12 Promising Ways To Speed Up Your Website
Website speed is crucial! Its significance is beyond its role as a ranking factor. A fast loading website not only ensures a better user experience but also triggers leads and increase conversions.
You will be shocked to know that more than 40% of the web users abandon a website, which takes longer than 3 seconds to load. And 70% of people never return to the website that is too slow.
There are numerous things that control how quickly your website will load and make available the content your users are looking for. Some of them are beyond your control such as the speed of your internet connection, network crowd, etc.
Let’s know about them one by one. But before that, don’t forget to check the page speed score of your site with Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool. Using this tool is exceptionally easy, you just need to enter the URL of your site in the bar and hit ‘Analyze’ button. The tool will analyze the content of your web page and will generate suggestion accordingly.
But before we start, check if your WiFi has a Valid IP Configuration, just in case, so that the cause of your slow website is not your internet connection. All jokes aside, let’s dig deep into speeding up your website.
Before displaying a web page, the browser has to render all its HTML. In this process, if the browser meets element which references a script and CSS, it has to stop. It requests the file and waits until it is downloaded from the server. This whole process can delay the website load time.
2. Make Use of Content Delivery Network
For numerous website owners, CDN (Content Delivery Network) has proved one of the most working tools to enhance website speed and performance. For those who don’t know, CDN is a group of web servers that are distributed over multiple locations to transport content quickly to users.
Which server will be chosen for the delivery of content is determined by the measure of network presence. For instance, the server with the lesser network hops and quickest response time is always given preference.
Indeed, content delivery network loads content from different servers depending on the user’s region.
3. Pick a Theme Optimized for Speed
It is not necessary that all impressive and eye-pleasing themes are well-coded and optimized for speed. Therefore, you should pay attention to speed optimization of your website theme.
Always go with a simple theme and pick the quality plugins to obtain features you require. Never go with the theme which is having unnecessary features, flashy animations, and complex layouts.
People running WordPress sites have plenty of options when it comes minimal yet elegant WordPress themes. If free WordPress themes are not able to fulfill your requirements, don’t hesitate to go with premium WP themes.
4. Decrease HTTP Requests
Yahoo says, 80% of a web page load time is consumed downloading the elements like scripts, images and style sheets. When an HTTP request is made for these elements, the page takes much more time to load.
Your very first step to minimizing your HTTP requests should be figuring out how many HTTP requests your website is making. In case you’re using Google Chrome, you may use the browser’s Developer Tool to check HTTP requests.
Just make the right-click on the page you want to examine and choose ‘Inspect’ option then hit the ‘Network’ tab. In case you’re not seeing the ‘Network’ tab, probably you need to expand the tool, which you can do by dragging the border to the left.
The column ‘Name’ will show all of the files available on the page while the ‘Size’ column will display the size of the file. ‘Time’ Column will show how long it takes to load a file.
In the bottom, at left corner, you will find the number of total requests the webpage is making. By reducing this request number you can speed up your site. Go through your files and check if any are not needed. Fewer files mean fewer requests. It will automatically enhance your website speed.
5. Enable Browser Caching
It is one of the most used techniques to speed up a website. When a user visits a web-page, browser caching stores all the resource files of a web-page on user’s local hard drive under the temporary storage. When the same user visits that web page next time, the browser loads the page without sending an HTTP request to the server.
By enabling browser caching, daily visitors coming to your site can access your site without sending HTTP requests. It can help you save a significant time of your returning visitors and offer them a better user experience. If you run a WordPress site, you may use the following plugins to enable browser caching.
Installing these plugins is exceptionally easy. You can install and activate them from the dashboard of your WP by just a few clicks.
6. Reduce Image Size
But have you ever thought, images can also play important in your site speed? If you don’t know how then let us tell you that large images can be real culprit for your slow loading website.
However, abolishing them altogether is not the solution, especially when you’re running a big data site that consists of a lot of images such as eCommerce site.
So, what is the option left for you? Well, you can compress the size of all the images available on your site. There are numerous image editing tools and applications available which you can use. Make sure to choose the one that reduces image size without decreasing the quality.
Before you choose an image reducing tool, don’t forget to check how big effect images are making on your site. And for the same, you can use Pingdom tool. According to a study, compressing or resizing images can result in a 70% cut in time to interact. Which means, your visitors would not wait too long to access your site.
The best practice to reduce image size will be cropping the image to accurate size outside the website. Don’t upload the image of 1500px wide and then set the width parameter. This way you are just adjusting the size of the image, but in actual your site is loading the full image that will slow the speed.
If you’re running your site on WordPress, you have plenty of tools to reduce the size of your images such as WP Smush, CW Image Optimizer, PB Responsive Images, Media File Renamer, etc.
7. Reduce Time to First Byte
Along with the amount of time it takes for your site to fully load, you must take a note of the amount of time, it is taking to start loading.
Time to first byte shortened as TTFB, measures the time your browser waits before getting its first byte of data from the server. According to the Google recommendation, it should be below 200 ms.
Most of the website owners often take it backseat, resulting in slow website speed. They often give importance to the factors that are in front of eyes.
When users access your website, their browsers drop an HTTP request to the server of your web hosting. This whole procedure goes through 3 steps which need to happen amid the initial requests and the first byte of data. These steps are – DNS lookup, Server Processing, and Response.
To check, how much time this process is taking, you can use your Chrome’s Developer tool. Don’t forget that sometimes slow internet connection can affect the response time.
If you want to access this information on Google’s Developer tools, make the right click on your webpage and then click the ‘Network’ tab and hover the mouse over the top item available in the ‘Waterfall’ column.
There are plenty of other third-party tools you can use such as WebpageTest. As said before, your time to the first byte should be under 200ms. If it is under this figure, it means your website is in a good shape.
In case, if it is not, it can be either web server configuration, network issues, traffic or network issues causing this.
Out of these 4 factors, you can just control Server Configuration & Dynamic Content Creation issues. WordPress plugins such as WP Super Cache can help improve your website’s TTFB by caching.
8. Abolish Unnecessary Plugins
Plugins let you bring necessary functionality to your site, but it is also true that plugins that are not in use can reduce your site speed to a great extent, especially if you’re using the CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
It is important to note that it is not just about the number of plugins you installed on your site, but about the quality as well.
On the whole, you have to avoid installing plugins that are notorious for loading a lot of scripts. If you are a WordPress user, you might want to read a post talks about Must-have WordPress plugins for 2018 available at premiumcoding.com.
9. Enable Expires Headers
The server response time plays a significant role in a website speed. If more requests are being made to your server, you will definitely experience slow website loading.
Expires Headers helps your user’s browser know when to request files from the server and when from their browser cache. When you configure Expires Headers, your user’s browser will request for a file once in a month and store it in the cache. Until the month is over, the browser will not request again.
It will automatically reduce the number of HTTP requests on your server and meanwhile limit the load on your server as the same file will not be requested again and again.
10. Install Google PageSpeed
Google PageSpeed is an amazing gift from the most popular search engine Google to enhance the website speed. It is an open-source server module, which helps you optimize your website speed automatically. Google PageSpeed makes the modification to your files and server and follows the best website performance practices.
If you keep the sound technical knowledge you can install Google PageSpeed yourself. If not? Take a help from your developer and web host.
11. Eliminate the Error 404
You won’t believe, but sometimes missing files causing 404 errors can be responsible for slowing down the website load time. This error usually occurs when you try to reach on a web page that is not available on the server.
To check such wasteful requests, you may use an online broken link checker. In case your site is on WordPress, Broken Link Checker can be a good option for you. You must look for any 404 errors while the rendering of your web pages. If you encounter any error eliminate it immediately.
12. Minimize DNS Lookups
DNS or Domain Name System is a database, which stores all sorts of information related to domain names and IP addresses. DNS servers are responsible for carrying and transmitting this data from one computer to another. This data is stored on a network, which is backed up by countless separate DNS server.
The DNS lookup executes a standard DNS lookup and returns information of the specified record type. However, this lookup utilizes a decent amount of time to search for the IP address for a hostname. Until this process is complete, your browser can’t do anything. If you can reduce the number of unique hostnames, you can bring a significant improvement in response time. You may use Pingdom tool to measure how much time DNS lookup is taking to load your site.
These are few most promising ways you can try to speed up your site. If you have used any of this method before, do share your experience with us in the following comment section.