8 Simple Tips for Speeding Up Your Website

Let’s face it: users want it, and they want it fast. Slower websites lose traffic and conversions. Even trusted and reliable sites lose traffic and revenue for delays on their site.

Website load times

Do you know what is slowing down your site? Is it coding, JavaScript, or something else? You don’t have to be a developer to know a few simple methods to reduce site loading time. Here are the top to-do’s to make sure your site is speedy.

1. JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the top offenders for slowing down a site. JavaScript is the fancy coding that allows your site to do cool, interactive things when users hover or click on graphics. It’s fun and exciting, and you could argue that it makes your site more user-friendly, but the bottom line is that it might be at the cost of speediness.

Search page speed

 

 

You can take the following steps with JavaScript:

  • Compress JavaScript by using tools like gzip compression or WordPress plugins.
  • Simply decide that some of those features aren’t adding enough value to be worth it and delete the code.
  • Put the JavaScript code at the bottom of the page so it loads last.
  • Put the JavaScript in .js files instead of embedding it in each page.

2. CSS

CSS works much in the same way as JavaScript. The Cascade Style Sheet is necessary coding because it tells your site how to look pretty, but it too can be reduced (such as with gzip or WP plugins). Google also recommends putting CSS into the head of the HTML document instead of the body, so that the web page doesn’t wait to load until the stylesheet is downloaded.

3. HTML Code

HTML coding can easily become longer than it needs to be, so just be conscious about keeping it to a minimum. Remove unnecessary code like comments, date stamps and white space. If you use gzip, that will compress HTML too.

4. Images

Here are some ways to reduce the time it takes for your site to load images:

  • Compress images (using a plugin or gzip), save the compressed version to your computer, and upload the compressed image to the site instead of the uncompressed version.
  • Scale images to the right dimensions for your HTML code before you upload them. Adjust the size of the image in a photo editor like Photoshop, save the image, and then upload it.
  • Enable browser caching
  • Combine images into sprites—one large image that contains a group of related images. Your site will only have to load one image, and you can use CSS coding to display the images separately on the page.

5. Your Server

Make sure your site is hosted by a fast and reliable server. There should be enough web space available to host your site and they should allow you to upload large files and images to your HTML—good signs that they have the bandwidth you need. If your web host is frequently down or is very slow to load, it will lose a lot of visitors.

6. Browser Caching

You can also control how your site is cached by search engines. Cached web pages will load faster. Instead of retrieving all of your site’s coding and etc. from the source, the search engine can load the site elements (such as images) from the browser’s cache. Obviously, this applies to return visitors. You can control caching by setting “expires headers”  or using a caching plug-in for WordPress. You can enable caching for JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and image files.

7. Redirects

It’s also a good idea to cache redirects, especially for redirecting users to the mobile-friendly version. Use a 302 redirect and set the cache lifetime to one day or however often you need that page to be updated. Try to minimize the number of redirects on the site, because sending the user from one URL to another takes time. Consolidate redirects as much as possible by making sure that one redirect only goes directly to the correct page, not to another redirected page.

8. Broken Links

Fix broken links and reduce 404 errors. 404 error pages take longer to load, plus they just create a lower quality user experience. Use an online link checker or WordPress link checker to help you find all of the broken URLs on your site.

Takeaway

Page load time graphic

Site speediness is essential for both search engine ranking and the user experience. You can tell whether your site is fast enough for users if you monitor conversions and bounce rates in conjunction with site performance. Use Google Webmaster Tools to monitor your site performance regularly.