The internet offers a lot of alternatives to website speed. But some methods are too technical to understand and can be quite difficult to learn. Fortunately, there are alternative ways that are easy to do and don’t require high technical skills to accomplish.
Before we go into the details, let’s have a quick look at what is the average website speed index of the different types of industries in the US according to Google:
- Automotive – takes an average of 6.3 seconds to load
- Consumer Packaged Goods – takes an average of 6.6 seconds to load
- Finance – takes an average of 5.9 seconds to load
- Healthcare – takes an average of 5.4 seconds to load
- Media and Entertainment – takes an average of 5.5 seconds to load
- Retail – takes an average of 6.3 seconds to load
- Technology – takes an average of 6.7 seconds to load
- Travel – takes an average of 6 seconds to load
The best practice is 3 seconds or less. Google even aims for less than 2 seconds. Looking at the list above shows that most websites are above the best practice benchmark. This means that if you can improve your website’s speed, you can get a huge advantage over the rest of your competitors.
You can also improve your website’s mobile experience which has been said to have an average of 22 seconds. Mobile optimization is crucial to consider since people using mobile phones are growing in numbers every year. And by improving your website speed, you also help improve the user’s mobile experience.
What does a faster website bring you? There are many advantages to having a faster website. Whether you use the website for your business or for your personal use, a faster website allows you to:
- Improve the user’s browsing experience
- Decrease user bounce rate
- Speed up mobile site performance
- Grow your website traffic
- Improve SEO positioning
- Reach marketing goals
- Increase conversion rates
- More revenue for businesses
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits you can gain from fixing your website speed. It plays a pivotal role for whatever purpose the website is being used for. Now that we have a good idea of why the loading speed of your website is really important, here are the things you can do now to start improving your website’s performance.
Optimize Your Images
One of the common reasons behind any website’s slow loading speed is unoptimized images. One large high-resolution image can immensely impact your website’s loading speed making it slower or at times even unresponsive. Even when you have scaled down your image, it can still increase the size of your web page causing slower loading speed.
Another cause is the image format. Different types of image formats contribute to the file size. A good example is when comparing a JPEG image file with a PNG or GIF image file. Using the same image and the same image size, you will see the JPEG has a smaller file size compared to the other file types. Anything above 1MB is not recommended.
Replace Flash Content
Flash content is a great tool for adding interactive media to your website. However, flash files are usually large in file size. And from what we’ve learned, having a large file size on your website will surely impact your website loading speed.
You can reduce the size of your Flash files. Or better yet, remove them altogether. You can try using HTML5 as an alternative to Flash content. Your page loading speed will improve dramatically. Aside from that, another good reason to remove them now is that they will no longer be supported by Google Chrome by December 31st, 2020.
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Having broken links can be detrimental to your website. It leaves a bad impression when users see that Error 404. Moreover, they could leave your site in a split second. You can use Google Webmaster Tools, Ahrefs, and Screaming Frog SEO Spider to do a complete and in-depth audit of all your links. Once you have 0 broken link results, you will notice faster loading time and better responsive pages.
Although, ads are a great way to monetize your website they should not compromise your website’s performance. Too many ads can slow down your website’s loading speed. Users are not happy seeing too many ads as well and they immediately leave.
Advertisements ads to HTTP requests which is the common factor for the slow response of the site. Additional HTTP requests would require additional processing time. An example is the rich media ads. These are the auto-downloads, pop-unders, or interstitials. They make hundreds of HTTP requests causing your website to respond very slow. Use the ads only when you need to. Properly positioning them across your web pages can help. Although there are no limits on how many ads you can put on one page, limit to at least 3 ads per page.
Reduce HTTP Requests
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Enable gZIP Compression
Apply Caching Techniques
Caching is an incredible way to improve a website’s speed performance. Which explains why this is well known and has been proven effective. So, if you have not applied this technique to your website yet, you could be missing out big time.
Caching allows you to store commonly used data points in the cached memory. Any succeeding requests for the same content will be served from the cached memory. Therefore, the data retrieval process is faster. Try implementing browser or HTTP caching and server-side caching. You will experience a big difference in the performance of your website.
Minify your stylesheets
Excessive white spaces, empty new lines, inline stylings, and unnecessary comments could cause your website stylesheet to increase in size. To reduce your website size, try to remove the unnecessary elements. It will help compress the code, enhance the overall page loading time, and you may even boost your SEO performance too.
Another tip is to use inline CSS and use a single stylesheet instead of creating multiple ones. Several online tools can also help you clean and minify your stylesheets. Otherwise, you can seek the help of an IT professional.
Use a CDN
CDN or Content Delivery Network is where you can host your media files the help speed up your site. Oftentimes, you can save up to 60% bandwidth. It also reduces the number of requests your website makes by more than half.
Your files will be hosted across a large network of servers across the globe. So, when a user from another country visits your website, this user will be able to download files from the server that is closest to them. Thus, your website loads faster.
Choose a Good Hosting Service
Perhaps you did all the things listed here to improve your website speed but the speed is still not close to your expectations. Have you thought that it could be due to your website hosting service?
Sometimes cheap hosting services are not worth the stress and the precious hours spent trying to fix your website loading speed. Maybe switching to a better website hosting service can resolve all your website performance issues. Here are a few tips when choosing a good hosting service provider:
- Website migration is supported
- Intuitive account interface
- Offers performance optimization services included in their hosting plans
- Provides regular and automatic server backups
- Can provide up to 99% uptime
- Has effortless and easy website recovery process
- 24/7 customer service
- Satisfactory security options
The importance of having a faster website speed cannot be taken for granted. Right now, many other people try to get their websites faster as well. It makes you think that it is a race. And you are not exactly wrong. Luckily, it’s not too late to start. You can begin with our list and see the incredible improvement of your website speed.
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