20 Ways to Speed Up Your Website
If your website is slow, you are losing sales.
“When pages load in 1 second, the average conversion rate is almost 40%. At a 2-second load time, the conversion rate drops to 34%. At 3 seconds, the conversion rate begins to level off at 29% and reaches its lowest at a 6-second load time.” – Portent
According to Google, more than half of mobile users leave a site that takes longer than three seconds to load.
Think about that. You invest in SEO, Google ads, Facebook ads, fancy copywriting to get as many visitors to your website as possible.
People are clicking on your website, but more than half are leaving BEFORE your page loads…
That is just plain wrong!
You work hard to build persuasive offers, you have a fantastic product that can help others — so you need to keep visitors on your website by ensuring that it loads quickly enough for them to see your message.
There’s another critical reason your website speed is essential. Google will penalise your website in the search results if it is slower than your competitors. You could be spending hours on blogging and big bucks on SEO, only to be hurt by something as simple as your site speed.
What’s the solution?
How can you speed up your website?
Here are some of the many ways to increase your page speed:
- Enable compression
- Choose a fast web host
- Reduce the number of redirects
- Add expire headers to leverage browser caching
- Leverage browser caching
- Improve server response time
- Use a content distribution network
- Optimise images
- Use a good WordPress theme
- Switch off any unused plugins
- Specify a character set
- Disable image hotlinking
- Fix any broken links
- Secure your website
- Don’t upload videos on your website
- Use a lazy load or other equivalent plugins
- Keep your website simple
- Check your website speed from time to time
1. ENABLE COMPRESSION
However, compressing your images this way is not the best idea.
Instead, to retain control over the quality of the image, compress them in Photoshop.
2. CHOOSE A FAST WEB HOST
Hosting can have a massive impact on your website speed. You can check the speed of your hosting provider using a simple tool such as dotcom-tools.
Changing hosting providers isn’t too challenging; a reputable host will guide you through the process.
It is wise to remove spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters. Believe it or not, it can dramatically increase your page speed.
Remember to remove code comments, formatting, and unused code. Here is a link from Google regarding this topic.
4. REDUCE THE NUMBER OF REDIRECTS
Each time one of your pages redirects to another page, your visitors face additional time waiting. It is also a poor user experience.
In technical speak, when a user visits your website, their browser has to build a DOM tree by parsing HTML before rendering a page. If their browser encounters a script during this process, it has to stop and execute it before it can continue, thus slowing your website.
6. ADD EXPIRES HEADERS TO LEVERAGE BROWSER CACHING
Expires headers tell the browser to request a specific file from the web server or to get a version of a page from the browser’s cache. Expires headers speed up your site in two ways.
- They reduce the need for users to download the same files from your web server twice.
- It reduces the number of HTTP requests that need to be made, further speeding up the time it takes for the page to load.
Remember, it will only speed up your site for users who have already visited your website.
7. LEVERAGE BROWSER CACHING
Browser caching works by storing certain pages (or parts of pages) when a user visits your website. For example, the logo on your website is unlikely to change from day to day. By caching this logo image, we can tell the user’s browser only to download this image, say, once a week. Every visit that a user makes within a week would not require another download of the logo image.
In a nutshell, telling the browser to store specific files and not download them each time a user returns to your site saves time and your web server bandwidth.
If you’re using WordPress, an easy way to cut your page loading speed is to install a caching plugin like WP Total Cache or WP Super Cache.
8. IMPROVE SERVER RESPONSE TIME
Let’s start by saying that the optimal server response time is under 200ms.
Your server response time can be impacted by the amount of the traffic you receive, the resources each page uses, the software your server uses, and the hosting solution you use.
To improve your server response time:
- Check Your Hosting
- Choose Your Web Server Carefully
- Optimise Your Web Servers
- Reduce Bloat
- Optimise Your Database
9. USE A CONTENT DISTRIBUTION NETWORK
How does a content distribution network (CDN) work?
Essentially, copies of your website are stored at multiple, geographically diverse data centres so that users have faster and more reliable access to your site. Check with your hosting provider. We like Squarespace because they automatically optimise your content delivery using a global CDN, which ensures that your pages load quickly for your visitors no matter where they are in the world.
10. OPTIMISE IMAGES
Large images slow down your web pages which creates a poor user experience. Optimising images is the process of decreasing their file size, using either a plugin or script, which speeds up the page’s load time.
Be sure that your images are no larger than they need to be. Save your photographs as JPEG and your graphics (and screenshots) as PNG as a general rule of thumb.
11. USE A GOOD WORDPRESS THEME
They say that prevention is better than cure. This is definitely the case with website speed.
To prevent many of the speed issues in the first place, you should opt for a good host, a good CDN, and a good theme/design. It’s advisable to choose among the latest themes as they have the most updated code and features.
Older themes may have used outdated codes, causing the website to slow down.
When designing your website, clarity and simplicity are always better than fancy, complicated designs. Not only for page speed but for user experience.
When someone lands on your website, what are they trying to do? Help them do that thing as quickly and easily as possible. When choosing a theme, if in doubt, go minimal.
12. SWITCH OFF ANY UNUSED PLUGINS
If you are using WordPress, plugins are typically the biggest culprit for slowing your site down. Take a look at your plugins; if there are any that you are no longer using, delete them – Easy!
13. SPECIFY A CHARACTER SET
It can be useful to specify a character set in your HTTP response headers. Meaning that the browser won’t have to spend extra time working out which character set you’re using.
14. DISABLE IMAGE HOTLINKING
When other websites’ ‘hot link’ to your images, it steals bandwidth, thus slowing your site down. To prevent other sites from ‘stealing’ your bandwidth, ask your developer to add a snippet of code to your htaccess file.
15. FIX ANY BROKEN LINKS
Broken links are a drain on bandwidth and also a pain in the butt for website visitors. Fixing broken links can also increase page views and decrease bounce rate, which will ultimately influence your conversion rate.
Use Google Webmaster Tools (crawl errors tab) to identify your broken links.
16. SECURE YOUR WEBSITE
When somebody hacks your website, there’s a great possibility that the hacker will inject codes that will cause your website to slow down. Not only does it affect your website’s loading speed, it also puts your assets and data in danger.
Use a firewall that can stop the threat before it penetrates into your website.
17. DON’T UPLOAD VIDEOS ON YOUR WEBSITE
As much as possible, don’t upload videos on your site. Upload it on a video streaming site, like YouTube, and link by embedding a code in your site.
But if you need to upload a video, compress the video into a smaller file. There are a lot of free online video compressors you can use online.
18. USE A LAZY LOAD OR OTHER EQUIVALENT PLUGIN
Lazy load works when your visitors view only the images they need to see, which are the ones on their viewport. Images will only start to load as they scroll down the page.
19. KEEP YOUR WEBSITE SIMPLE
Images, videos, and animations are among the factors keeping a page attractive and engaging. But, they have a large file size, causing the loading of your site to slow down.
It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use them at all, but make sure to use them only when it’s necessary or when you compress them.
20. CHECK YOUR WEBSITE SPEED FROM TIME TO TIME
When you own a website, and you’re always updating it with posts and transactions, ensure you schedule monthly speed tests for your site. Speed tests allow you to see how well your website is doing in terms of speed.
HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE:
If all of this is a bit overwhelming, here’s what you can do:
Step 1. Get your free speed test report at GTmetrix.com
Step 2. Give it to your web developer and ask them to fix
the areas identified in the report
Step 3. Sit back, relax and enjoy your fast website (and better Google rankings, more website visitors and more sales!)
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