17 STRATEGIES TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE SPEED
Do you want to increase the number of impressions, expand your audience, and turn the maximum number of visitors into real customers? Start by optimizing your website speed. This recommendation is based on reliable data: a delay in loading pages of a site by just 1 second reduces user satisfaction by 15% or more. 79% of potential customers will consider making a purchase through another resource if your website pages or checkout form load slowly.
To assess the performance of sites, the Google PageSpeed Insights tool is used, which contains a scale with green, yellow, and red sections that reflect the overall performance of an Internet resource. What if the tool doesn’t display the best results for your site?
If you are unsure how to optimize your site’s performance, we have prepared 17 strategies to reduce your page load time, which will ultimately increase your user satisfaction.
1. CONDUCT AN AUDIT OF YOUR SITE
Before making any changes that affect the speed of loading and processing content, evaluate the current performance of your site. You can do this with the PageSpeed Insights tool mentioned above, but you can’t neglect the real experience of the site: navigate from different devices and evaluate the speed of loading pages and content. The more information you have about your site’s performance, the easier it is to identify the underlying problems and fix them.
2. IDENTIFY THE PROBLEMS YOU NEED TO FIX FIRST
Once you spot the performance problems of your site, you will be tempted to fix them all at once. This will be your fault. Determine what aspects of your site are most important to your users in order to prioritize correctly. For example, if a website takes too long to load when navigating to it, focus on server-side issues: DNS, hosting provider. Even if the content of the pages itself loads fairly quickly, users still won’t want to wait if the loading speed of the site itself is depressing.
Also Read : WordPress Optimization, 2020 Simple Tips.
3. RATE THE QUALITY OF YOUR HOSTING PROVIDER’S SERVICES
As stated above, your hosting provider could be the culprit for poor website performance. There are several factors that affect the website loading speed: the geographical location of the servers, their capacity, the bandwidth of the network equipment. In addition, site performance depends on the type of web hosting used: virtual, VPS, or dedicated server.
Although in most cases shared hosting is the best option in terms of financial costs, its resources are distributed among several sites, and therefore performance decreases. A virtual dedicated server (VPS) distributes the resources of a physical server between several virtual ones to increase the performance of sites. But if the load on the server is too high, the page loading speed may drop. A dedicated physical server is significantly more expensive than shared hosting or VPS, but it provides the best website speed.
4. EVALUATE CDN PERFORMANCE
If all of the data required to fully load your site is stored on a single server, it negatively affects its initial loading speed and overall performance. A network infrastructure (CDN) contains multiple servers to store your content in multiple locations at once. When a user visits your site, the CDN selects the closest server to the user’s physical location to speed up the content delivery process. Please note that CDNs differ from each other, so you should consider multiple providers to choose the best one.
5. OPTIMIZE IMAGES
High-quality images increase the appeal of your site to end-users, but can negatively impact its performance (especially if you are using high-resolution images). Compress images before uploading to your site to save valuable time for your potential customers. Many image editors include a standard “save for web” feature that optimizes images for websites. There are also online services for compressing images of common formats: “.jpg”, “.png”, “.tiff” and others.
6. REDUCE THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REDIRECTS
Redirects are used to redirect a user from the page they visited a new page. They allow you to associate highly visited ranking pages with new content. What’s the problem with redirects? The more redirects a site has, the longer it takes to load, which ultimately worsens the user experience of your site.
Redirects are useful for getting consistently high views of new content. But, once your pageview target has been met, remove old redirects to shorten your site’s load time.
7. LIMIT THE NUMBER OF HTTP REQUESTS
Any HTTP request to download images, stylesheets, scripts, and fonts increase the overall load time of your site. As your site grows, the number of such requests increases. Ultimately, there is a significant delay between clicking on a link and actually navigating to a new page.
Some services built into the browser, such as Google Developer Tools, identify all HTTP requests made by a site. You can define obsolete or overly complex queries that can be eliminated or combined with other features to optimize loading speed.
8. COMPRESS CONTENT
By reducing the size of your files without sacrificing quality, you will improve the performance of your site. There are several powerful and reliable compression frameworks (like Gzip) that reduce file sizes without degrading the quality of the content. Find out what compression methods your hosting provider uses. If he neglects them, choose another.
9. USE DATA CACHING
The caching mechanism allows the browser to preload some of your site’s content to improve page loading speed. Some content management systems (CMS) use mechanisms to automatically cache the latest versions of sites and offer configurable options. If your site contains content that isn’t updated regularly, you can increase the caching time to improve performance.
10. TRACK 404 PAGE NOT FOUND ERRORS
Users receive messages with an error “404 – page not found” in two cases: if the requested page was deleted by you or moved (assigned a different address). Faced with this error, most likely the user will want to leave your site (and you will lose a potential client). You can eliminate errors using free tools that identify non-existent pages and remove “dead” links.
11. FOCUS ON MOBILITY
Fast mobile sites have become a necessity as the number of users browsing and shopping on mobile devices is skyrocketing. The easiest way is to leave the desktop version of the site and hope for the best. But the regular version of the Internet resource takes longer to load and is inconvenient to use on mobile devices. It is better to immediately invest in the development of a good mobile site or a responsive version with the maximum page load speed and the minimum response time to user actions.
12. OPTIMIZE YOUR CMS
A good content management system can improve site performance by optimizing content search and site performance as a whole. There are many free and paid CMS out there. Examine each one to determine which one works best for your site.
13. COMBINE KEY FILES
14. DETERMINE THE SPEED OF THE DNS SERVER
The longer it takes to receive a response from the DNS server, the longer the time delay between sending the request and receiving the first byte of information. You can determine the performance of a DNS server using special online tools. Please note that some hosting providers may also provide DNS services.
15. USE ASYNCHRONOUS LOADING
16. REDUCE THE NUMBER OF FONTS USED
Unique fonts are used to grab the attention of users. On the other hand, they have a negative impact on performance (especially fancy fonts that contain unique character sets). Reduce the number of fonts you use to speed up page loading and choose themes that are optimized for new browsers.
17. IDENTIFY PROBLEMATIC PLUGINS
Find plugins that are slowing down your site’s performance. Many plugins contain useful functionality and simplify site management. But they can degrade performance, especially if they consume a lot of resources or perform complex database queries. When working with plugins, stick to two simple rules: leave only those plugins that you really need, and install the most recent version, optimized for performance.
THE FASTER THE BETTER
The faster the site and its content load, and the faster it reacts to user actions, the lower the bounce rate and higher conversion rates. While a slow website won’t speed up significantly in a few minutes, you need to constantly work to optimize its performance, and any of the 17 strategies above will help you with this.