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10 Ways to Increase Your Site Speed

January 6, 2017

Amazon reported that every time they speed up their site for 100 milliseconds, their revenue is increased by 1%. After that, Google announced that page speed is one of the key considerations in how their system ranks search results. Since then, many studies have been conducted to show the benefits of having a fast site. But if you do a quick research, you will find a lot of technical jargon. Enable keep-alive? Minify CSS? Is it possible to make your site faster without having a degree in IT science? Of course, it is! Now let’s look at some simple solutions that you should consider.

1. Reduce HTTP requests

Studies have proved that every part of data on the web page makes the downloading time longer. An HTTP request is made for every script, image, flash, and so on, so the more components you have, the longer it takes to download. The simplest way to make your site faster is to do the following:

  1. Decrease the number of elements
  2. Decrease the image size or use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  3. Have simple scripts at the bottom of every page
  4. Choose one style sheet

 

Invest some time and effort in reducing the number of components on your site.

2. Improve Server Response Time

Every time you think about improving site speed, you should take care of the javascript and the elements being loaded from the server. Every time you load a Javascript, it takes time, especially if you run more than one script at the same time.

Speaking of images, some of them aren’t optimized for the site. You can reduce loading times by using CDN services. They may be expensive, but they help if you use a cheap hosting service.

3. Compress your site

Allowing compression is like putting your website in a small zip file. Compression will dramatically reduce the size of your pages and therefore increase speed. Simple compression can knock off up to 70% from your files. That’s a lot of data your users don’t have to download.

Compression can be enabled in the server settings, so everything depends on the web server and its settings. If yours is not among the most common ones and has some unique settings, contact the company to see how they can help you.

4. Browser Caching

Without browser caching, your users will have to download the same things every time they reload the page. Enabling browser caching allows you to store data from users’ computers, so they don’t have to wait for a page to load every time they use your site. How long their data will be stored depends on your cache settings and browser configurations.

5. Minify your files

When you analyze your download times and why your site is slow, one of the most common reasons is a lot of clunky Javascript files or improper loading of CSS. One of the downsides of content management systems and sites like WordPress is that a new CSS or Javascript is added every time you get a new plugin.

There are several solutions to this problem. The first one is about squishing your files into one – so instead of loading many javascript files, the site simply loads one file. The second solution on minifying is about deleting whitespace and reducing the size of the files. If you have a WordPress site, WP Minify is a plugin that will automatically do everything for you.

6. Take care of images

Images are one of the key factors of the slow website. The easiest way to optimize them is to properly scale them. Many people use huge images and then use CSS to scale them down. What they don’t know is that a browser still thinks it is a huge image that takes a lot of time to download.

For example, if you have an image that is 1000 x 1000 and you scale it down to 100 x 100, your browser still loads it as a huge image. Scale your images first and then upload them to the site.

7. Optimize Your CSS

When people visit your site, CSS is the first thing that is downloaded. Optimized CSS means people don’t have to wait for the site to download, giving them quicker access to your pages. So, how do you optimize the CSS?

First, check if there is an option for your CMS to minimize CSS. WordPress, for example, can’t optimize your CSS. So, you can use free online services to compress your site. Minimizing your files is a great way to reduce your loading times.

8. Prioritize above-the-fold content

You have already done a lot of things in order to improve the page downloading speed, but there is still one tricky thing to consider. You can improve your site speed by having top of the page load faster – even if other elements take several seconds to load. Split your CSS into several parts: an external part that you can defer and the internal above-the-fold section.

9. Reduce the number of plugins you use on your site

It’s tempting to use plugins, but a lot of them can slow your site, cause crashes, create security problems, and lead to technical difficulties. Remove plugins that slow the speed. If you don’t know which ones are the slowest, disable each of them, one at a time, and then measure the server performance. It will help identify which plugins are causing the slow speed of your site.

10. Reduce redirects

Redirects increase load time because they create more HTTP requests. If you have a quick site, most likely you have a website that you can easily optimize for mobile users.

Since online users demand better experiences, the temptation to use huge images, flashy Javascript, and analytics that weight down the site is growing. However, you can’t let it bog you down. A little effort will go a long way – remember, less than a second delay is all that is required to lose a lead.