Sitecore performamnce optimisation

Sitecore Performance Optimisation: What, Why and How?

by Michael Haahr

Consumers spend more and more time on digital channels, and your website is often the first - if not only - impression a consumer has of your brand. If it's slow to respond and unable to provide what your customer is looking for, it's not going to impress.

The need for speed has never been more powerful than it is today. Whilst that sounds cliché, it's so true in today's advanced and digitally-driven world.

Consumers spend more and more time on digital channels, and your website is often the first - if not only - impression a consumer has of your brand. If it's slow to respond and unable to provide what your customer is looking for, it's not going to impress.

Consumer brands risk missing out on opportunities to upsell to their customers, or- at work - losing their custom altogether. Equally, B2B brands risk being perceived as unprofessional in what is often the first interaction they'll have with a new client or recruit. On top of all this, Google now takes into consideration your website speed when allocating your (and your competitors') search rankings.

If you're invested in Sitecore licenses, you should benefit from a top-performing website under all conditions. I'm here to explain why you might not - and what you can do about it.

Why might my Sitecore solution be slow?

Sitecore creates an elegant solution, based on a complex technical structure. The majority of issues arise when an initial Sitecore development fails to follow design principles and conventions that allow for future website growth (e.g. Helix). Specifically, there could be an handful of reasons why your website has slowed down, but, from our experiences some of the most common issues include using outdated HTML, hosting platforms, and lack of version-control:

  • Outdated HTML: One of the biggest issues we’ve come across is websites using outdated versions of HTML, which modern browsers simply aren’t built to support. If your solution is more than a few years old, chances are that your HTML hasn’t been optimised for use across all digital channels including mobile and tablet and, if not, its’ translation could be slowing your website down. Your website should be build using HTML standards optimised for browsers both old and new.
  • Hosting platforms: The migration, security and integration issues associated with Cloud mean that it’s not on everyone’s list of must-have’s. But, if you’re a business that sees seasonal increases in traffic (retailers, and charities – I’m looking at you) and you’re still hosting your website on premise, chances are you’ve experienced performance issues at peak-load. A Cloud-based solution makes it easy to scale up, to prevent your website from crashing at an important moment.
  • (Lack of) version control: Sitecore itself is a complex creature that enables you to revert back to any point in the website’s history. Whilst this is a great security feature, it also means that every time your editor changes something small on a web page, Sitecore will save a new version of the content – in every published language. If not considered in the initial design of your website, this can quickly and considerably grow into a mass of versions that impact your websites performance.

What adjustments can I make to improve performance?

The solution to your web performance issue depends on your unique issue (or mixture of issues). An optimisation partner will look at all aspects of your site – including the way it has been built, implemented, hosted and architected – to bring it to its true potential.

Like many companies, at Nemetos, we offer clients a solution review. An assessment like this is one of the best ways to uncover and understand any technical issues you might be having on your website. This is the most effective way to understand issues related to configuration and setup of your Sitecore solution.

Our partnership with long-term customer G4S began with a solution review. For G4S, what manifested itself as an issue with performance was a result of back-end configuration issues and multiple language versions. The review helped us create a road-map for enabling the full potential of their Sitecore solution.

How can I avoid performance issues?

Websites are one of your biggest business assets. And keeping your website optimised for high-speed performance and load-times, requires ongoing investment.

However, investment in automated testing and load testing is one of the most effective ways to understand overall website performance. New smart features can affect the way the rest of your website runs – and without testing, you might not know until it’s too late. We suggest automation, to cut down (big time) on resources and speed up the process each time you test and deploy.

Nemetos has one of the largest and most-skilled Sitecore development teams in Europe. When it comes to performance issues - we've pretty much seen it all. But, we also like a challenge. Do get in touch if you're having issues you'd like to discuss.