High-performing websites translate to a high number of visits, low bounce rates, higher conversions, engagement, higher organic search rankings, and a better user experience. Slow websites will cost you money and damage your reputation. By reducing page load time, you will have a positive impact on your marketing and sales processes. You will get more traffic and attract more qualified leads that can be converted to customers. In this article, we will give you recommendations on how to improve your website performance and page load times.
Importance of website speed optimization
Page load time is a web performance metric that shows the time needed for a page to show on the user screen.
Let’s take a look at how website speed optimization influences the key factors of website success:
- conversion -Website conversion is a big factor in the success of your business, which means that your visitors are doing what you want them to do.
- visibility-Your website loading time also influences how easily users can find your website. A poor performing website has a bad user experience and therefore gets less promotion in search results.
- usability– Website usability such as website page speed, load time and website responsiveness to user requests has a direct impact on customer loyalty.
How to rate your website speed
Before you start optimizing your website speed, you need to calculate your current load time and find out what is slowing down your site. Next, you need to set your website performance goals. The recommendation for the page load time in 2018 should be less than 3 seconds. According to Google’s research on average mobile speed across all industry sectors, only a fraction of websites come close to the recommended speed.
Therefore, if you optimize your website speed to an acceptable level, you will gain a significant ranking advantage over your competition.
Guidelines to Speed Up Your Website
Once you’ve tested your website’s speed, you can start optimizing it. There are many ways to make your website run faster, and we’ve created a list of the most effective.
1.Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A content delivery network is a collection of web servers spread over various geographic locations that deliver web content to end users based on their location. When you host the website on a single server, all user requests are sent to the same hardware. With CDN, user requests are redirected to the closest server. As a result, content is delivered to a user faster and a website runs faster. It is quite an expensive way, but quite effective to optimize the loading time.
2.Move your website to a better web host
Three types of accommodation are possible:
- Shared hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
- Dedicated server
Shared hosting– The most popular type of hosting used around the world is shared hosting. It’s the cheapest way to get your site live in no time and for a small fee. Choosing fast web hosting is essential to ensure better optimization.This is the main reason why shared hosting isn’t as fast as VPS or a dedicated server.
Virtual private servers and dedicated servers are much faster. VPS uses multiple servers for content distribution. With VPS, you share the server with its other users and have your own part of the virtual server where your configurations do not influence other clients.
The most expensive hosting option is to use a dedicated server which can be your own physical server. In this case, you pay the server rent and hire a system administrator to maintain it.
3.Optimize the size of images on your website.
Lots of photos, images, and graphics on your product pages enhance engagement. The downside to using images is that they are generally large files that slow down a website.
The best way to reduce image size without compromising quality is to compress images with tools like ImageOptim, JPEGmini, or Kraken. The procedure may take a little time, but it is worth it. Another way to reduce the size of the image is to use the and attributes of sensitive HTML images that adjust the size of the image according to the user’s display properties.
4. Reduce the number of plugins
Plugins are common components of every website. They add specific features suggested by third parties. Unfortunately, the more plugins installed, the more resources it takes to run them. Over time, the number of add-ons increases, although some of them may no longer be used. We recommend that you review any add-ons that you have installed and remove any that are not needed. First, run the performance tests on your page to find out which plugins are slowing down your website. The speed of the website depends not only on the number of plugins installed, but also on their quality. The best solution is to keep only the necessary items and make sure they are kept up to date.
6. Use website caching
Caching is the process of storing the current version of your website on hosting and presenting that version until your website is updated. This means that the web page is not processed over and over again for each user. The searched web page does not need to send database requests every time.
Approaches to website caching depend on the platform your website is built on. For WordPress, for example, you can use the following plugins: W3 Total Cache or W3 Super Cache. If you are using VPS or a dedicated server, you can also configure caching in your general settings.
7. Implement Gzip Compression
Gzip compression is an efficient way to reduce file size. Minimize HTTP requests and reduce server response time. Gzip compresses the files before sending them to the browser. On the user side, a browser unzips the files and presents the content. This method can work with all files on your website. You can activate Gzip on your website by adding a few lines of code or by using a utility called gzip.
8. Database optimization in CMS
If you are using a Content Management System (CMS) with complex plugins, the size of the database grows and your website runs slower. For example, the WordPress CMS stores comments, blog posts, and other information that takes up a large amount of data storage. Each CMS requires its own optimization measures and also has a number of specific plugins. For WordPress, for example, you can consider WP-Optimize.
9. Reduce the use of web fonts
Web fonts have become very popular in web design. Unfortunately, the use of web fonts has a negative impact on page playback speed. Web feeds add additional HTTP requests to external resources.
The following steps will help you reduce the size of your web font traffic:
- Use modern WOFF2 formats for modern browsers;
- Include only the character sets used on the site;
- Choose only the styles you need
10. Detect 404 errors
A 404 error means a “Page not found”. This message is provided by the host to browsers or search engines when the displayed content of a page no longer exists. Once you’ve caught all 404 errors, you need to evaluate the traffic they generate. If these dead links do not bring any more visits and therefore never consume your server resources, you can leave them as is. If these pages still have traffic, consider setting up redirects for external links and correcting link addresses for internal links.
11. Reduce redirects
Website redirects create additional HTTP requests that negatively impact performance. First, you need to identify all the redirects on your page by running a site scan. You can use Screaming Frog to quickly identify redirects. Then you need to check if they serve a necessary purpose and leave only the reviews.
12. Use prefetching techniques
Read-ahead involves reading and executing instructions before a user initiates them. The technique is quite common. It works well if you can anticipate user actions and, for example, load content or links in advance.
There are three main types of pre-registration:
DNS prefetching. The practice is to resolve domains to IP addresses in advance.
Link Prefetching. If you are sure that a user will click a specific link to go to a page, you can apply this type of prefetch. The method is useful for stable actions in the user journey, such as going to the cart page after adding one or more items.
Pre-rendering. This approach involves rendering an entire page or certain elements in advance.
Improving a website’s performance can be difficult, especially with the huge differences in devices, connectivity, browsers, and operating systems, but it will have a significant positive impact on your business if your business matters. on your website as one of the main channels to reach your customers.
Also, keep in mind that this is a process that does not have a clearly defined start and end point. You don’t need to implement all of the suggested changes today. Take the time to review the results of the monitoring tool, make changes to the website, and then compare the performance before and after the changes.
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