What is CSS Javascript minification

According to Google, increasing the load time of a website from 0.4 seconds to 0.9 seconds is enough to reduce the traffic and sales by 20%. Every website owner must, therefore, do everything in their power to increase their load times. CSS JavaScript minification is one of the ways of increasing the page load time.

The process of removing unnecessary files, comments, and spaces from your CSS and Javascript is referred to as minification. When a developer is writing code, he needs lots of space and comments to help him make sense of it. However, these spaces and comments serve no purpose for the browser. Stripping the file of all these unnecessary spaces and comments can reduce the file size by anything from 20-60%. This minification process, therefore, makes your pages lighter thereby significantly increasing the load time.

Why is minification important for your blog?

CSS JavaScript minification plays a huge role in Front End Optimization (FEO). FEO refers to a set of tools that are used to improve the speed of a website. The following are some of the advantages of minification:

  • Critical rendering path

Critical rendering path is the process of making a website immediately usable to users while the rest of the page loads. Developers examine the code to see how the files are served to the browser and then optimize the code to ensure the website can work even before everything on the page loads. Minification is one of the most important FEO tools for achieving critical paths.

  • Mobile-friendly websites

The smartphone revolution is here to stay. Over 75% of users now open their emails on mobile devices. Additionally, Google statistics show that mobile searches have grown by 80% since 2015. Websites that have not been optimized for mobile are therefore missing out on a lot of traffic. Minification of JavaScript and CSS helps to make the website mobile-friendly.

  • Faster load times

As we have already observed, minification reduces the page size significantly. For instance, a developer might have the following lines of code in his CSS file.

 1. body {
 2. background-color: black;
 3. }
 4. h1 {
 5. color:red
 6. }
 7. blockquote, q {
 8. quotes: none;
 9. } 

When minified, the above file will become:

1. body { background-color: black;} h1 { color:red } blockquote, q { quotes: none; }

The process of minification will have reduced 9 lines of code to only one line of code. Because the page size is reduced, the load times will also increase.

  • Better search engine ranking

The page speed, and by extension the site speed, is one of the factors that Google uses to rank websites. SEO experts have observed that the Google algorithm uses the time to access the first byte when determining how fast a page loads. When you minify your JavaScript and CSS, some parts of the page load faster for the user and this is all you need to fulfill the first-byte rule.

  • Bounce rate

Research shows that when the load time of a page increases from 1 second to 5 seconds, the bounce rate will likely increase by a whopping 90%. Minification is, therefore, an important step in decreasing your bounce rates. When users experience faster load times, they interact more with the rest of the website and that will also help improve the conversions.

How to do it?

Doing a manual minification is too laborious especially when dealing with large files. You will have to go line by line deleting the empty spaces and comments. However, there are tools that you can use to make the work easier. Content management systems like WordPress and Joomla come with plugins that you can install and use to minify your JavaScript and CSS at the click of a button.

To minify a CSS file with these plugins, just paste the file in the given text box and click the minify button. You will get a minified version of the file on the output screen. You can then download the minified CSS file and upload it to your site. When uploading the minified file, check to ensure it has a .min.css extension.

A minified page loads faster thereby increasing traffic and conversions. It is therefore in your best interests to ensure all your CSS and JavaScript files have been minified. There are lots of free and easy-to-use CSS JavaScript minification plugins so there is really no excuse why not to do it.

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