Website speed can be one of the most important elements to increasing traffic and improving conversions on your website. Nearly half of all Internet users expect a web page to load within 2 seconds or less. Moreover, every 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. People in today’s day and age have a very short attention span and if your website doesn’t load quick enough for them, then you can expect to lose a lot of potential customers.
If you know that your website doesn’t load very fast, don’t panic, we’ve got you covered with some potential solutions to speed up your website. If you’re not sure if your website speed is up to snuff, paste your website URL in Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and they will let you know.
Resize your images for website speed
Let’s start with something simple, image resizing. Whenever somebody comes to your website they have to load all of the images that appear on the webpage they are landing on. This becomes problematic with certain site builders like WordPress, that allow you to upload images of any size.
If you’ve been uploading images without considering their size, chances are you have some gigantic pictures on your web pages that are slowing down load times. If you think that this could be a problem on your website there is an easy fix. Most photo editing software come with some ability to shrink the size of images to be more friendly to Internet load times.
If you’re on Windows you can resize your image in a free program like Paint, or on Mac, you can use Preview to resize images. If you have access to a more advanced photo editor like Fireworks or Photoshop you will have access to the “Save for Web” feature, which allows you to use a slider to reduce the size of an image and see the visual changes, as you do.
If none of those options work for you, there are also some free web tools available that will shrink your image for you. You can try Smush.it, TinyPNG, or search the web for a different tool to help you reduce the size of your images. Once you reduce the size of the images and re-upload them onto your website, you are sure to reduce the load times for future visitors.
Improve website speed with a CDN
A content delivery network (CDN) is a series of servers distributed across a large geographical area that helps deliver web content to the end user based on their location. In other words, CDNs help deliver web content to visitors faster by having the web content transition to servers closer to the end user.
For example, if you have a business based out of Canada, a visitor from Australia would have a lot longer load time because of the distance that the information has to travel. By using CDNs you can cut down on the amount of time it will take to load your web pages, by spreading the information across several servers around the globe.
Remove unnecessary plugins to improve website speed
Using plugins on your website can be a great way to customize your website and increase its functionality, but using too many plugins can really compromise your website speed and cause slow loading times. One case study found that the plugins on their website were contributing to 86% of their website loading time. By simply removing the plugins that were not necessary on their website and removing the plugins that contained giant scripts and styles, they were able to reduce their load time from 4.23 seconds to 1.33 seconds.
Take a look at the plugins you currently have on your website and determine which ones you absolutely need and which plugins might just be getting in the way. Remove the ones you don’t need and for the plugins that you are keeping make sure that they are high quality. Cheap plugins that aren’t updated can use a lot of large scripts that will cause your load times to increase, so make sure your plugins are up-to-date and made well.
Browser caching for website speed
If you want your website to load as fast as possible you’ll want to enable browser caching to your visitors. Browser caching is when a visitor is able to keep the downloadable files from your website stored in their browser. This way the next time that person visits your website the page will load faster, as they will only have to download the updates that have been made to your website because they already have the rest of the files downloaded. Browser caching not only cuts down on load times for all of your visitors, but it also reduces the amount of bandwidth that is used for both the visitor and the server side.
The easiest way to enable browser caching on your website is through plugins. There are many available, but you may want to check out WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, or WP Rocket first. Feel free to research your own browser caching solutions, but each of these plugins are proven browser caching options that accelerate website performance.
Pick the right web host to boost your website speed
Now I know what you are thinking, “Here comes the sales pitch”, but I promise you that I’m only here to inform, not to sell. Picking the right web host is one of the most important parts of having a fast and reliable website, so you need to do your research. In a study by Smashing Magazine, they found that the difference in response time from a strong dedicated server to a cheap web host went from 7 milliseconds up to 250 milliseconds.
Good web hosts constantly invest in their server architecture to ensure that every website on those servers is running at full speed. Taking your time and doing your research to see which web hosts have the best quality servers and services will save you a lot of headaches in the future. Of course, we would love for you to choose HostPapa, but there are plenty of other great web hosts available that you should check out. Take your time and find out what web host fits your needs best.
Time is money. And today’s Internet users expect fast performances from every website they visit. The average website loads in 3 seconds, but you should be aiming to have your website load even faster than that. Every second lost to load time is another potential percent of your revenue that you can kiss goodbye.
Increasing the speed that your website loads can be incredibly beneficial. Walmart found that for every 100ms of load time improvement, they see a 1% revenue increase. Follow the tips above and keep your website optimized to ensure that your visitors aren’t stuck on long loading screens.