In this day and time, we move and live in a fast-paced world. When new technology is released, we jump to the chance to own it. It’s I want or I need it now! Guess what? Same applies to accessing or visiting websites…visitors want to quickly get to what they are searching for and the last thing you want to have is a website that loads up slowly. It’s a good way to lose your visitors quickly! You want them to at least stay on your site for a minute or two. In a case study by Akamai, nearly half of web users expect a website to load in two seconds or less. If it doesn’t load within three seconds, well users tend to leave the site. What really stinks about this is that visitor will take their business elsewhere. That you don’t want to happen!
So those two or less seconds DO make a difference. Don’t risk your website being loaded down with unoptimized images or files. With that said, here are five ways you can optimize your website for it’s best possible speed and performance:
1 – Browser Caching
If you want your website to load quicker, you will want to enable browser caching for your visitors. Caching is when a visitor is able to keep the downloadable files from your website stored in their browser. Browser caching not only reduces load time for all your visitors, but it also reduces the amount of bandwidth that is used for both the visitor and the server. The best and easiest way to enable browser caching for your website is to install plugins (for WP sites) W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache or WP Rocket. Otherwise, I suggest you do a search for your own browser caching solutions for a non-WP website.
2 – Choose the Right Web Host That Provides High Performance Server Speed
When choosing a reliable and inexpensive hosting provider, consider one that really prides themselves in assuring your server is running at its optimal speed. If it means you spend a little more per month or per year for a hosting plan, then it may be the difference between losing a potential client or customer, which means money lost. There are a lot of hosting companies available on the internet, but be sure you do your homework and choose the best one based on reliability, speed and just choose cost as the last factor. You would be surprised how many offer all the bells and whistles, but will be the cheapest. This is not a promotion that I will benefit from, but I would recommend one of the top hosting providers I work with and that’s SiteGround.com. Check them out, but look at others too of course.
3 – Remove Unnecessary Plugins to Improve Website Speed
Go through the plugins on your WordPress website and delete the ones that are unnecessary to improve your website speed. Installing too many plugins on your site can comprimise your speed, causing really slow loading times. Remove the ones you don’t need and for those plugins you do keep on your site, make sure they are of high-quality and they are consistently updated. Plugins that are not updated can use a lot of bandwidth that will cause your load times to increase.
4 – Resize or Compress Your Images for Better Website Performance
It’s no surprise that larger images take longer to load on the web. Use smaller files and fewer of them when you’re loading them up to your website. While it’s easy to resize an image via CSS styling or using the image editor within your WordPress media library, resize or compress your images BEFORE you upload them.
Even after you’ve reduced the image file size, I would suggest you also compress them, before sending it to the user. Most web servers will allow compressing of files with a utility called gzip. Gzip will take all of the files on your site, compress them into a much smaller size before sending them to the user’s browser. Here is a list of available online image compression tools available to choose from.
According to IMPACT, “If you find yourself using large images, especially for hero images, run them through an optimization software like Compressor.io or Image Optimizer. Keep all your images below 150KB, nothing above 1920px in width, at an average/medium/72dpi quality level. Any larger and you’ll notice the images loading very late after the page renders as well as the slow response times to user behavior.”
5 – Your Website MySQL Database May Be Too Slow
Most websites rely heavily on content that is stored in a database. While databases are great to have, they can be inefficiently organized or could have a number of bad queries. If a user has to wait several seconds between each query, this starts to add up. This is especially true for an e-commerce site that has a lot of products and you need to store them so they’re easy to access with just one click. For example, if a user doesn’t find a specific product they like right away, they will likely leave the site without purchasing. To help, here is a good step-by-step guide on how to get started with a MySQL database.
In conclusion, if you follow the above guidelines (and there are more if you dig deeper in your search), chances are, you’ll cut your website load time in half or more and you most certainly will improve the speed of your site. If you have any questions on anything listed above, leave me a note in the comments box below.