Fast is Better. Tips and Tricks to Improve your Website’s Speed.
As a website owner you should be aware that speed is everything. It doesn’t only stand for a better user experience, but also helps with SEO and monetization. With users having grown accustomed to almost instantaneous access to information, it’s become impossible to achieve success in the publishing business without putting a heavy emphasis on loading speed.
The ways to improve your page’s speed are endless and for most of them you’re probably going to need assistance from a skilled developer and/or third parties. You may have heard of optimizing code and assets, caching, minification etc. and while those are perfectly valid, it’s not where the story ends. These activities should be rather considered maintenance work and furthermore, what’s usually overlooked is how your monetization setup can affect your website’s performance. At PubGalaxy we’ve learned how to balance the scales over the years and so we’re here to share our top tips for boosting both web your property’s speed and your earnings.
Asynchronous ad loading
Loading your pages quickly is important, but even more important than that is how fast users can start engaging with the page. That depends on how long it takes for the first available information on the page to appear on the user’s screen. If you have ads loading prior to any of the content, they can slow the process down significantly. With asynchronous loading, such issues can be avoided as these scripts don’t interrupt the processing of content, but run simultaneously after being triggered instead. This guarantees that users are not sitting around waiting for ads to load in order to access the information they’re looking for and also that small errors don’t crash the entire page.
Asynchronous tags do come with certain limitations, but those present themselves so rarely that it’s not even worth mentioning. Thus, it’s really a no-brainer – when it comes to the ad tags that go on your page always use asynchronous ones. An important distinction to remember is that all passbacks are synchronous but that’s how it’s supposed to be and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using them. As long as there’s an asynchronous tag making the initial ad request the entire auction is always going to take place asynchronously.
Server requests always add some latency to the page, no matter how sophisticated the technology you’re utilizing is. It’s certainly become the case that almost all advertising processes and resources are facilitated externally and for the most part that’s unavoidable. While the benefits of ad servers are obvious, you should keep in mind that they aren’t completely harmless and you shouldn’t be overusing them where it’s not really necessary. If you’re planning on running any house ads, PSAs or anything else that doesn’t require a large amount of control, you may want to consider hard-coding. The same can also be done for certain ad types and formats, that you’re not juggling between multiple partners with.
While on the subject, it’s also worth mentioning that multiple ad server hops also increase latency significantly. They may not affect the pace at which content is loading, but they make the delivery of ads a lot slower for sure. Often publishers are tempted to chain up server calls in a complex fashion to create custom setups and manage inventory more easily, but most of the time that produces a negative effect. Not only does it slow things down but also increases discrepancies by a large margin so try to avoid subsequent ad server calls as much as possible.
In case you’re not familiar with the term, lazy loading is a way to deliver page elements no sooner than the time they need to be displayed. Although it can present some technical challenges when used with other features, this technology is a great tool to ease the load upon initial engagement. You can use this method for any part of the page including ads if you wish to provide a smoother user experience. It can also help you worry less about viewability scores as ads are only rendered when they are in view.
Although situational, splitting articles into separate pages can also do wonders for your website’s speed and in some cases for your profits. Websites with longer than average articles often suffer the fact that a lot of the content they put out is left unutilized, while at the same time bringing an immense load for the browser to process. Splitting content into smaller fragments allows for the data to be more digestible, but also to display more ads. As you’re probably aware, most marketplaces enforce a limit on how many ad placements you can have per page, which means any content that exceeds the real estate which can be monetized is wasted. By using pagination, you can still produce comprehensive pieces in your respective vertical, while having them organized into compact segments that can be monetized effectively.
Header Bidding timeouts
If you’ve read anything on the subject of Header Bidding you’re probably aware of the concept and its importance but it’s definitely worth mentioning it here as well. Header auctions are a terrific monetization asset but there’s always an underlying threat if they’re not configured properly. A drawback of the technology itself is that it can slow everything down and even block the loading of content indefinitely if the appropriate timeout isn’t applied. Generally speaking, allowing more time for the auction to complete creates more competition and therefore increases profits, however, it can also ruin the user experience. Publishers should be cautious when adjusting this and always look into their data before making a decision. If your website is rather on the slower end overall, then maybe being conservative when setting up the timeouts would be best.
Page speed is even more important on mobile devices due to bandwidth limitations and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is currently the best way to secure it. The framework delivers a lightning fast version of your website at the expense of some styling, but perhaps its biggest benefit it how easy it is to implement. You can built AMP templates directly or simply convert your existing pages, which can be done by simply installing a plugin for WordPress users. The technology is still evolving but so far it has been received quite well by the community and has helped many publishers achieve their monetization goals.
For better or for worse, website speed dictates the monetization success to a large extent. Especially with Google’s ranking system that publishers find themselves constantly having to adapt to. Mastering the basics is easy but there’s also plenty of day-to-day work to be done, which can be overwhelming. Whether or not you have a trusted developer to help you optimize your back-end, you’re most likely going to need someone in your corner with the same approach towards programmatic monetization.
Drop us a message if you’d like to find out how PubGalaxy can help you go faster than ever and achieve your goals!