Having a web presence is vital for any business owner today. That web presence could be an online store, an informative blog, or a simple static site with your contact details.
The purpose of a site is to provide prospective customers with a way to learn more about what your business offers.
Why Speed Matters
The speed of your website and how quickly pages load matters for several reasons:
- Fast loading times can improve your SEO
- Fast loading times can increase your conversion rate
- Slow loading times increase your 'bounce rate'
- Slow loading times lead to abandoned carts and frustrated users
According to research conducted by Google, more than half of all mobile users will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Once a user has hit the back button in their browser in frustration and moved on to somewhere else, they are unlikely to return to the slower website.
While mobile users prize speed, it is not uncommon for websites to take 8-11 seconds to load. A huge percentage of webmasters are struggling with their site's performance. Taking the time to improve your loading times could be the thing that sets you apart from your rivals.
How to Speed Up Your Website
If your website is slow to load, consider the following:
Choose Quality Web Hosting
Choosing a web host that has a presence in the country you are targeting and that has a variety of security and performance features is a good idea.
When you visiting one or another affordable web hosting providers such as Hostinger, you’ll be met with plenty of features that offer speed optimization. Be sure to carefully weigh what you actually need and what’s the price offered to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment. Spend some time for the research: compare some different hosting providers, read testimonials, and the comments - choosing the right web hosting provider can make a huge impact for your website speed.
Check Your Site With Google's Page Speed Insights
Google's Page Speed Insights tool is a good starting point for improving your loading times. This tool will look at your website and highlight things that could be slowing down the loading time of your website.
Choose a Sleek and Fast Theme
If you are a skilled front-end web developer you may be able to fix the issues highlighted by the Google Page Speed Insights tool yourself.
It could be more efficient to simply change the theme that you use.
If your website is powered by WordPress, Joomla, or another popular content management system and you are using a free theme or even a very out of date premium theme, look for a better one.
Most premium themes available today are highly optimized for SEO and loading speed. Investing a little money in a good theme should pay for itself over the lifetime of the website.
Set up a CDN
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) will help to speed up the loading times of your website by caching the content of the site on servers all over the world.
When a visitor tries to come to your site, instead of getting the content from your own server they will get a copy of it from a server that is close to them.
CDNs don't cache the whole site, especially not for dynamic websites, because the site's content changes regularly. They will, however, cache the parts that do not change frequently, such as header images or pages of content that are rarely updated.
Even loading a small portion of the content on a site from a local server can improve page rendering times.
Caching on a CDN can speed up your site's page loading times in other ways, too. The CDN will handle a lot of the requests that normally reach your server.
This means that your server is working less hard and is not processing as many requests. If your site gets a lot of traffic on an average day, then you may see a performance increase simply because unimportant requests are being handled before they get to your server.
If you need a reliable CDN, you can check out Cloudflare, with which you can opt for a free plan or pay to get a more powerful solution. This makes the service appealing for the entire spectrum of webmasters.
Use On-Server Caching
In addition to using a CDN, you may wish to turn on file caching on your server. Let's take the example of a blog website.
Imagine one of your blog posts goes viral and millions of people from around the world try to view it.
Without caching, every time your blog post is viewed, the server needs to regenerate the whole thing.
With caching, your server can generate the blog once by running the code that it normally uses, then save it as a static HTML file so that future attempts to view the blog post don't need to run PHP code or poll the database.
Should you decide to update the blog post you can 'clear the cache' to tell the server that the page has been updated and needs to be re-generated.
Caching in this form takes advantage of the fact that storage space is typically abundant, while the processing power and memory required to run back-end code is comparatively limited.
Compress Your Site's Images
When you're working on your website at home it's easy to forget that modern cameras are high-resolution and that image editing programs often save files in high quality, but also large, file formats.
Your at-home test site may render a page in an instant, but if the images are several megabytes in size the page will load much more slowly when you try to view it online.
If the image quality is important, create smaller thumbnails for your images in a compressed format, and use those in your posts.
Provide links to the higher-quality images so that visitors can view them individually. Most content management systems have plugins that can automate the process of compressing images and creating thumbnails.
For example, Smush for WordPress can offer better compression than the default process used by the content management system.
If you’re running an online store, it probably won’t load as fast as a single-page site optimized for speed. And that’s okay. Remember that different websites, depending on their function, may not be comparable to one another when it comes to speed.
But do keep in mind that speed is proven to improve conversions, visitor satisfaction, and SEO ranking. I hope these tips help you build a better and faster site in 2020.
About the author:
"Mary is a passionate blogger and the chief editor at her own content marketing company PRable.org. Since college, she's been interested in break-through technology and technical writing about innovative products and services that change our everyday lives for the better. She's also interested in web design and photography."