In the internet world, few truths are as universal as “having a speedy site leads to success.” If your site doesn’t load promptly, users won’t stick around to learn what you’re about. In most cases, that visitor never comes back. Slow loading also sends a negative signal to Google. If your site continues to load slowly, and users keep bouncing, your organic search rankings will severely decline. Between these two blunders, you’re leaving a lot of traffic and potential revenue on the table.
Here are four ways to reduce your site’s loading speed.
Use Open-Source Monitoring Tools
If you have a tech team with coding know-how, a resource like Sitespeed.io gives your developers a way to measure site performance while retaining rights to your data. It’s also considerably cheaper than using a third-party analytics software or creating your own dashboard.
Optimize Your Images
Today’s internet is an aesthetically fascinating place to spend time, but site owners can quickly stifle their efforts by bogging their site down with images in large file sizes. Images comprise most of the downloaded bytes on a page. Per Google, several factors go into a site’s proper image optimization. These include resolution, image formatting, quality settings, responsiveness, and compression. Google offers an image optimization checklist and best practice for serving responsive images for sites to follow.
Ever wonder why a particular website seems to load instantly, even when your internet connection isn’t that great? The site’s page elements have been cached, or temporarily stored on your hard drive. When you enable caching, users only have to download a handful of the page’s features. This cuts a page’s loading time drastically. Many visitors clean their cache regularly, so you won’t reach everyone with this strategy. However, it’s sensible, straightforward and can instantly improve your page-loading time. Among the plugins and tools available for this are W3 Total Cache for WordPress, FastCGI Cache for Drupal and Nginx servers.
Vet Your Plugins
Whether you’re running a blog or selling custom furniture online, development projects are time-consuming and expensive. For many sites, it doesn’t make sense to hard code features on their own. For this reason, plugin popularity has surged. With one click and download, your images could be compressed, your links redirected, or your code minified. The process is so simple it’s easy to go overboard and download too many plugins.
When you have more plugins than you really need, you have additional layers of space on top of your site. You see, plugins take up space, too, and they don’t all function the best with each other. Having too many plugins can lead to glitches on your site and even security issues. Even if you don’t think you have a lot of plugins, it’s worthwhile to see how their functionalities overlap and whether the plugins are maintained and updated. You can use a tool like Upstream to test the compatibility and configurations of your plugin to ensure nothing you’re using is slowing you down.
Learning the ways to reduce site loading speed is an ongoing practice. Myriad factors play into the health and performance of a website, and they’re not all immediately discernible. These four strategies above can help you when it comes to optimizing your page speed performance. If you’re truly serious about consistently topping your competitors in mobile and web search though, consider enlisting the help of a web and/or mobile development team to improve the speed of your site.