24 May Slow Websites Lose Visitors. 7 Ways to Speed Up Your Website
No matter what type of website you have, it’s important that it loads fast. According to statistics, if it takes more than three seconds for a page to load, just over half of visitors will leave it. Another statistic shows that pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, as opposed to pages that take five seconds to load that have a bounce rate of 38%.
When you take the statistics into consideration, it’s easy to see why your goal should be to have a website that loads in under 2 seconds. Not only will a fast-loading website increase your conversions but it will also help you reduce your bounce rate as well as help you improve your search engine rank.
But, if you want to speed up your website, first you have to know how fast it loads and what exactly it’s causing it load slow. To test your website speed, you can use GTmetrix or Pingdom Tools. Both websites will give you an overview of your page loading times and show you where bottlenecks happen and which resources are slowing your website down.
Ways to increase speed
Once you have your page speed result, it’s time to make changes that will help you improve your website load times. Below are seven ways that you can speed up your website which address the most common website load time concerns.
Browser caching with a tool like WP Rocket
One the most common warnings you will see when you test your website speed is to leverage browser caching. In layman’s terms, browser caching refers to your browser using a web cache to store images, text, styles, scripts, and other assets from websites you frequently visit in order to display them faster instead of downloading those assets from scratch each and every time you visit a page.
Usually, most websites will mark those assets to expire after a week which means your browser will have to re-download all those assets all over again. By leveraging browser caching you can prolong the time the browser stores those assets. An easy way to do is to use a caching plugin like WP Rocket which allows you to set specific period in days, months or years to store the cache locally for your website and thus improve how fast your site loads.
Image resizing and compression
Images are often, the biggest culprits when it comes to page loading times. To solve this, you need to resize and compress images before uploading them to your website.
First, make sure you’re saving images in the correct format. Use JPG for photographic images like portraits, landscapes, or your company offices. Use PNG for your logo or any background pattern, icons or lines.
Second, make sure you save images in the actual size that’s needed for your website using a photo editing software like Photoshop.
Lastly, use a tool like Imagify or ShortPixel to compress the image size. Both Imagify and ShortPixel offer online tools that can help you compress images as well as a WordPress plugin that will help you compress images that are already uploaded to your site.
Replace Vimeo, YouTube videos, and Google maps with thumbnails on the home page
Assets such as videos and Google Maps can be quite resource-heavy on your website. When you embed them, they make HTTP requests every time your website load. These extra HTTP requests slow down your website.
An easy solution to this is to use thumbnails instead of videos or Google Maps and link those images to the corresponding Vimeo or Youtube video or a Google Map.
Use a quality hosting plan
Shared web hosting is the most popular and the most affordable option for hosting your website when you’re just getting started. However, shared hosting can also contribute to slow loading times as many hosting companies do not have the best and the most modern resources.
As such, upgrading your website to a quality hosting plan is strongly recommended. While it’s true that a quality hosting plan will cost more, it will also help you speed up your site which then leads to better conversions and more revenue.
If you’re looking for a quality WordPress host, WPEngine is a great host to consider. They offer managed WordPress hosting which means they will take care of the technical details of managing your site and improved security features as well as various performance features so you can rest assured your website will be safe as well as load fast.
Quality WordPress theme
Another way to speed up your website is to use a quality WordPress theme. Nowadays, there is no free and premium WordPress themes that offer a plethora of features. The problem with those features is that most people will never use them. This means your theme has a lot of extra code which makes the size of your pages bigger which then leads to slow loading times.
A quality theme won’t be bogged down by extra features and code you will never need or use which means it won’t slow down your website.
Use a CDN
Disable scripts not needed on the home page
For example, if you’re using Contact Form 7, you only need those files to load on your contact page. You can use a plugin like PerfMatters to selectively disable scripts on an individual post and page basis.
If it becomes too much to optimize your site speed and performance, let us handle it. Take a look at our website care plans and get in touch with us today.