A slow website can hurt your business in many ways. In a day of instant gratification, users want their content fast. A slow loading website can negatively impact your conversion rate, bounce rate, and overall search engine ranking. Fortunately, there are quick and easy ways to fix a slow website. For those of you using WordPress, plugins are also available to improve your speed too.
Slow websites negatively affect your sites User Experience (UX). The user experience is fairly self-explanatory, but in essence your goal is to make the website journey as easy and smooth as possible. This includes having call-to-action buttons placed strategically, having clear navigation, easy to read font and more. One of the most important aspects is speed. Just think back to the last time you had to visit a slow website and how annoying it was.
How to Tell if My Website is Slow?
Fortunately, there are a lot of free resources that will tell you how fast your website is. Sites like Pingdom, GTmetrix and WebPageTest will all provide an analysis of your site speed and performance. Once you have recognized you have a problem you can begin to follow some tips on fixing that.
Before we dive into it, here are some terms you may need to know:
- CSS – coding language that is the structure and style of your webpage
- Caching – storing a copy of a website so when it is requested again it is easier to load
Tip 1 – Large Media Files
A good website has pictures and in some cases videos. Sometimes, the highest quality images are usually large files and can slow down your website. However, you do not have to completely get rid of images. Instead, you can compress the files so it doesn’t take up as much space. You can use an online tool like TinyJPG, or if you have a WordPress, you can use a plugin like Smush Image Compression. Videos on the other hand are better hosted externally. You can post a video to YouTube or Vimeo and then embed the link onto your page which will help improve your load speed.
Tip 2 – The Lack of a CDN
A content delivery network (CDN) is great especially if users of your website are far from your main server. A content delivery network has multiple servers placed in different geographical locations. For example, if your website is hosted in Vancouver but you have users in Europe or Asia, you can use a CDN in Paris or Hong Kong to give those users a faster experience. Copies of your website are then stored onto the server, otherwise known as caching, making it quicker to load for users far from your main server. Not only will a content delivery network cache your website but it can also help protect your site from page spammers, bots and DDoS attackers.
Tip 5 – Bulky Site Code
A slow website may also indicate bulky code. Bulky code is one that has many unnecessary elements. Any code that is not being used or does not serve a purpose does not need to be there. Such things can include characters or line breaks that just aren’t needed. Fortunately, you are able to chop off some of the excess code without going to a programmer. Some WordPress plugins you can use include Autoptimize and Fast Velocity Minify. Both options will help reduce unnecessary code and help you speed up your website.
Bonus Tip – Too Many Plugins
The final bonus tip to ensure your website is fast and keeping up its performance is to keep plugins to a low number. Plugins are great and can take your WordPress website to the next level and the best part is you don’t have to add in any code, but use them sparingly. Too many plugins or even just a few big plugins can really slow your loading times. This is due to the added code as a result of the plugin. Don’t keep adding plugins because they are cool – really think about how you want your website to be or consider if there is another way to add the same functionality without the plugin. Just remember, users want a fast website.
A slow website is frustrating. Users want their content fast otherwise they will leave before consuming any content you have to offer. By testing your website, you will have a good idea if your website is fast enough. Implement these tips and you should certainly see an improvement in your website’s speed which means more conversions and better rankings!
If you enjoyed this content and are looking for more WordPress specific content you can find more blog posts here. Check out our shared hosting plans if you are interested in starting your own fast speed website.