Speed is crucial for the web
We all know having a well-designed website is incredibly valuable for a business. That said, it’s simply not enough for it to just look good — it needs to run well, too. Nowadays, with high-speed internet connections, people are much more sensitive to waiting/loading times on the web. As we’ve discussed before, fast-loading sites are crucial to retaining customers on your site for as long as possible. Put simply, there is very little tolerance for slow-loading sites. Here are a few tips to help keep your website loading time down and your customers’ attention up.
How To Optimize For Fast Website Speed
While there is an overabundance of different methods to fine-tune your website, we’ve listed a few surefire ways to drastically improve your website speed.
- Your Website Host
- Using a Premium Theme
- Image Optimization
- Content Delivery Network
- Caching Plugin
- Compressed Video
Having a website that’s up-to-speed is absolutely crucial these days. Not sure why? We’ve got it covered here.
#1 The Basics: Your Website Host
This is where it all begins. Having a reliable, high-speed host is the first thing to ensure you have. Typically, you get what you pay for when it comes to hosting. Cheap hosts will make promises of speeds they cannot deliver. Ensuring you have a premium host will allow for high-speed delivery of your website’s assets to everyone visiting your site. Even if there are multiple people visiting at the same time. Now that we have that squared away, we can focus on how you can optimize things on your end.
#2 Using A Premium Theme
When working with WordPress, it’s important to have a strong foundation before you get any deeper into speed optimization. Having a template or theme that’s poorly developed will have a bunch of unnecessary, bloated code. Having a poor theme will set you up for failure from the get-go. Even if it looks nice, or has great functionality, it doesn’t mean much if your end users bounce before they can even see it. That’s why we only use a premium-built theme. Divi, by ElegantThemes, is our theme of choice. It allows us to build websites from the ground up, with complete control over every aspect of the design with its highly in-depth, and frequently updated builder.
#3 Image Optimization
This is one of the biggest culprits for slowing down your website’s page speed.
Of course, having high-quality assets are crucial to making your brand shine. However, high-quality images are usually pretty large in file size. And by this we mean, both in dimensions and the amount of space they take up on a hard drive. Adding a images to a website without the proper optimization is an easily avoidable, yet commonplace problem. When images are uploaded without optimizing them for web usage, they’ll look great when loaded, but the enhanced file size will add on to the time it takes for people to load your site.
Apparently, size does matter. But fortunately for your website, the fix is pretty simple.
Think about this in terms of downloading. Obviously, a picture that’s 300kb will download faster than one that is 3mb. Of course, nowadays with high-speed internet connections, the time difference between downloading these two isn’t much — with a second or two of difference, at best. But as we mentioned before, fast-loading sites are crucial to retaining people on your site. A second may not seem like a big impact, but it is. For example, Amazon noticed a 1% decrease in sales revenue for every 100ms (that’s just 1/10th of a second!) a page took to load.
Now that we understand how crucial a few seconds can be, let’s think about image size on a bigger scale.
Try imagining if your website page has 6 images. Let’s also use the same file size from before, with one set of images being 300kb each, and the other being 3mb each. The total file sizes would now be 1.8mb versus 18mb. Now that’s a significant difference.
Using photo editing tools like Photoshop in conjunction with image compression is the ideal way to keep your images trim. However, if you’re not savvy with tools like Photoshop, don’t worry. There are great options out there like Imagify or Kraken.io. There are paid and free versions of these that will do the heavy lifting for you, and automatically optimize your images with fantastic efficiency. Do keep in mind to double-check the quality of the compressed image — sometimes, you need to make judgement calls on compression vs. aesthetic quality. This is why it’s usually preferred to do it manually, so you have full control.
Keeping your image sizes small ensures your website stays lean and loads quickly.
The other main consideration in image optimization is making sure your image dimensions are appropriate for your web page. Uploading an image with a size larger than what it will be displayed on the page adds additional “mental gymnastics” in the code of your website. This is, of course, in layman’s terms. What this means, however, is that larger dimensions add on to the load time for your end-user. Not to mention, larger images are typically larger in file size to boot, so making sure they’re the correct dimensions is a two-for-one.
Make sure your image dimensions are the size of their container.
#4 Have a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Put simply, a CDN creates a cached version of your website between where your website site is hosted, and where people access it from. It’s basically like having an extra access point for your Wi-Fi router. Naturally, since there’s less travel time between your website host and where your users are accessing it from, this results in faster load times. For taking your page speed to the next level, a CDN is crucial. This becomes a no-brainer when you can get a free CDN from Cloudflare.
CDNs take your website speed to the next level by reducing the distance traveled between your website host and your viewers.
#5 Caching Plugin
Website caching is one of the greatest unseen services for those viewing your website, and a major boon to your website speed. Client-Side Caching is a process your website browser already does. It saves the website in your browser after you view the first time, so when you come back you don’t have to redownload the site again. Having a caching plugin takes an extra step further. Without getting into overly-specialized language, having a powerful caching plugin allows you to use Server-Side Caching and compression feature unavailable otherwise.
For caching plugins, we use and recommend WP Rocket, the fastest ranked caching plugin available.
#6 Make Sure Your Videos Are Properly Compressed
If you’re working with video on your website, exercise absolute caution when it comes to compression. Video is a powerful medium with naturally dense file sizes. It’s easy for an uncompressed video to be multiple gigabytes in size. That said, it’s especially important to make sure your videos are the appropriate length, sized, and compressed correctly to avoid having extremely long load times on your website.
Fast Page Speed = Happy Visitors
There are many ways to improve your website’s page speed. Ensuring you have everything under wraps will make sure your customers don’t get irritated with waiting and bounce off to someone else’s site instead. After all, providing the best possible experience to your website users is the key to keeping them happy.
We also understand that this can be a lot to take in. Especially, if websites are not your specialty. That’s why we’re here to help.
Let us know if there’s any way we can help you get the speed your website — and customers — deserve.