Even the prettiest websites that people fall in love with at first sight can still get dumped in the end – and never to be visited again – simply because they don’t load fast enough. Most people online hate waiting. Do it once and you may be forgiven, but do it more than once and you’ll lose them for good. Search engines, especially Google, now also reward speedy websites very generously with traffic. To avoid unnecessary risks, follow the top 10 ways of speeding up your website listed below:
Ever Heard About Website Diets?
A website doesn’t have to consume a gigantic amount of web space to be beautiful, informative, and a visitor’s dream come true. In fact, for it to be perfect you need to make it as compact as possible. Focus on making every kilobyte of your website count!
It is now also important to have a specific ultra-light mobile version of your website, thanks to exploding mobile traffic, as the regular browser version of a website loads impracticably slow on a mobile or tablet. The browser versions of websites also usually don’t fit well on the tiny mobile screens which further makes dedicated mobile versions of websites essential.
Anything over 500KB for each page is a little too much. Consider using image compression tools like RIOT or SmushIt to optimize your images as usually images are responsible for high load time.
It is also important not to scale images in the image HTML tag. For example, an original image is of dimensions 500 x 600 and you have put “width” and “height” attributes in an “<img>” tag with values ‘300’ and ‘250’ respectively. This resizing of ‘width’ from 500 to 300 and ‘height’ from 600 to 250 would be done in the runtime which would, in turn, slow your entire website (now imagine multiple images being resized on a single web page).
Use Speed Testing Tools
Use free online tools like GTMetrix and Pingdom to figure out other ways to optimize your web pages along with figuring out the exact loading time of your website. Note your loading time after each change you make in your site to know in which direction that change is heading.
There are also dozens of paid online tools that generate audit reports of your website and give you valuable tips on what is causing your website to load slowly. Think of these applications as the ultimate way to create a lite version of your website without sacrificing quality!
Web Pages can be Compressed, too
If you love compressing your files in ZIP or RAR then you’ll probably love the fact that web pages can be compressed as well. One way of doing this is to make use of HTTP compression, which can reduce the size of your files by around 70%. Sometimes, it can be more. It really depends on how successful and strategic you are when it comes to compression.
GZIP compression also speeds up a website considerably and most hosting control panels (like cPanel) provide built-in options to enable gzip compression.
Optimize Your Code
Removing W3C validation errors related to your code also makes your code compile faster. It also makes your website cross-browser compatible and makes your website appear identical on all browsers.
*Note for beginners: Web pages are coded just like programmers code programs in different languages. Your browser only shows you the rendered output and not the code. (Open any web page on your browser and right-click in the empty space and click on “View Page Source” to view the code that rendered that particular web page.)
Reduce the Number of Round Trips Your Website Requires
Most components of your website require a round trip. Basically, this is the time spent in which data travels between your Internet browser and server – and vice versa. Obviously, the more objects you have that require round trips, the longer it will take for your web pages to load.
Prioritize What Web Browsers Prefer
Make Your Website Cache Friendly
Cache as much of your website’s data as possible! This will help your users’ browsers load your pages more quickly. With caching, you’re letting browsers remember stuff about your website – stuff that they’ll have quicker access to and an easier means of retrieving and reloading when users revisit your website.
There are various cache plugins and extensions available for almost all major Content Management Systems (CMS) which are absolutely free and quite powerful. Although do remember that a cache only improves the reloading time of a webpage (first-time visitors will experience no improvement in loading speed).
Use a Content Delivery Network
It is necessary to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for speeding up your website considerably. CDN service providers host your website files with them and propagate these files to their servers which are placed throughout the world. As a result, a visitor to your website gets the data fetched from a server that is present in the nearest geographical location, this more than halves your website’s loading time immediately.
Make Sure You Choose a Quality Web Hosting Service
Always go for well-reputed web hosting services providers without worrying about the marginal difference in costs. A good host would give you fewer headaches when issues would arise related to your website.
Remember, with your website’s services accelerated expect more interaction from your visitors. If you can’t respond to them as quickly, then you’ll still lose them to your competition in the end. Therefore do not forget to speed up your customer support also.
A fast website is extremely necessary to make a good impression on your visitors. A fast website also encourages visitors to spend more time on your site and to view more pages during each of their visits. On the other hand, no one likes a slow website no matter how useful it may be, would you wait for 60 seconds for Google Search to return a query? Certainly not!
Have you ever optimized your website for speed? Are you facing any issues? Let us know in the comments section below!