files.
Another tip is to always resize your images before loading them. Loading a large image file before setting the parameters within your CMS will slow performance and hamper user experience.
CSS have become the basis of most modern web design. A site with clean, properly maintained style sheets will not only look better, it will rank and perform better as well. However, cleaning your code can be tedious and time-consuming. Tools like CSS Lint help you save time and sanity while tidying up any unsightly code.
The best practices to help keep your main stylesheet neat and clean include using external style sheets rather than pasting the code before the tag, employing universal classes to avoid repetition, and applying browser-specific files for fixing bugs.
One more piece of advice is to make a copy of your style sheet so that, if there's a learning curve during optimization, you will still have your original.
Inbound Link Optimization
If content is king, link volume and quality are high-ranking members of the royal court. How do you know if your outbound links are capturing the attention of your readers and fellow thought leaders; where your best inbound or backlinks are coming from; or how you rank as an authority or influencer based on these results?
The answer is simple: Enter your URL into the Moz Open Site Explorer. Feel like a little competitive analysis? Post a competitor's URL to see if they're capturing opportunities you're missing. You can test it out with a set number of free searches or enjoy unlimited checks with their pro services.
Ad Optimization & Placement
You have worked hard to develop great content and increase page views; now it is time to get paid for your hard work. However, because there are hundreds of different ad networks telling you they can earn you more money, deciding which campaigns to flight in DFP and finding out which networks perform best can be a full time job.
The Sortable Ad Optimization Engine uses machine learning to decide which ad networks perform best across a range of different circumstances, creating a personalized profile for you site and strategically applying this information to optimize impressions.
In other words, we'll solve the ad optimization logic problems while you create great content and enjoy increased ad revenue.
You can even optimize your ad layout if you want. Using multivariate testing, the ad engine can try out different ad placements, sizes, and ad types, helping your site evolve overtime and increasing your CPMs.