If your site takes forever to load, you can forget about attracting the kind of web traffic you want. Users are becoming less tolerant of slow load times as the average internet connection speeds grow across the globe. Additionally, Google gives higher positions in the natural search results to websites with faster load times. You must make your site speed a priority to show up higher in search results and keep your visitors happy. You will be well on your way to speeding up your website with any of the following seven tips:
1. Optimize Your Homepage to Load Faster
Perhaps the most important part of your website is your homepage since people will land there most often. To make sure it loads quickly, there are several easy things you can do. These include:
- Remove inactive widgets and plugins that you do not need.
- Show excerpts instead of full posts.
- Keep your homepage minimal. Visitors are not there for the hundreds of widgets. They want content.
- Your homepage does not need sharing widgets. Save those for your posts.
- Have fewer posts on the page: no more than seven.
Not only will a clean and focused homepage design load faster, but it will also help your page look better overall.
2. Optimize Images
Images help boost engagement by bringing your content to life. According to a recent study, readers are 80 percent more likely to read your content when you use vibrant visuals. Of course, your images could be hurting more than helping if they are not optimized. As a matter of fact, one of the most common speed problems we see with newer websites is non-optimized images.
We suggest that you use photo editing software to optimize your images for the Internet before you upload a photo directly from your camera or phone. These photographs can have large file sizes in their original formats. Yet, you can decrease the size by up to five times depending on the compression and image file format you pick in your editing software. For example, Photoshop is a popular editing tool that can significantly reduce your file size without compromising quality.
3. Utilize a Content Delivery Network
Content delivery networks (CDNs) are all the rage among the big blogs, including Copyblogger. CDNs are especially important if you are into online marketing using WordPress. They basically take all the static files you have on your websites and let users download them as quickly as possible by sending them from the closest servers.
There are several high-quality CDNs to choose from out there. If you want to keep your costs down, there is a free WordPress plugin called Free-CDN. Otherwise, if you do not mind spending a little bit to get something better as well as accountability, Max CDN is easy to use and offers video tutorials for getting set up in minutes.
4. Install a Caching Plugin
Most of our tips for speeding up your site are going to be WordPress-centric because that is simply the standard these days. WordPress pages are built on the fly each time someone visits a page or post on your site. WordPress has to run a process to build your pages that involves finding the needed info, putting it together, and displaying it to the reader. This process can be slow at times.
Therefore, we suggest using a caching plugin for your WordPress site. It will make your site up to five times faster. The caching plugin makes a copy of each page after the first load rather than going through the whole page generation process every time. The cached version of the page is then served up to subsequent users.
5. Do Not Directly Upload Your Videos
With most content management systems (CMSs), you can upload your videos directly to your website, and they will be displayed automatically in an HTML5 player. Sounds perfect, right? Think again! You will lose bandwidth when you host videos. Even if your web hosting plan includes unlimited bandwidth, they may still charge you overage fees or even shut your site down altogether.
On the other hand, you could leave all the hard bandwidth work to the big video hosting services, like Vimeo, DailyMotion, and, of course, YouTube. Most CMSs, including WordPress, make it easy for you to copy and paste your video’s URL directly into your post to automatically embed it.
6. Ensure Your Website’s Scripts Are Current
You may have to regularly check back to determine whether there are new releases of your website’s scripts depending on the e-commerce or CMS platform you are using. Upgrade your site as soon as possible when there are new scripts available. When it comes to site speed, site script developers are constantly working on improving their code for future updates.
Remembering to check for updates for your site can be a pain, especially if you are a small business owner with plenty on your plate already. Fortunately, you do not need to do this daily. Monthly run-throughs of your website and installation of updates should be fine. For WordPress websites, check the Updates tab on your dashboard.
7. Split Longer Posts into Multiple Pages
Posts that are more in-depth tend to be a favorite among readers. Your longer articles may even help you rank higher in search results. However, you could have slow loading times if you are publishing long-form blogs with lots of photos. Instead, you should spread your longer posts among several pages.
Additionally, as your blogs or articles grow in popularity, they will attract lots of comments. This is a double-edged sword. Sure, it’s nice to engage your audience, but loading all those comments will slow down your site. Again, you can solve this issue by breaking comments into pages. On WordPress sites, this is done by going to the Discussion tab within Settings.
If you can take advantage of the above ways to speed up your website, more power to you. If you still need help, let the highly skilled team of developers and designers at Landing Page Designers can help. We are more than happy to assist every step of the way.