A “best practice” calls for making your company’s home page as lightweight as possible. Your home page is often the first contact that a potential customer has with your company, and you always want to make a good first impression. If a potential customer is forced to wait while your page loads, they might decide to try a competitor’s site instead. However, if that first page loads very quickly, the customer will get a good impression – and will most likely be a little more tolerant of delays on other pages.
I have noticed a trend – which has been going on for a while now – toward heavier and more complicated home pages. In many cases, a site’s home page will be one of the slowest pages on the site! Much of this is due to a desire to include as much information as possible. Other reasons include the placement of ads, social media widgets and heavy graphics.
Because almost 100 percent of your visitors will request the home page, it is worth going the extra mile to ensure the fastest possible response time. A number of things can and should be done along these lines. If your home page is being generated by your application server, you might decide to use page-level caching in order to greatly improve performance. In some cases, where possible, you might even decide to make your home page a straight .html page and by-pass your application server altogether.
Performance improvements on your home page will translate into happier visitors; make sure that you spend some time evaluating your options in this area.