How to Improve Your Website Speed
Website speed is critical nowadays as users do not accept slow websites. If your website is slow to load the user you’ve worked so hard to acquire through digital marketing and SEO will simply leave, and use another site. Off they trot, never to be seen again and unlikely to return.
However, there are a number of things you can do to improve your website speed. We have listed a few of our most important website speed tips and hacks below. But first, why is website speed important? Let’s take a closer look.
Why is Website Speed Important?
Website speed is important for a number of reasons. Search engines have been penalising slow websites for years. And rightly so. A slow website gives a bad experience for the user. Humans are impatient creatures. Now more than ever when information and resources are so readily available at the touch of a button. They’ll simply move on and find what they need faster elsewhere.
Here are a few of the most important reasons that website speed is so important:
- User experience: A slow website can lead to a poor user experience. Users are more likely to abandon a website that takes too long to load.
- Search engine ranking: Google and other search engines take website speed into account when ranking websites in their search results. A faster website is more likely to rank higher in search results.
- Conversion rates: A faster website can lead to higher conversion rates. Users are more likely to take action on a website that loads quickly.
- Reputation: A slow website can damage your reputation. Users are more likely to have a negative impression of a company with a slow website.
By improving your website speed, you can improve the user experience, search engine ranking, conversion rates, and reputation of your website.
Tips for Improving Your Website Speed
Enough about why website speed is important. You already knew that. It’s why you are here! Moving onto how to achieve a fast-loading website now! Below is a selection of our most important tips to improve the loading times of your site:
- Use a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN is a network of servers that delivers web content to users based on their geographic location. This can help to improve website speed by reducing the distance that data has to travel. We utilise Cloudflare CDN Services for our clients.
- Use a caching plugin. A caching plugin stores copies of your website’s pages in memory, which can help to improve website speed by reducing the number of times that your server has to generate the pages. It can work well alongside a CDN such as Cloudflare. Although largely perform similar functions. A caching plugin will store pages in the memory of your website on the server it is hosted on.
- Combine and compress your images. Combining and compressing your images can also help to improve website speed. We have a range of tools we use to optimise images for both our WordPress and Magento client sites. A number of years ago, we wrote a great article on how to optimise images for website use and resize before upload.
- Avoid using too many plugins. Plugins can slow down your website, so it’s important to only use the plugins that you need. Within our website speed optimisation services for WordPress clients, we have solutions that can disable code from plugins, on pages where they are not used.
- Optimise your database. Over time, your database can become cluttered and inefficient. Optimising your database can help to improve website speed. There are a number of tools out there to perform this in an automated fashion. Be sure to back up your database first. As well as run the optimisation on your development or staging website first.
- Optimise for mobile. Your website’s mobile navigation should be easy to use with a touchscreen. Avoid using drop-down menus or other complex navigation elements. Mobile users have smaller screens, so it’s important to use large fonts and buttons that are easy to tap. Avoid using long forms or forms that require a lot of scrolling. Use tools that allow the upload of different images for mobile or desktop display to reduce the total page size on mobile.
- Upgrade your PHP version. If you’re not already using the latest version of PHP, upgrading can make a big difference in website speed. At the time of writing this post, the latest available public version is 8.2. The change from PHP7 to PHP8 has shown a large improvement in website speed.
- Use a good hosting provider. Your website hosting provider plays a big role in the speed of your website. Choose a managed website hosting provider that offers fast servers and reliable uptime. Moving your website to a faster host can make a big difference in website speed. Do you know we offer platform-specific hosting packages including Magento hosting, WordPress hosting and WooCommerce hosting? Contact us to discuss your hosting needs.
- Test your website speed. There are a number of tools that you can use to test your website speed. We suggest looking at Google PageSpeed, GTMetrix and Pingdom for your website speed benchmarking results. By testing your website speed, you can identify areas where you can improve. Comparing before and after optimisation results.
By following these tips, you can improve your website speed and provide a better user experience for your visitors. If you are hitting continual roadblocks, and finding it all a bit too much to get your head around, contact us for help!