One of the most important aspects of a good, successful website is simple: its speed.
Sure, other elements are very important as well, such as its design and layout, but without a speedy website, you will hear a lot of complaints and likely see a big bounce rate. In this blog post, I’m going to share my top tips for how to make your website load faster.
So, why is website speed so important?
It’s simple, really: visitors just don’t have the patience to wait for a slow-loading website. It might only be a few extra seconds, but it can be incredibly frustrating to wait for a website to load, when you could just as easily go to a similar website that loads faster.
In fact, most users will prefer speed over design. So long as your website has an intuitive, easy to use interface and layout, most people won’t be impressed by all the extra frills that you think make your website look better.
There are other important benefits to having a speedy website, such as:
- It helps improve your search engine ranking
- It can affect customer satisfaction – even one second can have a huge influence
- It has a big influence over website bounce rates
Ideally, you should try to test your website’s speed regularly, particularly if you’ve made any changes to it, or added a new plugin, for example. You can test it easily with a tool like Pingdom, or GTmetrix.
If you’ve tested your website and noticed it doesn’t load as fast it should, don’t despair. There are several things that you can do to remedy that, such as:
Implement a content delivery network
Content delivery networks (or CDN for short) deliver your webpages and all other web content to a user based on their physical location. Basically, these networks position servers strategically all over the world, so that the content is ‘closer’ to the visitor, and therefore shortening the content’s round trip time.
The result is a much speedier website, as much as 50% faster, and they even help with reducing the bandwidth you use.
They are particularly useful if your website has a global audience, or it gets a lot of traffic.
Check your plugins
The plugins you use on your website can have a big effect on its speediness.
There are two things that you should look out for:
- The number of your plugins: try to only keep your most important plugins, as having too many will definitely affect your website’s loading time
- Plugins with bad codes: some plugins have poorly designed codes that can affect your website’s speed. Try to check their reviews to see if it’s a bad plugin that is damaging your website
Images and their effect on your website loading time
The images on your website are likely using a lot of space, which can have a big influence on its loading time. In fact, large, non-optimised images are one of the most common causes of a slow website and they account for most of the space occupied on a website.
Images are extremely important, particularly if you also host a blog on your website. Most probably, you have at least a couple of images on each blog – after all, they make your website look better and they also make your visitors more likely to read and interact with your content. So, getting rid of them is definitely not an option.
Thankfully, all is not lost – you just need to optimise your images. In most cases, original images have very big file sizes, so a way to remedy that is to use an image optimiser and compressor, such as Optimizilla or TinyJPG.
You should also try to use JPEGs as file types for your images, as you can save them in different quality types. This way, you can choose the exact balance you want between their file size and their image quality.
As much as you might be tempted to focus on the design of your website, it’s important that you never forget about speed. Check your website regularly to monitor any issues with its loading time and use the tips and tools mentioned here to make changes and improve your website – it can have a big effect on your bounce rate and customer satisfaction, even leading to more sales. What are some of your best tips for optimising your website for better loading time?