Optimising your website’s speed will not only allow your website to be faster for your users but it will also be a ranking factor to where your website shows up on the search engines.
Having a slow website can frustrate your users so anything you can do to improve your websites page loading speed is going to improve their experience which will allow you to get them to take the action that you want them to, which is either a sale or to move them further along in the buying process.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the ways you can improve your website’s speed.
The larger the files on your website server the longer it’s going to take to show them to your end-users. The best way of cutting down on the time taken to serve these files to your users is to compress them through something called minification.
Remove bloated code
Above we mentioned removing code by minifying it, but in this tip, we would recommend looking through your website’s code for something called bloat. Bloat means code that doesn’t need to be there.
You will notice in your code that sometimes you may have repeated lines of code where an IF statement could have been used or something else along those lines.
Certain programming languages such as Ruby and Python stick to coding conventions known as DRY coding or Do Not Repeat Yourself. If you find that your code repeats it’s self you may want to refactor it so you can cut down on bloated code.
Bloated code, often isn’t created by you though and if you do find code that isn’t needed in your site you may want to find a better way of displaying your information. WordPress users in general should be aware of bloated code because the theme their website uses often is used for multi-purposes.
Multi-purpose themes contain different use cases so the end-user has options when displaying their data. This adds to your website’s code bloat. In this instance, you may want another website theme or you could get a custom one made too.
Don’t use too many plugins
Plugins can be essential on some websites but many small owners tend to use too many of them. The more plugins you use the more code that is going to be on your website which leads to longer load times.
Third-party plugins can contain code that you don’t need and in this instance, you can’t remove the code because you don’t know if it’s essential to the plugin.
David a technical consultant at Firewall Technical says that “If you can do without the plugin don’t use it and see if there is another way of completing the task at hand first.”
We agree with David, a plugin should be your last option if you cant figure out a way of doing something.
Use good hosting
A good host can serve your files up quicker while a bad host takes longer to show your data to your users. All of us want the best hosting possible but that costs money. So when looking for website hosting be sure to get the best hosting that you can afford.
Choosing website hosting can be a difficult choice so read what others have said about potential hosts and take that into consideration. Do they provide good support, do they have much downtime, are they secure and so many other questions should be asked before paying for hosting.
The right website hosting will make a big difference when it comes to the speed of your website so try your best to get the best you can afford.
Implement lazy loading
Images and videos take up much more space than plain text so naturally, they are going to take longer to load. If you are loading all of your media at the same time this will make the page look like it hasn’t loaded and your website will seem slow.
Using lazy loading can help with this. Lazy Loading only loads images and videos when the user scrolls to them. This takes some of the workloads off your website and the hosting and can make your website look more responsive while giving the user a better experience.
Use next-generation images
Next-generation images are smaller in file size while providing the same quality as the original images. The only drawback of using them is that they aren’t supported on all major browsers at the time of writing but soon will be.
Image formats that can be used include JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP. Using these image formats will improve your first content paint times and as a result, will give you a better page speed score with Google which we know is a ranking factor.
Using next-generation images along with lazy loading is a great way of improving your website speed and your user’s experience.
Use a CDN
A content delivery network or a CDN for short is a way of storing your website in multiple web servers. When a user then accesses your site content from the nearest server is then shown to them. A visitor from Germany would access a server in Munich while another visitor from Canada would access a server in Ottawa. Using a CDN will speed up your website considerably.
CDNs used to be expensive but they are quite cheap these days, some CDNs can even come free with your website hosting. If you are not sure if your host provides you with a CDN contact their support and they will be able to help you.
Use a cache system
Caches can come in many forms, some hosts have them on their servers while WordPress sites can have them through plugins. Using a cache system on your website will allow you to store and then show your users the most frequently accessed data to speed up your website’s page speed.
When adding new pages or new features to your website be sure to clear your website’s and server’s cache so everything shows as it should. Caching can sometimes not show new updates when developing a site so keep this in mind if your website is edited frequently.
Run page speed tests after every change
Improving your website’s page speed and your page speed score can be a little trial and error so be sure to test the speed after every iteration. As mentioned earlier in the article, some changes could break your website so be sure to test your site regularly too.
Page speed and user experience are at the front of Google’s mind this year and no doubt many websites will be left in the dust when they roll out their user experience algorithm. The tips above will help you improve on both so you should take the time to implement them.