The loading speed of your website is not to be taken lightly. A long loading time can have negative repercussions on several levels. Is your conversion rate not meeting your expectations? Do you have very few returning visitors to your site? Is your bounce rate very high? If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are potentially having a problem with your website loading time.
Don’t panic, here are some steps you can take to help fix your problem.
Validate the Speed of Your Website
Step number one is, of course, to validate that you really have a problem with your website load speed and not some other type of problem. Here are some tools available online to help you find out:
Depending on the results obtained, you will be able to understand what exactly causes the slowness on your site, but also which actions to prioritize to fix the problem.
Here are the main solutions to increase the load speed of your website.
1. Use a CDN (CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORK)
Hosting media files on a CDN is probably the best way to greatly optimize your site’s load speed. In an ideal world, you could free up to 60% of your bandwidth in addition to halving the number of requests.
“By using a CDN, your files are hosted on a network of different servers located all over the world. When a visitor accesses your website from Thailand, for example, their browser will download files from the server that is closest to their location. This mechanically optimizes the loading time. Since your bandwidth is dispatched across a multitude of servers, this optimizes the use of each server, protects you against DDoS attacks and traffic spikes. The more international visitors you have, the greater the performance benefits of CDN.”—The net factory
A good example of a well-known CDN is CloudFlare. A CDN will simply allow you to have a more efficient and effective site, as well as achieving all of your business goals on the web!
2. Use Cache
A second great way to optimize load speed is to enable caching on your server. Why? Because the caching system makes it possible to change dynamic pages (a page that varies according to the user) into static pages (same page that appears to everyone), by temporarily storing data in the browser (for example Google Chrome or Firefox) of your visitor. The next time this visitor goes on your site, the load time will be much faster.
Note that you may need to hire a programmer to enable caching.
3. Optimize Image Sizes
It is important not to minimize the importance of image sizes on a website, especially for eCommerce. It is a vital component, which, when well executed, gives a lot of brand awareness and engagement.
On the other hand, we must be careful with the size of our images, without skimping on their quality. The best way to do this is to compress your images using tools such as ImageOptim, JPEGmini or Kraken. The procedure may take a while, but it is well worth it.
Another way to do this is to reduce the size of the images by using responsive HTML images with the srcset and size attributes. This allows images to be adjusted automatically, based on the user’s display properties.
4. Change Web Host
If you use a server shared with several people (shared hosting), a high volume of traffic on one of the server’s sites will slow down the loading speed of the others. It is therefore very disadvantageous for you to be penalized by other sites on your server, however, this is the least expensive option.
Did you know that a 1 second longer load time is equivalent to a 7% lower conversion rate? It is important to verify your load speed and realize that sometimes paying a little more for your hosting (VPS hosting or a dedicated server) can be the most profitable option if you take into account the money lost due to the slowness of your site. How much is 7% conversions in $ for your business?
In most cases, this avenue for improvement is the main cause of a slow website. If you use a CMS, such as WordPress for your site, be aware that a new CSS or JS file is added virtually every time you install a new plugin. Each plugin brings its own CSS and JS files.
It is strongly suggested to compress or “minify” these files. There are several methods to achieve this.
- Merge all CSS or JS files into one file
- Erase all white space inside files to reduce their size
- If you are using WordPress, a plugin like WPMinify will take care of everything automatically
- Use CleanCSS for compressing CSS files
These 5 tips and tricks will help optimize the loading speed of your website. There are several more that can be applied. A good analysis of your site, using the tools mentioned above, will help you prioritize each step. Remember to redo this analysis after any changes to compare and make sure that your efforts are working well. Let us know how much your load speed has improved!