People do not like waiting around, and it has been proven that visitors to your website are highly likely to leave if each page takes any more than a couple of seconds to load up.
The speed of your website is an important factor when it comes to ranking highly within search engines and giving your visitors the best browsing experience. Here are a few techniques that you can use in order to help keep your website speeds at optimal levels whist never compromising the user experience.
Naturally having many large, high-quality images on a page will increase the time it takes to load. Try to keep the file size of your images as small as possible whilst ensuring the quality isn’t distorted. For example, when publishing an image you should consider;
- The image format (JPEG for large colourful photographs, PNG’s for logos and smaller graphics)
- Colour Depth (Keep It as low as possible but without noticeably degrading the quality of the image)
- There are also a number of online applications that will compress images for you i.e. SmushIt
Minify your website code
You do not want your website to be bogged down with unnecessary code.
So it is important to keep it minified. Therefore it’s important to try and avoid any unneeded space or line breaks and try to keep the code as small and efficient as possible. Google provides a PageSpeed Insight Tool that will identity poor lines of code and offers improvement recommendations for your website. This can be done for both desktop and mobile devices in order to find out how your website performs across multiple environments.
Quality website hosting
There are many different companies that offer website hosting at varying levels of performance. You can use online comparison sites to determine which website hosting companies will offer the highest speeds.
Switching to a faster host can give your website a considerable speed boost, to improve your site online ranking and improve customer satisfaction.
Cloudflare offer increased security for your website which can help prevent it from being crippled by a DDOS attack, this can be very helpful if you run a large website. They also provide access to their content delivery network (CDN) which can offer an improvement to your website’s overall speed. CDN’s are a network of servers that are distributed around the world and are responsible for sending the website data to the end-users. Cloudflare has a wide range of CDN servers which reduces the distance data needs to be sent and can lead to an improvement in the response time of your website.
When you enter a website your internet browser will send a request and download any images or CSS that are present on the page. Without caching this will happen every time you re-enter the website and will greatly increase the loading time of the site. However, caching can be used to help get around this problem. Your web browser will store some of this content within a cache, so if you load a page for a second time the images and CSS will already be downloaded and ready to use.
There is a range of different caching plugins you can download for WordPress and they will allow you to configure which areas of your website should be cached for improved response time. Caching can also be done at the server level with quality website hosting providers. Allowing you to add multiple caching layers to your website however beware caching can sometimes cause unexpected issues with certain features and applications.
Therefore it’s important to always consult with your website developer prior to making any significant changes.