5 Ways To Improve Website Speed
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Have you ever come across a website on the internet and been frustrated by how slowly it loaded? Have you ever left a website before it even loaded?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions you might be wondering how can I speed up my website.
Facts About Slow Loading Websites
Before we jump into how you can improve the speed of your website let’s look at some (horrifying) facts:
- Just 1 second of delay causes a reduction in page views by 11%
- 1 second of delay damages your conversion by 7%
- If a store that generates $100,000 per day increases their loading time by 1 second they could lose $2.5 million annually, in sales.
Very scary stuff. The truth is that most of us will never have an online store that generates $100,000 per day.
Even if your store only generates $100 per day, can you afford to lose out?
Not only will you lose out on sales and conversions but you’ll see an increase in bounce rate (visitors leaving your site without taking any action) and worst of all: rankings.
Getting to top of the Google rankings is a hard thing to do and a very important aspect in rankings is page speed.
Without further delay let’s jump into 5 easy ways to improve your website speed:
1. Compress your images
Put your images on a diet.
Images are a staple in our websites arsenal and are great for sending signals to search engines. They also help us to stay stimulated when reading an article.
If you’re lucky enough to have a super fast broadband connection you may not have even noticed images taking time to load. Chances are you have though.
Whilst broadband connections are increasingly common a lot of the world still runs off slower connections.
An example: a 1mb image being downloaded on a connection of 512kb/s would take around 16 seconds. (calculated using www.download-time.com/
Thank fully there are many ways to decrease the size of your images and improve loading times. We would recommend to use the JPEG Mini program. It does an excellent job of squashing those images down and you won’t even notice the difference.
Websites have changed dramatically over the last 20 years. We’ve moved far away from the blocky, text abundant nightmares to sleek, stylish and visually appealing websites of today.
BONUS: This awesome website shows you snapshots of how websites used to look. Go back to 1998 and try and find your favourite website; you’ll be amazed: https://archive.org/web/
All those flashy animations, hover effects and complex image galleries come at a price. Excessive use of scripts can caused your website to become extremely sluggish.
The term “render blocking” means that your website is trying to load scripts first, before it starts to render your web page. The result is a white screen for your users and plenty of frustration.
The solution: load the scripts in the background and render the webpage at the same time. This creates the illusion of speed more than anything but your bounce rate will thank you!
3. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
What is a Content Delivery Network and how does it work?
“To minimize the distance between the visitors and your website’s server, a CDN stores a cached version of its content in multiple geographical locations (a.k.a., points of presence, or PoPs). Each PoP contains a number of caching servers responsible for content delivery to visitors within its proximity.”
In a nutshell a CDN places your content at several geographical locations, making it quicker to retrieve.
If your website is based in the UK and your reader is located in Australia your content is likely to take longer to load.
If you have a CDN (with a spot in Australia) the content can be delivered fast. It’s a win for everyone.
There are multiple companies that offer CDN’s, including: CloudFlare, KeyCDN and Stackpack.
4. Minify HTML & CSS
Computers don’t read like we do.
They prefer to read massive blocks of text with no spaces in between, something we would find terribly frustrating.
When the white space and formatting is removed from code it can be executed more quickly and also reduces in size.
Here’s an example of minified code. Pretty tough to read eh?
There are many ways to do this.
For WordPress there is an invaluable plugin called Autoptimize which takes call of all your speed obsession needs.
5. Choose a better host
Sometimes even carrying out all the speed improvements in the world won’t help if you have a poor host.
You might have exhausted all your options and finally give up the ghost and move to a new host.
There are many affordable and fast hosting options available (depending on your requirements).
Check out this in depth article from CNET which explores the best hosts for 2020: https://www.cnet.com/news/best-web-hosting-providers-in-2020/