Expert Tips For 9 Ways to Make Your Website Super Fast
If you’ve used the internet at all, ever, then you have at one time, or another found yourself on the end of a slow-loading website. It’s a frustrating process for the end-user, and you’ll have either found your user experience to be dramatically compromised, or you’ll have surfed off somewhere else instead. And if the slow-loading website is your site, please bear in mind that not only will users have done exactly as you would in the situation, but it will have negatively impacted the effectiveness of your SEO. So whatever end of the process you are on, poor website speed will make your life harder.
If you want to avoid this negative impact, you, therefore, need to find a way of having a responsive website and ensuring it stays at the optimum speed for as long as it is in existence. This means knowing the right tricks to prevent lagging, and the following nine pieces of advice are an ideal place to begin.
Don’t use shared hosting
Affordability is a significant advantage of shared hosting. However, that advantage comes with a trade-off, and this is seen most clearly in speed. It is cheaper and faster when you first build a website to host it on shared servers, so that’s what many people do. As your website grows, the available bandwidth stops being enough, and website optimization suffers. If you want things to grow and work cleanly, pay more upfront for VPS or managed to host – potentially through a dedicated WordPress plan – and you’ll see the benefits.
Manage your images
It’s probably not a shock to you to learn that the most data-heavy sections of your website tend to be the images. Do you remember accessing websites over dial-up internet, and how any site with many images would take forever to load? Well, just because we’ve got faster internet, that doesn’t make it any smarter to have many big images. Ask yourself three questions about each image on your website:
- Does that image need to be on the site?
- If so, does it need to be as big as it is?
- If so, does it need to be as high-res as it is?
The fastest thing would be to have no images on the site, but it’s understandable if you don’t feel that can work. So make the images you do have as efficient as possible – cut out extraneous space in the images, and compress them if they don’t need to be high-resolution.
Audit your plugins
For WordPress users, plugins can make life much more convenient, but they come at a price for site performance. To make a long story short, they use many files, and therefore a lot of information, to do the jobs they do. And when you carry out a website audit to see what’s holding things up, you’d be surprised how often a plugin is an answer. You can’t avoid them altogether, but you can manage the number you use. If there is a workaround to using a plugin, use the workaround. And if you haven’t seen the benefit of a plugin in the last three months, get rid of it. It isn’t essential.
Study HTTP requests
A primary reason why sites load slowly is that they make too many HTTP requests and/or that the requests they make are too large. Using a speed test tool, you can check each page on your website to see how many requests they are making and how much each of those requests are slowing down your website. Ask yourself if these requests are doing anything essential and whether they could be streamlined to demand less information.
Use minification to optimize CSS and JS files.
Not just minification, but Gzipping, too. These are handy processes that ensure the most efficient operation of CSS and JS on your site. Using the right tools, you can use minification and Gzipping to eliminate unnecessary code and commands on your website and gain an immediate advantage in terms of loading speed and efficiency of the site. There are plenty of tools for your use out there, and the best digital marketing agency will be able to help you with choosing and using the right ones.
Use caching to help repeat visitors
This tip necessitates that you attract repeat visitors to your site because caching isn’t that useful for first-time visitors. But it is worth enabling caching, either in your code or using a plugin (this is one case where a plugin is certainly worth it). If your site enables caching, things like images and other data-heavy elements will only need to load once. On repeat visits, they will be stored and readily appear again to ensure a fast website.
Fewer external scripts
External scripts make HTTP requests, and – you’ve guessed it – this slows down your website. However, some external scripts are generally indispensable. You need to consider which ones are most important to you. Do you need the “Tweet this page” icon? Is the visible visitor count something you can’t live without? No one’s going to tell you to use no external scripts at all, but be critical about their use – if it’s non-essential, is it worth slowing your site down for?
Look at content delivery networks
This is a more advanced tip than others but is worth adopting if you intend for your website to grow and be viewed worldwide. Essentially, a CDN allows requests to your site to be handled by one of a worldwide network of servers – and the nearest server will handle each request. This means that a viewer in Denmark doesn’t need to wait for a server in Texas to be pinged – so things like images, CSS, and other files can be accessed quickly and make a website faster.
Strip out unnecessary or outdated elements regularly
We’ve already talked about critically viewing your images and auditing your plugins. Still, each site merits a full-out Website audit 2-3 times a year to eliminate accumulated residues in the works. Loose pieces of code used for a specific purpose and now are no longer needed, revisions that have been saved for reference, spam comments that Akismet has caught: there’s no need to keep this stuff around. It takes up space and memory, so get rid of it to avoid a slow web page.
Using some combination of the tricks above – and any others that you can think of – it is possible to take a slow-loading website and make it move much faster. You’ll see the benefits in terms of traffic and SEO in no time.