Not only does speed affect user experience and conversions but also search engine rankings. The importance of website speed can’t be emphasized enough and it has only increased in recent years. Nobody has the time to wait endlessly for your website to load as you are not their only option. They can abandon your website for your competitors that may provide better speed and more relevant content. A study by Kissmetrics reveal that 40% of users abandon a website if it fails to load in less than 3 seconds.
User experience is Google’s top priority. When a website fails to provide good user experience, it tells Google that the website is not what the user was looking for and hence pushes down its rankings. You, as user, can recall how frustrated you feel when a website takes a lot of time to load. The website may have quality content and offer exciting offers that you may need but due to low speed, you eventually end up saying good bye to it. Website speed is a stepping stone for online success. You have got to work on it and invest in it to make sure it does not affect your bottom line.
8 Tips to Optimize Website Speed
It is obvious that increasing the speed of your website should be your top most priority. In this article, we list down some important techniques to help you optimize your website speed and make it load fast. These tips are easy to implement without the need of a developer. You may want to test your website speed before implementing these tips so that you can compare results later.
- Fast Server Response Time
Server response time is the time a web server takes to load the HTML document of a website and deliver it to the web browser. When a user tries to access a web page, a request is sent to the web server on which the website resides. The web server responds to the request by loading the required content and sending it to the user’s web browser. Obviously, this time should be minimum so that users begin reading the content as quickly as possible.
There’s a lot of hosting options out there. Choosing the one that promises the best and offers good packages is worth your time. There are hosting options that are great for specific types of websites. For example, WP Engine is always preferred for WordPress websites. Similarly, Magento dedicated hosting is advised for Magento 2 speed performance optimization.
If you can afford, always go for a dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is cheap but shares your website with hundreds and thousands of other websites which increase the server response time. Make sure you are on a good server environment because this will make your page speed a lot faster.
- Setup a CDN
Being on a fast server is good but it’s also a great idea to have a CDN (Content Delivery Network). The idea here is to allow users to access the data from a server that is geographically closest to them. This delivers content significantly faster. Setting up a CDN will increase your website speed by 20 to 30%.
- Limit Redirects
If there’s a lot of redirects going on on your website, that can really slow things down. The less redirects you have the better. Redirects are good and you may want them for certain areas on your site for user experience and potentially for SEO value. But having hundreds and thousands of them will really damage your website speed.
- Optimize Images
If you have got a really slow page, one of the main reasons and probably one of the top reasons is slow images. This can happen a couple of different ways. When an image loads, it can be loading inside of the header, the footer and the sidebar which are generally the global areas of your website or they’re based off of an individual template. This can be served on tons of pages so one big image in one of these areas will slow down your whole website not just one page.
If you have got an image that is 3,000 pixels wide and needs to load into a 300 by 300 space, don’t expect your page to load in less than 5 seconds. Make sure you compress images and size them correctly before uploading them to your website.
- Enable Brower Caching
Brower caching means when somebody goes to a page, they will save a version of the page. If they go back to it, they can access the saved version rather than making a new HTTP request. The web browser does not have to reload the logo, CSS files, etc. for repeat visits. This causes the pages to load super-fast.
- Reduce the Number of Plugins
If you have a lot of plugins doing a lot of different things, it will take a lot of time to load. Less is more when it comes to page speed. Of course, you need plugins to add functionality to your site and to improve conversion rate, keep in mind that every single plugin adds a little bit of latency to your site.
Avoid installing unnecessary or less important plugins or plugins with poor coding standards. Heavy and poor quality plugins is probably the second common reason of slow websites after heavy images. You also want to keep the plugins and themes that are active and uninstall the ones that are not used.
- Embed Media
Most web servers simply are not designed to store and deliver media to visitors. Doing so will slow down your website and frustrate your visitors. Instead, upload the video, music and pictures you want to use to services designed for that purpose. For example, upload videos to YouTube and then use the HTML tag to embed them with the new page. It looks as good as you upload it directly to your website except that it loads much faster. For audio, you can use a service such as SoundCloud. For photos, you can use Flickr.
A fast site helps you rank higher in search results, drives traffic and improves your visitor’s overall experience. Clearly, visitors are happier when they don’t have to sit around waiting for your website to load. Speeding up you website is not as complex as you may think. The above 8 simple tips will help you a great deal to improve the speed of your website.