Ways to Make Your Website Super Fast
Having a slow website can be frustrating for visitors of your website. If a website is slow for first time users then they will be likely to leave the site. Slow load times are also bad for search engine optimisation. There are ways to increase website speed which will improve your website. You can check your website speed using free tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights. The results will vary depending on the tool that you use, but they will help to determine how fast your site is and what you need to change.
Why does Website Speed Matter?
First of all, slow website speed is bad for user experience. If a user has to wait for a site to load then they will be likely to leave, and try another website. This means you will lose potential customers, who will possibly go to your competitors. According to research by Kissmetrics, 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. This is why you need to ensure that your website has a good loading speed.
Having faster load times is better for SEO. For ranking, google uses site speed as one of the determining factors. To determine this it factors both page speed on desktop and mobile platforms. If it is not up to an acceptable speed, then your site may suffer ranking penalties. The reason for this is that all search engines want to point users to sites that have the best user experience and information.
Improve Your Hosting Plan
One way that you can speed up your site is by looking at your hosting. It often happens that when starting a website, people go for the cheapest, shared hosting. As sites grow in usage and content, they will get slower. So if your site seems slow, it may be best to check your hosting plan and upgrade it to dedicated hosting. The reason why shared hosting is much faster is because you get dedicated resources. You won’t have to share bandwidth, RAM, CPU etc. with anyone else. The bandwidth limits will also be much higher.
Reduce HTTP requests
Sites are often slow due to too many HTTP requests, or ones that are too large. When a web browser fetches a file it does this through HTTP, which is a request and response protocol. This means a request for a file is sent and the web server sends back a response and the file. There are ways to reduce HTTP requests, which will be discussed in this blog.
Images can have a huge impact on site speed. When content and images specifically are large it can cause a website to be slow. You could reduce the number that you use or get rid of some images. Having no images on your website can make it boring, so rather than getting rid of images you can optimise them before you upload them to your site. You can do this by changing the resolution, this is reducing the quality of an image which reduces the file size. You can also compress images, which reduces file size without degrading quality too much. You could also crop the image, which cuts out areas that you do not need and reduces file size. These changes can be done to images through tools that you can buy or ones that are free. Photoshop, ImageOptim and Gimp are some programs that will let you do this. In WordPress, there is a plugin called Smush, which removes hidden information and unnecessary data that is present in images. This is a free plugin which will help to decrease file size whilst maintaining quality of images.
Having too many plugins slow down your website performance by creating too many extra files, this increases load time. Only use plugins when it is necessary, there are ways that you can reduce the overall amount of plugins that you use. For example, if you want to use the Google Analytics plugin, you can just add a Google Analytics tracking code to your website footer manually, this removes the need to use the plugin. You should often review the plugins that you have activated on your website. You should delete plugins that you don’t use, ones that are not doing what they should be or if you have found a different plugin that works better.
Take Advantage of Caching
Web pages store static files such as HTML documents and images. These static files allow visitors to access the page more quickly, this is because the database does not have to retrieve each file for every request that is made. In most cases it only works for repeat visitors. First time site visitors don’t have the site cached yet, because the web page needs to load files at least once before it can store them. For WordPress sites, you can install plugins which will enable caching, one of the more popular caching plugins is called W3 Total Cache. For sites that are not using caching you would have to configure your site to cache at the server level.