How To Make Your Website Faster
Why Does Speed Matter? + 5 Easy Tips To Improve It!
I mentioned previously in my “How To Give Your Content More Power” post that 55% of visitors spend LESS THAN 15 seconds on your website? (Source)
Do you reallllllly want to waste those 15 seconds (or any of that time) on your website loading? Hell no. That’s like someone trying to come into your business, and you blocking the door.
Want to hear another scary statistic? Prob not….but….25% of visitors will leave a page in less than 4 seconds if it doesn’t load. (and you thought 15 seconds was bad…..)
Your website’s loading time doesn’t only affect your readers & potential customers….it also plays a role in your search engine rankings.
Why Does Site Speed Matter?
How do search engine’s work?
Search engines like Google have search-bots, kinda like robots that “crawl” the internet. These bots crawl the web to find new websites and web pages. They use links from page to page, to find and crawl more pages.
If your webpage takes a long time to load, than Google’s search-bots can’t crawl as many pages on your website. (Search-bots have an allocated crawl budget). So, if they can’t get to all of your wonderful webpages it can negatively affect your websites indexation.
Besides SEO….slow websites are just plain annoying.
And by annoying I mean….it’s awful for your website’s user experience.
I mean think about it, do you enjoy going to slow websites? No.
Sometimes, you don’t even stick around long enough to view the website because it’s taking too long to load.
So basically FASTER websites make user’s happy (Google loves when user’s are happy) & reduces the bounce rate. We all want that right? When user’s (and Google) are happy, we’re happy.
What’s Your Website’s Speed?
No other way to find out….ya gotta TEST that bad boy.
Run your page URL through GT Metrix.
GT Metrix is a tool that scans your webpage and gives you a free performance report. It will analyze your PageSpeed Score, YSlow Score, Page Load Time & Total Page Size.
After it scans your page, it will give you a score in each of the 4 areas mentioned above. Below your score, it will also give you recommendations.
(These recommendations are pretty generic and are based off of best practices. Some of the factors might be out of your control or might not specifically apply to your page. For more tests, monitoring & more features you could upgrade to a paid version of GT Metrix).
If you hover your mouse next to your score, it will show you an average score (of other websites that GT Metrix has analyzed in the past 30 days), to give yourself something to compare too.
So How Fast Should Your Website Be?
As fast as possible…..the slower your website, the more user’s abandon it.
People want their information & they want it now.
Alright, now let’s focus on the good stuff….speed.
One of the biggest speed factors is your hosting company & package.
Hosting is the foundation of your entire website….and usually, you get what you pay for. Most basic shared hosting packages have hundreds of websites, on one server, which can obviously result in slower page loads for each website. If your website is seeing a lot of traffic & has a lot of content, it’s extremely beneficial to look into a dedicated hosting company like WPEngine.
Besides changing your hosting company, what else can you do?!
Here’s 5 Easy Ways To Speed Up Your Website & Blog:
Optimize & Resize Your Images:
Huge images are usually the biggest culprit when it comes to slow webpages. By not optimizing your images, you’re making your user download a large file, for no reason.
When you’re creating images for your website or your blog posts make sure that you’re using the “Save For Web” option. This drastically reducing the image size. Also, run your images through an Image Optimizer app, to reduce & compress the file size.
EWWW Image Optimizer & WP Smush are good WordPress plugins for this.
If you need an image size reduced on your website….please, please, please don’t rely on HTML coding to do this. You’re making your user’s browser load that image twice now. Once for the original & again for the reduced size after the code alters it. (Imagine how big of an impact this can have on your site speed if you have a TON of images)
Best practice: Save your image for the actual size that you’re going to need it on your website. This will prevent you from using WordPress or coding to resize it for you.
Use A Caching Plugin:
What’s Caching? It’s the temporary storage of data to help your website load faster. Have you ever gone to a webpage for the first time & notice that it takes a little longer to load……only to come back to the same web page later & it loads at the snap of a finger….and you’re all like “woah, wtf?” – well that’s because of caching. Your web browser saved some of that webpages information like HTML pages, images & files, so that the webpage will load that data from the cache, instead of the server, to reduce the load time.
Now toss that extra functionality into a plugin for your website & BAM….who wouldn’t want that?I suggest either WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache for these.
Limit Your Plugins:
Plugins are great. They enhance the functionality of our websites, with a quick download. So why should you limit them?
Sometimes people go on plugin-binges. They start downloading & playing with a bunch of them to test them out & to find the right functionality their looking for. They’ll find the one they love and forget they downloaded a bunch prior to their favorite. NOW, every time a visitor comes to their website, their browser has to download allllll of the plugin files for their active plugins.
Every plugin is coded differently. Some won’t affect your page speed & some will dramatically affect your page speed.
So technically, it’s not the number of plugins that will directly affect your page speed, it’s the quality of the plugin.
How do you figure out which plugins are slowing down your page? P3 Plugin Performance Profiler plugin is PERFECT for this. Seriously.
It breaks down your plugins and lets you know WHICH plugins are slowing down your website, and by how much. This can help you determine if that plugin functionality is worth the extra load time or not.
Turn Off Pingbacks & Trackbacks:
This option is probably one of the easiest to do. Having pingbacks and trackbacks running on your website is a great way to keep track of who is sharing & mentioning your stuff on their blog….but having that little bit of insight uses up some of your speed power. In order to pull that information your website has to update that data on your post that was mentioned.
Turning off pingbacks & trackbacks won’t destroy the backlinks from other blogs, it will just save your website a lot of unnecessary work.
How do you turn them off?
On your WordPress Dashboard, click on “Settings” >> “Discussion” and uncheck the “
Be Careful With Ads:
Ads are how a lot of bloggers make money & there’s a financial benefit to having numerous ads on one page. But, the key is to find that balance between ads & page load times.
Script based ads can cause your webpage to load slowly (especially on mobile), which results in a poor user experience. If your visitors are unhappy with your page loading times, or the overall experience that your website presents them with…..they’re leaving & most likely never coming back.
What good are the ads, if people aren’t sticking around on your website long enough to see them?
Try it out. Try limiting your display ads & taking a look at your Google Analytics. Are you getting more pageviews? Is your bounce rate dropping? Those are clear signs that your ads were a little….distracting, to say the least.
Don’t know where to start?!
Images is one of the most common slugs.
Start swapping out your big, heavy images….with nice easy, breezy, compressed ones & you should start to see a difference in your loading times. (Don’t forget to delete the old ones out of the media library).
How fast does your site load?
Test it out, implement one (or a few) of these easy tips & retest it.
Let me know how these changes improved your website’s speed!
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