Based on who you are within the company you work for, we also have a pretty good feeling we know your first thought after seeing that alert in your site audit:
- Executive: “What does that even mean?!”
- Marketer: “Crap! Now I’ve got to get my developer involved to fix this.”
- Developer: “I KNOW what it means, but it’s just a warning. How important is fixing that?”
Because in the always-on, always-now game of digital marketing, time is money. And by time, we really mean page load speed.
The time has come to demystify the following warning you have received so many times in your site audit:
You should know what it is. You should know how it works. You should know what impact fixing this is going to have on your site performance.
You can figure all of this out below.
- CSS is short for Cascading Style Sheet. This file helps your web developers create the uniform look and feel of your site without having to copy and paste the same content on each individual page.
To put it simply: scripts and files in their evolved state of being.
Over time, as these files evolve they also can become weighed down with things like:
- Unnecessary lines
- White space
- Comments in the source code
- Hosting on external servers
Essentially the same files… just in a condensed format.
- Extra lines and white space removed
- Unnecessary comments scrubbed out
- Hosted on your local server
The amount of time you are going to need to spend in the following section will vary greatly based on the job title you have.
- Executive: You can probably delegate fixing this issue to your site manager or web development lead and task them with troubleshooting to find a solution. Want to share this post with those people via email or Slack? Right-click here and select ‘Copy Link Address’ for a bit.ly link to share with them.
- Marketer: Based on your expertise and comfort level inside your website platform, you can either see the executive suggestion above or read below to find the best solution for your site.
- How to fix in WordPress
- How to fix in non-WordPress Content Management Systems (CMS)
- How to fix them old school with no CMS
Our favorite answer to any WordPress related issue is “there’s a plugin for that.”
- Choose a plugin to fix these issues
- Install/activate/configure your plugin of choice to minify the files
Below are two of some of our frequently recommended solutions – one free to use, one premium.
- Free to use options: W3 Total Cache, Autoptimize, Hummingbird
- Premium option: WP Rocket
Depending on your budget and level of technical expertise, both of our recommended plugins can be configured to produce great results for your site. You just need to confirm compatibility with your hosting environment and set them up for success.
Ready to do a deep dive into other WordPress plugin solutions to improve your site? Check out our list of the 12 best WordPress plugins for SEO.
According to trend monitoring from BuiltWith, WordPress is the content management system used by about 50% of the top 1 million sites on the web. If you don’t use WordPress for your own reasons but still use a popular CMS with comparable third-party applications, check out any of the links included below. You may find yourself on the way to uncovering your next favorite module for Drupal or extension for Joomla and Magento.
- Drupal: AdvAgg
- Joomla!: JCH Optimize
- Magento: Aptrian
Note that we are not necessarily endorsing the above tools, just providing them as the most common ones per CMS as of the time of this writing.
Have you tried any of the above-listed apps? How’d they work out for you? Let us know in a chat so we can share your experience with other readers!
At the same time, there may be nothing you can do.
For example, if you use Kentico as your web content management system, you can actually configure minification for these files directly in your administration area.
It’s okay, I was surprised to learn this, too. But check out the documentation.
If your site is built on Squarespace or Wix, there may be nothing you can do.
- Squarespace claims minification is included in their platform.
- Wix, on the other hand, does not appear to offer its users the flexibility to change this OR include it as an included solution.
Once again, note that we are not necessarily endorsing the Uglify suite of tools; just providing this as the most common “old school” solution at the time of this writing. Feel free to proceed, but do so with caution.
And if you have successfully used the Uglify apps, let us know in a chat how they worked out for you so we can share your experience with others.
- Decreasing the load time of your pages
- Increasing engagement rates with site visitors around the world
- Improving your search engine rankings
- Creating more leads and sales for your business
According to a post from our own Adam Roth last year on slow loading websites, one study found that more than 25% of participants would abandon a webpage that takes over 4 seconds to load.
On top of that, a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
We can’t calculate the actual financial impact that one second can have on your business. You’ll have to figure that out yourself.
But the results are clear: the faster your site loads, the more confidence you can have in your ability to grow leads, sales, and traffic online.
If you’ve made it to this stage of this post, you should have a pretty good handle on:
- How these file types can become unminified
- Why minification can improve your page load times, and
- How page load times can positively and negatively impact your revenue online.
Whether you are an executive, a marketer, or a developer, taking a little bit of time now to make sure these two important filetypes get minified will have a positive impact long term on the future success of your digital campaigns.
Eliminating these warnings, and that friction, are site improvements your entire organization can take to the bank.
For another in-depth walkthrough on an issue we commonly find in SEO site audits, please check out this guide to alt text for images and learn how maximizing your opportunities there can help improve your SEO performance. You can also check out any of these helpful resources written by our team below: