The website speed optimization makes the first impression of your business. It’s imperative to understand that you won’t get another chance when it comes to user activity. If your website speed is low, then it is the most frustrating things that will decrease users from your site.
High-performance websites result in high return visits, low bounce rates, higher conversions, engagement, higher ranks in organic search, and better user experience. Slow sites will cost you money and damaged reputation. By decreasing the page load time, you will positively affect marketing and sales processes. You’ll get tremendous traffic and attract more qualified leads that can be transformed into customers.
In this post, we will define you some advice about how to increase your website performance and page load time.
- 1 Website Speed Optimization Importance
- 2 Conversion
- 3 Visibility
- 4 Usability
- 5 Ways to increase your website speed
- 6 Tips to speed up your website
- 6.1 1. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- 6.2 2. Move your website to a better host
- 6.3 3. Optimize the size of pictures on your website
- 6.4 4. Reduce the number of plugins
- 6.6 6. Use website caching
- 6.7 7. Implement Gzip Compression
- 6.8 8. Database optimization in CMS
- 6.9 9. Reduce the use of web fonts
- 6.10 10. Detect 404 errors
- 6.11 11. Reduce redirects
- 6.12 12. Use prefetching techniques
- 7 Conclusion
Website Speed Optimization Importance
Page load time is a web performance index that shows the time needed for a page to display on the user screen.
Let’s see how the website speed optimization influences the critical factors of website success:
Website conversion is an essential factor for your business success, which means that getting your visitors to do what you aspire them to do. For example, they will purchase your product, register for a webinar, download a guide or subscribe to newsletters campaigns.
If your website speed is fast, then you will get more visitors such that the fastest the page loads, the higher growth rates it’ll have. According to the Hubspot research, 1-second delay means 7 percent decrease in conversions. For example, a page slowdown for 1 second could cost Amazon $1.6 billion in purchases each year.
The load time of your website also affects how easily users can find your website. Website speed is one of the parts that Google takes into concern when ranking sites. A low performing website has a lesser user experience and as a result, gains limited advertising in search results. According to the new algorithm of Google since December 2017, the Google search engine has started ranking on the based on mobile page speed, even for desktop searches. This decision aims to protect users from the websites that have poor performance and aren’t responding to all devices.
Website usability similar website page speed, load time, and website responsiveness to user requests directly impact customer loyalty. The excellent your site performs, the more satisfied a user will be. Great user experience is a way of building a large customer base and a strong brand.
Ways to increase your website speed
Before beginning your website speed optimization, you should check your current loading time and define what slows down your site. Then you should fix your website performance goals. The recommended page load time in 2018 is to be under 3 seconds. According to Google research on the average mobile speed across industry sectors, just a fraction of websites are close to their recommended speed.
So, if you optimize your site speed to an acceptable level, you will get a significant ranking position over competitors.
The techniques of website speed optimization listed in this article are very distinct, and sometimes the solution to one problem can have a negative impact on another phase of your site. That’s why we suggest analyzing the website speed after each move to determine what actions deliver the best results.
Several performance evaluation tools are worth trying:
- Google Pagespeed Insights tool is a free service by Google that covers a performance analysis on your site and gives recommendations on how to increase performance. It runs for both desktop and mobile versions.
- Pingdom is also an excellent tool for website speed testing with some useful features. It tracks your website’s performance records, makes data-driven recommendations on how to increase the website speed, and generates easy to understand reports. Pingdom also gives the apps for website speed testing for Android and iOS. It has both free, and premium paid monitoring plans.
- YSlow also gives recommendations on how to enhance the performance of the page, draws statistics, and summarizes all segments.
- Performance Budget Calculator is a free method that helps to analyze what type of content you can use to manage your site running optimally.
- GTmetrix also an amazing tool which can suggest you what things you have to fix to increase the website speed.
Tips to speed up your website
Once you have examined the speed of your site, you can start optimizing your website speed. There are a lot of various techniques to make your website load faster, and we made the list of the most effective ones.
1. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A content delivery network is a group of web servers distributed across various geographical locations that provide web content to end users about their place when you host the website on a single server, all users requests sent to the same hardware. For this purpose, the time needed to process each request increases. On top of that, the load time improves when users are physically far from the server. With CDN, user requests redirected to the nearest server. As a consequence, the content is delivered to a user quicker, and a website works faster. It is a rather expensive, but quite effective way to optimize the load time.
2. Move your website to a better host
There are three possible types of hosting:
- Shared hosting
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS) hosting
- Dedicated server
The most popular form of organizing that is used all over the world is sharing hosting. That’s the affordable way to get your site online in a short time and for a cheap fee. It’s necessary to choose the fast web host to ensure better optimization. With shared hosting, you share disk space, CPU, and RAM with other sites that also use this server. It is the primary purpose why shared hosting isn’t as quick as a dedicated server or VPS.
Virtual Private Servers and dedicated servers are hugely faster. VPS viewers various servers for content distribution. Having VPS, you experience the server with its different users and have your portion of the virtual server where your configurations don’t affect other customers. If your website has the normal traffic or you have the eCommerce site with traffic nails in some periods, VPS will be the best option for you.
The most costly hosting option is to use a dedicated server which can be your physical server. In this situation, you pay a server rent and hire a system administrator to manage it.
Another approach is to hire dedicated cloud resource from AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, or other public cloud providers. Both methods can also be combined into a hybrid cloud that we talked recently. With dedicated servers, all resources refer only to you, and you get the full control of it. Cloud infrastructures can also combine unlimited and on-demand scalability under some packages.
Serverless architecture is yet an extra option that removes maintenance and server set up procedures completely. Consider reading our separate post covering serverless architecture specifics and advantages.
3. Optimize the size of pictures on your website
Everyone loves eye-catching photos. In the case of successful eCommerce sites, pictures are the vital part. A lot of photos, pictures, graphics on your goods pages improve engagement. The negative part of the image use is that they are usually large files that slow down a website.
The best method to reduce the image size without compromising its quality is to reduce images using such tools as Tinypng, JPEGmini, or Kraken. The process may take a short time, but it’s worth it. The other way to reduce the image size is to use the HTML responsive images and attributes that improve image size based on user display properties.
4. Reduce the number of plugins
Plugins are standard components of each website. They add particular features suggested by third parties. Unfortunately, the more plugins installed, the more resources are needed to run them. As a consequence, the website works slower and also security issues can appear. As time passes, the number of plugins increases, while some of them may not be used anymore. We suggest checking out all the plugins you have installed and deleting unnecessary ones.
First, analyze the performance tests on your page to find out which plugins are decreasing your website speed. The website speed not only depends on the number of installed plugins but also their quality. Try to bypass plugins that load a lot of scripts and styles or make a lot of database queries. The best technique is to keep only the necessary ones and assure that they are maintained up to date.
6. Use website caching
In case there are a lot of visitors accessing the page at one-time servers work slowly and require more time to deliver the web page to each user. Caching is the method of storing the current version of your website on the hosting and presenting this version until your site is updated. It means that the web page doesn’t render over and over again for each user. The cached web page doesn’t need to send database requests each time.
The access to website caching depends on the platform your site developed. For WordPress, you can use the following plugins: W3 Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. If you use a dedicated server or VPS, you can also set up caching under the general settings of these plugins. In the instance of the shared server, the website caching isn’t normally available.
7. Implement Gzip Compression
Gzip Compression is a powerful way to reduce the size of files. It reduces the HTTP requests and reduces the server response time. Gzip compresses the data before transferring them to the browser. For the user, a browser unzips the files and presents the contents. This technique can work with all the files on your website. You can enable Gzip on your site by adding some lines of the code or via a utility called gzip.
8. Database optimization in CMS
Database optimization is an effective way to improve performance. If you handle a content management system (CMS) arranged with complex plugins, the database size increases and your website runs slower. For example, the WordPress CMS stores comments, blog posts, and other data that take up a lot of data storage. Each CMS requires its optimization measures and also has some specific plugins. For WordPress, you may consider the WP-Optimize plugin.
9. Reduce the use of web fonts
Web fonts have become very famous in website design. Unluckily, the use of web fonts has a negative impression on the speed of page rendering. Web fonts add additional HTTP requests to external sources. The following steps will help you reduce the size of web font traffic:
- Use modern formats WOFF2 for modern browsers;
- Include only those character sets that used on the site;
- Choose only the required styles
10. Detect 404 errors
A 404 error indicates that a “Page isn’t found.” This message is presented by the hosting to browsers or search engines when the accessed content of a page no longer exists. To identify and correct a 404 error, you can use error detection tools and plugins. As we considered, additional plugins can negatively affect your website speed, so we recommend running the resource through external tools for error detection. For example, Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), Xenu’s Link Sleuth, and 404 Redirected Plugin For WordPress.
Once you’ve identified all 404 errors, you need to assess the traffic that they produce. If these dead links no running bring any visits and thus never waste your server resource, then you may drop them as they are. If these pages yet have some traffic coming, consider setting redirects for external links and fixing the link locations for the internal ones.
11. Reduce redirects
Website redirects generate additional HTTP requests which negatively impact performance. We suggest to keep them to a minimum or eliminate them. First, you should identify all redirects on your page by running a site scan. You can use Screaming Frog to identify redirects quickly. Then you must verify if they serve a significant purpose and move only the critical ones.
12. Use prefetching techniques
Prefetching entails viewing and executing instructions before a user admits them. The method is rather standard. It works well if you can predict user actions and, for example, load some content or links in advance. Normally, modern browsers allow for prefetching by default as they consider user behavior patterns. However, UX professionals and engineers are more likely to understand user action and make “hints” for browsers to do prefetching work.
There are three critical types of prefetching:
DNS-prefetching The practice entails resolving domains into IP locations in advance.
Link Prefetching If you assured that a user would click on a particular link to navigate to some page, you could apply this prefetching. The system is useful for stable user journey actions, like moving to the shopping cart page after one or several items added.
Prerendering This way means rendering an entire page or any elements of it in advance.
While prefetching is useful, it requires in-depth user behavior analysis in to make explicit assumptions.
Currently, a typical user demands web pages to load shorter than after 3 seconds. If you don’t satisfy this expectation barrier, you lose a lot of website traffic and, as a consequence, your revenue.
So, we suggest applying a simple yet effective website speed optimization approach:
- Check and estimate the key factors of website success, considering conversion, visibility, and usability.
- Test your current website speed and prioritize the pages and features that need the most attention regarding these three factors.
- Start your optimization with the several speed-reducing aspects and focus on the pages that define your conversion success the most.
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