Speed is everything. And that’s especially true when talking about the internet. Everything has to load fast. Every second matter. When a page loads a few more seconds than normal, people have a tendency to leave.
The ideal page load time is three seconds or less. If your site is not performing up to standard, it’s time to make some changes. But site speed does more than scare off potential visitors. A slow site will negatively affect your SEO performance.
Google factors in site speed in its search algorithm. If your pages don’t load fast, you have a lesser chance of ranking for the keywords you’re targeting. You certainly don’t want that to happen.
Tips on improving site speed
So what can you do to stop your site from slowing down? Here are a few quick tips.
1. Look at your database
One way of reducing page load time is by optimizing your database. You can do so by adding an index. This index will allow your database to comb through information faster. The index will radically narrow down the data for your database.
For WordPress users, you would want to look into removing garbage content. These include unnecessary content, comments in the spam queue, post revisions, and items in the trash section. If you’re not going to use them, might as well get rid of them altogether.
2. The right hosting or server
Finding the correct server is crucial. This will determine just how fast your website will load. Find reputable hosting companies by looking at customer reviews. Some hosting companies will be better than others. Make sure you make a comparison among WP hosting companies.
3. Ease up on using iFrames
HubSpot’s definition of an iFrame is as follows: “An iframe is an HTML document that is embedded inside another, such document on a website. In other words, an iframe can be used to insert a piece of content from another source into a webpage.”
How do you insert iFrames into your site? You do it when you embed a video from YouTube or other video streaming sites. When you add social media sharing buttons, you also introduce iFrames to your site.
iFrames tend to render your site to a crawl. It’s best to avoid embedding altogether if possible. They will only slow you down.
4. Reduce the size of images
There’s no need to have all your images in high resolution. The larger your images are, the longer it will take to load. If you have software like Adobe Photoshop, it could be done in rather quickly. But if that’s not available, there are image compression tools online that are free to use.
The file format used also plays a factor. JPGs are the go-to file format for most people. They are smaller in size. PNGs should only be used for icons, illustrations, and other images that require a higher resolution.
Overall, you should just use fewer images, so it does not cause your site to slow down.
5. Look into using caching
Websites load faster if you use caching. The basic concept is to let the computer remember all the components that had already been loaded. This includes text, images, and other elements. When you go to another page on the same website, the computer will only load parts of the page that wasn’t before.
Take the footer for example. Almost all the pages in the website will display the same footer. Once the browser stores it in its cache in case you need it again. So when you go to another page, the browser will just load from the there.
WordPress users have many caching plugins at their disposal. You also have the option of making redirects cacheable.
6. Lazy Loading
Lazy loading is a technique where a web page only loads sections that are visible to the user. As the user scrolls down, that’s the only time the rest of the page is loaded. If you’re using WordPress, there are a lot of WP plugins for lazy loading to happen.
7. Find and remove 404/410 errors
If you put a link in your post that leads to a page that’s no longer working, that causes a 404 or 410 error. That can slow down your site a bit. The best way to resolve this is by scanning your site for broken links. You can use a tool like Xenu Link Sleuth, a free, downloadable program.
8. Content Delivery Network
Another way of improving site speed is using CDN or content delivery networks. What they do is store a copy of your website on multiple servers. That way, when someone tries to access your site from halfway around the globe, they can retrieve the site information from the closest server to them.
This, however, can only be done by paying companies like Amazon. If you don’t have the budget, you may have to put this off for a little while.
9. CSS should be on top
10. PageSpeed Insights
You’ll be amazed by what PageSpeed Insights can do for you. This service is a free tool by Google that analyzes your site to see areas to improve. After each scan, it provides you a list of action items and explains what you need to do to improve the site.
You can use PageSpeed Insights to check your mobile performance as well. And if you want, you can even use PageSpeed to check on your competitors and learn from the mistakes they’re making.
11. Say no to redirects
There are situations when redirecting is unavoidable. But they must be kept to a minimum. Adding redirects will add latency. How do you cut back on redirects? Avoid linking to pages you know would redirect users to another page on your site.
12. Clean up your code
Do your best to keep your HTML code as clean as possible. If that is not your strength, you have tools that could minimize your code for you. In WordPress, for example, you have a tool called Autoptimize.
Web designers/developers should get into the habit of using shorthand coding. Having fewer declarations and operators will result in faster load times.
13. Don’t add too many plugins
It’s very tempting to install plugins, but you should have a limit. For example, you shouldn’t have that many analytics tools installed in WordPress. Some plugins have features that are unnecessary anyway. Limiting the number of plugins will also give you better control of your site in the long run.
14. Google Tag Manager
The Google Tag Manager compresses all the marketing tags you’re using into one line of code. Not only does it clean up your code, but you also get to manage your marketing tags from one place. It also lessens the need to mess with the code directly. Any changes you make from Google Tag Manager will automatically be reflected on your site.
15. Mobile breakpoints
Do you notice how sites on your mobile devices automatically adjust to the best configuration for your screen? These are possible through mobile breakpoints. If your page does not enable this feature, the user will experience sluggish loading times.
If your CMS offers themes with multiple breakpoints, consider switching to one of those.
16. Do not remove the trailing slash
Did you know you’re introducing a 301 redirect when you remove the trailing slash? The trailing slash is the slash at the end of a URL. When linking to your site, you want to use http://yoursite.com/ instead of http://yoursite.com so that it would load faster.
While the effects of a 301 redirect will not be noticeable for most people, every second count.
17. Optimize videos
Images are not the only media you can optimize. You can optimize videos as well. It starts by choosing the right format. MP4 is the best format to use because of its small file size. If the sole purpose of the video is to play in the background, remove the audio track. Use a program that can compress the file size like Adobe Premiere.
Be smart about the video runtime. Make it as short as possible.
18. Ask for help
When all else fails, you can always reach out to your web hosting provider for suggestions. They can assess and decide what needs to be done to make your pages load faster. If the issues can be resolved on their end, they would probably handle it for you.
Having a slow site will increase your bounce rate. That’s why it’s important to address all the issues that contribute to a slow website. Some of the changes you’re going to have to make will be easy. However, some steps might be more laborious than you’d care to admit.
If you’re having trouble, the hiring an SEO expert might be the right call. They have experience in dealing with these issues. In fact, some of them specialize in this very topic.
We hope that these tips would help you speed up your sites and give it the boost it deserves. Remember to backup your site if possible before making any significant changes. This is so you could revert it in case something goes wrong.