Optimizing speed site creates the first impression of your business. It is important to understand that you will not get a second chance. Slow website loading speed is one of the most annoying things that distracts people from their goals.
High performing websites lead to high conversion rates, low bounce rates, higher conversion rates, and high search engine rankings and better user experience.
Slow sites will cost you money and ruin your reputation.
By reducing page load times, you will have a positive impact on your marketing and sales processes. You will get more traffic and attract more qualified customers who can be converted into customers.
In this article, we will give you guidelines for improving your site's performance and page load times.
Importance website speed optimization.
Page load time is a metric of web performance that shows the time it takes for a page to display on the user's screen.
Let's take a look at how website speed optimization affects the key factors for website success:
Conversion. Conversion website is an important factor in the success of your business, which means that your visitors should do what you want them to do.
For example, they'll buy your product, sign up for a newsletter, register for a webinar, or download a guide.
The faster the page loads, the higher the conversion rate will be. According to Hubspot research, a 1 second delay means a 7 percent drop in conversions.
For example, slowing down a page by 1 second could cost Amazon $ 1.6 billion.
Visibility ... Your site's load time also affects how easily users can find your site.
Site speed is one of the factors that Google takes into account when ranking sites. A low-performing website has a poor user experience and gets less promotion in search results as a result.
Usability. The usability of a website, such as page speed, load times, and the responsiveness of a website to user requests, directly affects customer loyalty.
The better your site works, the more satisfied the user will be. A great user experience is a way to build a large customer base and a strong brand.
Ways to measure the speed of your site.
Before you start optimizing your site's speed, you must determine the current load time and determine what is slowing down your site. Next, you must set performance goals for your site.
The recommended page load time in 2018 should be no more than 3 seconds. According to Google's research on average mobile phone speeds by industry, only a handful of websites come close to the recommended speeds.
Thus, if you optimize your site's speed to an acceptable level, you will gain a significant ranking advantage over your competitors.
Ways to Optimize Website SpeedThe ones listed in this article are very different, and sometimes solving one problem can have a negative impact on another aspect of your site.
This is why we recommend analyzing website speed after each change to determine which actions give the best results.
There are several performance assessment tools worth trying:
- Google Pagespeed Insights is a free tool from Google that runs a performance test on your site and provides performance recommendations. Works for both desktop and mobile versions.
- Pingdom It is also a great tool for testing website speed with a number of useful features. It tracks the history of your website's performance, makes data-driven recommendations on how to improve website speed, and generates clear reports.
- YSlow also gives recommendations for improving page performance, draws statistics, and summarizes all components.
- Performance Budget Calculator Is a free tool that helps you figure out what type of content you can use to get your site performing optimally.
Recommendations for speeding up your site.
Once you've checked the speed of your site, you can start optimizing it. There are many ways to make your site run faster, and we've compiled a list of the most effective ones.
1. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a collection of web servers distributed across different locations that deliver web content to end users based on where they are.
When you host a website on the same server, all user requests are sent to the same hardware. For this reason, the time it takes to process each request increases. In addition, loading times increase when users are physically far from the server.
With a CDN, user requests are redirected to the closest server. As a result, content is delivered to the user faster and the website is faster. This is a rather expensive but effective way to optimize load times.
2. Move your site to the best hosting.
There are three possible types of hosting:
- Shared hosting
- Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting
- Dedicated server
It is important to choose a fast web host to provide the best optimization. When using shared hosting, you share the processor, disk space, and RAM with other sites that also use this server. This is the main reason why shared hosting is not as fast as VPS or dedicated server.
Virtual Private Servers and dedicated servers are much faster.
VPS uses multiple servers to distribute content. With a VPS, you share the server with other users and have your own part of the virtual server where your configurations don't affect other clients.
If your site has average traffic or you have an e-commerce site with traffic surges during certain periods, VPS will be the best solution for you.
The most expensive hosting option is to use a dedicated server, which can be your own physical server. In this case, you pay the rent for the hub and hire a system administrator to maintain it.
Another approach is to rent a dedicated cloud resource from AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, or another public cloud provider.
Both approaches can also be combined into a hybrid cloud. With dedicated servers, all resources are yours and you have complete control over them.
3. Optimize the size of the images on your site.
Everyone loves attractive looks. In the case of successful e-commerce sites, images are a vital part. Lots of photos, images, graphics on your product pages improve engagement. The downside to using images is that they are usually large files that slow down the site.
The best way to reduce image size without compromising image quality is to compress images using tools like ImageOptim, JPEGmini, or Kraken. The procedure may take a little time, but it will be worth it.
4. Reduce the number of plugins.
Plugins are common components of every site. They add specific features suggested by third parties. Unfortunately, the more plugins are installed, the more resources are required to run them. As a result, the website is slower and may cause security issues.
Over time, the number of plugins grows, although some of them may no longer be used.
We recommend that you check all installed plugins and remove unnecessary ones. First, run performance tests on your page to see which plugins are slowing down your site.
Site speed depends not only on the number of installed plugins, but also on their quality. Try to avoid plugins that load a lot of scripts and styles, or generate a lot of database queries. The best solution is to keep only what you need and keep them up to date.
These requests are processed by the visitor's browser individually and slow down the site.
6. Use site caching.
In the case where many users access the page at the same time, the servers are slow and take longer to deliver the web page to each user.
Caching Is the process of keeping the current version of your website hosted and submitting that version until your website is updated. This means that the web page is not displayed over and over again for every user. The cached web page does not have to query the database every time.
The approaches to caching sites depend on the platform on which your site is developed. For example, for WordPress, you can use the following plugins: W3 Total Cache or W3 Super Cache.
If you are using a VPS or dedicated server, you can also configure caching in general settings. In the case of a shared server, website caching is usually not available.
7. Implement Gzip compression.
Gzip Compression is an effective way to reduce file size. This minimizes HTTP requests and improves server response times. Gzip compresses files before sending them to the browser.
On the user side, the browser unpacks the files and presents their contents. This method can work with all files on your site. You can enable Gzip on your website by adding a few lines of code, or using the gzip utility.
8. Optimization of the database in the CMS site.
Database optimization is an effective way to improve performance and speed.
If you are using a Content Management System (CMS) filled with complex plugins, your database size increases and your website becomes slower. For example, WordPress CMS stores comments, blog posts, and other information that takes up a lot of data storage space.
Each CMS requires its own optimization measures, and also has a number of special plugins. For WordPress, for example, you might want to consider WP-Optimize.
9. Reduce the use of web fonts.
Web fonts have become very popular in web design. Unfortunately, using web fonts has a negative impact on page rendering speed. Web fonts add additional HTTP requests to external resources.
The following steps can help you reduce the size of your web font traffic:
- Use modern WOFF2 formats for modern browsers;
- Include only those character sets that are used on the site;
- Choose only the styles you want
10. Detect 404 errors.
A 404 error means "Page not found." This message is provided by browser or search engine hosting when the page content no longer exists.
To detect and fix 404 errors, you can use error detection tools and plugins.
As we mentioned, additional plugins can negatively affect the speed of your site, so we recommend running the resource through external error detection tools. For example, Link Sleuth by Xenu , Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) and 404 redirected plugin for WordPress.
After you've found all 404 errors, you need to evaluate the traffic they generate.
- If these broken links no longer generate visits and therefore never consume your server's resources, you can leave them as they are.
- If these pages are still receiving traffic, consider setting up redirects for external links and fixing link addresses for internal ones.
11. Reduce website redirects.
Website redirects create additional HTTP requests that negatively impact performance. We advise you to minimize or eliminate them altogether.
First, you must identify all redirects on your page by running a site crawl. You can use Screaming Frog to quickly identify redirects. Then you should check if they serve the necessary purpose and leave only the critical ones.
12. Use prefetching techniques.
Prefetching entails reading and executing instructions before the user initiates them. The technique is fairly common.
This works well if you can anticipate user actions and, for example, load some content or links in advance. Generally, modern browsers allow prefetching by default because they assume patterns of user behavior.
However, UX professionals and engineers are more likely to understand user behavior and provide "hints" to browsers for prefetching.
There are three main types of prefetch:
- DNS prefetch. Practice entails resolving domains to IP addresses in advance.
- Preloading links. If you are confident that a user will follow a specific link to navigate to a page, you can apply this type of prefetch. This method is useful for stable user actions, such as going to the shopping cart page after adding one or more products.
- Pre-visualization. This approach means preliminary rendering of the entire page or some of its elements.
While prefetching is effective, it requires deep analysis of user behavior in order to make accurate guesses.
Conclusion. How to optimize website speed?
Currently, the average user expects web pages to load in less than 3 seconds. If you don't address this waiting barrier, you will lose a lot of website traffic and, as a result, your income.
So, we recommend taking a simple yet effective approach to optimizing site speed:
- Spend Site audit... Check and evaluate the key factors for site success, considering conversion, visibility, and usability.
- Check your site's current speed and prioritize the pages and features that need the most attention in relation to these three factors.
- Start optimizing with the fastest performing aspects and focus on the pages that most determine your conversion success.
✓ How important is site speed?
Page loading speed directly affects its traffic and conversion.
✓ What is CDN and how does it affect speed?
It is a collection of web servers that serve web content to end users based on where they are located.
✓ How to reduce file size?
Using the Gzip Compression utility. Pictures can be reduced with special programs to optimize the size of the images.
✓ Why and how to optimize your WordPress database?
To improve performance, the database can be optimized using the WP-Optimize plugin.
✓ What are website optimization techniques?
Website optimization is the process of using tools, advanced strategies, and experimentation to improve the performance of your website, further increase traffic, increase conversions, and increase revenue.
✓ What determines the speed of a site?
There are 2 main aspects needed to understand page speed in the context of user experience and website performance.
An estimate of the time taken to deliver the requested material, along with the accompanying HTML content, to the browser.
Browser response to page load requests.
✓ What is page speed optimization?
Your page speed is technically the time it takes to fully load the content of a specific page on your website.