Let me ask you a question – as a user, how many times you have encountered a slow loading website?
Even if you have come across this situation at least once in your life, you might know how frustrating it can be for users to deal with a slow website, especially when they are in a hurry of getting some useful information, or willing to make a call to action on your site.
Page load times can drastically impact everything for your site, i.e., from how long users stay on your website to overall conversion rates. Even a delay of one second in page load time can yield 11% fewer page views, 7% loss in conversions, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
Now, imagine if your website page load time is delayed by more than one second, how much would it affect your online presence, ranking, and conversion rates. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a standard page load time to keep your visitors engaged with the content and convert them into potential buyers or users.
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In this article, we will talk about some fantastic tips and tricks that can be used to make your website faster. Though this post is completely focused on evaluating how to speed up your website, we will also talk about why your website is slow, and what is good site speed.
Why you have a slow website?
If you have checked the speed of your website (which can be done using Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, Pingdom, etc.), and found that your load time is pretty slow, then there could be multiple reasons behind it.
For example, if you have a poor server load time, a number of redirects that you have, or inappropriate image size. Well, finding the exact reason behind slow page loading requires analyzing your website properly.
It indicates that you can take multiple steps to improve your site speed depending upon the factors that mostly affect it. But, before implementing tips & tricks to improve site speed, how would you analyze a good speed for it. Let’s throw some light on what is good site speed.
What is good site speed?
To improve your site speed, first, it’s necessary to know what is an excellent page load time. As per Google reports, a good page load time is three seconds, but most sites are not even close to that. In a recent analysis conducted by Google for more than 90,000 mobile ad landing pages in 126 countries, around 70% of site pages took more than six seconds to display the visual content, and none of them were even close to three seconds.
It clearly shows that site owners need to put a lot of hard work in their website to meet Google standards, and if they achieve that, they will be well ahead in terms of providing a great user experience.
To analyze a good page loading speed for your site, you can take help from Google’s recommendations and benchmarks and set a goal for your website.
After setting a specific goal that is somewhere near Google standards, you can use the tips and tricks mentioned below to speed up your website.
How to make your website faster?
There are multiple ways that you can implement to make your website faster. However, here we will cover the most effective and useful tips & tricks.
Upgrade your web hosting plan
The first and the simplest way to make your website faster is improving your server or hosting plan. See, there are web hosts, and then there are excellent web hosts. But it is often noticed that when we start with our website, we often choose a cheaper plan and sign up for shared hosting.
When your website starts growing in terms of usage and content, it gets slower due to a poor web hosting plan. Thus, one good solution to this problem is upgrading your hosting plan. Though each web hosting plan has its own features and functionalities, you can choose a host that provide proprietary caching technologies, control over critical areas, or solid-state drives.
When you upgrade your plan, you don’t have to share RAM, Bandwidth, or CPU with anyone else. Also, you’ll get dedicated resources and higher bandwidth limits.
However, you can also opt for VPS hosting over dedicated hosting, as it is a more affordable and scalable solution.
Eliminate unnecessary HTTP requests
Most websites are slow due to multiple HTTP requests, which can be eliminated once you understand them. It is a stated fact that 80% of page load time is spent downloading different parts of a web page, such as graphics, images, scripts, and stylesheets.
For each element that you use on your web page, an HTTP request is made for them, so the more components you have on your page, the longer it will take to load the site.
To minimize the HTTP requests, first, figure out how many requests your site makes while loading, which can easily be done with the help of Developer tools present with most of the browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
Reducing or minimizing these requests will help you speed up your site. So, check for unnecessary HTTP requests.
Make use of caching
Page caching is exactly what it sounds like – it stores static files of web pages and allows visitors to access your web page more quickly. But there is one drawback to this trick; it works for repetitive visitors only not for first-time visitors on a new device. The reason being that your site needs to load at least one before caching does its magic.
If you’re hosting your website on WordPress or Bluehost or any other similar platform, then you can take help of plugins to enable caching. For example, WordPress provides free caching plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache that allow your site to store static files.
However, if you’re not using any of these hosting platforms, then you can configure your site for caching.
Use internet-friendly images
No doubt visual content makes a huge impact on user experience, but at the same, using high-resolution images can drastically slow your site speed. The larger the images, the slower the site will be.
So, what you can do is reduce the size as well as a number of images on your site, and if it’s possible, then try to eliminate extra photos. We are not saying to eradicate the images, as it will make your website boring, instead, optimize your images for better site speed.
For example, change the resolution of your site images to reduce their size, compress the pictures to increase the efficiency of image data storage, or crop the images to cut out unnecessary parts. To do so, you can take help from tools like Photoshop, Gimp, or even browser tools like picresize.com.
Minification helps you in removing comments, whitespace, non-required semicolons, and reduces hex code lengths. Whereas, Gzipping helps in finding all the repetitive strings and interchange them with pointers to the first instance of that string. Using both these techniques together will help you get better results for your site.
Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Apart from the server, there are other networks of servers that can be used to decrease load times on your site. When you host your site on one server, every visitor sends requests to the same server.
So, when a site encounters a high amount of visitors, the server will take time to process each request while slowing down the site speed for all the users.
Using a content delivery network can help you solve all these problems. A CDN is a network of optimized servers around the world that allow visitors to see your web content based on their geographic location. Thus, when a user’s browser sends a request to view your content, that request will be routed to the nearest server.
With a CDN, you can store JS files, CSS files, Images, and much more. So, if you’re not using a CDN, then it’s time to give it attention. The best CDNs available in the market are MaxCDN and Cloudflare. Purchasing a CDN will be expensive, but it comes with multiple benefits, so investing in it is worth it.
Cut-off external scripts
Though it is not a wise choice to eradicate all the external scripts, you can reduce them to speed up your website. For example, you can take help of Pingdom to analyze the scripts that are taking the longest time to load, and if they are unnecessary, you can remove them.
Also, if you have embedded videos and other media files from external websites, it might negatively affect your site speed. To fix this, you should request external scripts from reliable and fast websites.
Remove extra baggage from your Site
By extra baggage, we mean things like images, plugins, external scripts, etc. We already discussed some of them in this article, but there are still many components on a website that makes it slow, removing them will definitely help you speed up your site.
Some common example of extra baggage are:
- An excessive amount of database stored on a server, especially in e-commerce websites
- Multiple backups generated at the server level
- Unnecessary plugins, themes, page revisions, media libraries, etc.
To get rid of extra baggage, you need to check your site every often and do a manual overhaul. For instance, you can remove the spam comments or trackbacks, store media files in PDF format on an external platform, or use plugins like WP-Optimize that allow you to clean up your database more efficiently.
Using these tips, you can quickly make your site faster. But there is one more thing that you’ll have to consider if not now, then surely in the future – cross-browser compatibility of your site.
Let’s consider that your website is fast enough to load web pages, and start getting high traffic, but if it’s not functioning properly on every browser like Chrome, Firefox, and IE, then there is no benefit of having a faster website. This is because a user can access your website from any browser and each browser renders a site differently, so if your website is not compatible with every browser that visitors use to access it, then you might lose on high traffic.
Thus, ensure browser compatibility of your site across all targeted browsers, you can use LambdaTest Selenium Grid – a cloud platform that allows you to test your website across a combination of multiple browsers, OS, and devices.
Site speed makes a huge impact on user experience, ranking, as well as business revenue. And if your website is not fast enough, you might lose all these components. Therefore, make use of the tips & tricks mentioned in the article to enhance your website speed. Also, consider testing your site for functionality and essential factors that help in improving user experience.