How to Make Your Website Load Faster
How to make your website load faster, is really important. Think about it, have you ever went to open a website and the little circle on the page just kept spinning? If you are one of the very few that waited for the page to open, was it worth the wait? Oh wait…were you one of the impatient ones too?
In today’s mobile market, speed is a very important factor because slow loading websites can have a negative impact on things like customer experience, sales, and even search engine rankings. The steps you might take to fix how fast your webpage is delivered in a browser window is also called Speed Optimization.
Why You Should Consider Website Speed Optimization
Times have changed. Back in the late ’80s when the internet was a fairly new concept, I remember people just being excited to see their business online and saw the web as an opportunity to reach people in a new way. Not anymore. Nowadays, a business having a web page is almost expected by the general consumer population, and with the increase in competition online, every second counts.
According to a 2018 study by Google, over 50% of cell phone users immediately turn away from a website that takes 3 seconds or longer to load. This data confirms that a fast loading website creates a better user experience for your visitors. The last thing you want is a potential customer finding your slow loading website on Google, becoming frustrated, and moving on to the next result – your competitor’s site!
Additionally, site speed has become an important factor in how search engines (like Google and Bing) rank your website in their search results. Actually, the slower it takes to load your website the more likely it is to be pushed further down the results list by the search engine programs, ultimately leading to fewer people finding your business and impacting your sales opportunity.
Common Things That Can Slow Down Your Website
With web technology, there can be many operations working in the background both of your web files and your server space that can cause a web page to open slowly. Some of the more common things I have encountered include:
- Images and video files stored on the web page that is too large to load quickly.
- Poor programming within pages, themes, or plugins.
- Inefficient server operational space, memory, or functional settings.
- Pop-up advertisements running in the background.
- Unwanted malicious code added by attackers.
- Even some CMS Systems used for web development, like WordPress, simply function differently and unless properly maintained, can perform slowly.
What to Do to Fix Your Website Speed
Just from looking at your website from the consumer perspective, it is often impossible to identify the problem. In fact, it could be one, or a combination of items working at the same time that cause an issue. Sure, the speed tools available online will readily give you a list of things wrong, but unless you are a programmer and actually know how to find the things recommended to fix, most business owners find it too challenging to tackle on their own. For this reason, I recommend saving yourself the time up-front and invest in working with a skilled technical web developer, someone comfortable with getting into the server files and making coding changes on the back-end.
That said, the person you may have hired to design your website may not necessarily be skilled with the technical knowledge that you need to resolve the problem. There are many web designers who are creatively talented people skilled with digital graphic arts that use less-technical systems like WordPress or SquareSpace to create a website for your business, but they often lack the technical skills to really “lift the hood” so-to-speak, and know what to look for or make adjustments in the programming code. To be safe, I certainly recommend starting with the person who created your website ask them if they have the skills to do the job. They may be like me – someone who started creative and transformed into someone with technical skills because it was necessary for growing my company.
If they are not, or if you are a DIY business owner learning as you go, I suggest you reach out to someone skilled in Site Optimization to determine what is going on with your website to avoid problems. I say this with technical experience – it can get complicated to take care of everything necessary to get a good rating.
Here are Simple Fixes To Get You Started
Better Manage Your Image Sizes
Keeping your image sizes small allows for the web page to open faster because it takes longer to “deliver” the full image to the page. Avoid uploading the best, high-resolution version of your images. Instead, open them in an image editor, and save them to a lower resolution first. I want to avoid giving you a specific dimension here specifically because the image size I think relates to how or where you are using it, but the general rule of thumb is keeping it to 72 dpi (dots per inch). If you use an image editor like Adobe Photoshop, they have an Export option that allows you to “Export for Web”. This typically resizes the image to a much faster loading size; however, you can also overwrite the image size if needed and make it more appropriate to where you might use it.
Never Upload a Video Directly to Your Website Files
Video is a huge memory hog. If you have ever created videos, even short ones on your phone, you may have noticed that they take up a great deal of storage space. Well, the same goes for your website. It is best to work with a video delivery solution like YouTube, Wistia, or similar services to store and deliver your video files. Each of these providers offer public and premium options so that if you are creating content that you want to sell, there are options for keeping premium content private until a purchase is made, etc. The big thing is that these options offer you the ability to embed a video into your website which means that the video is stored on YouTube, but it displays a copy of the video on your web page.
Consider Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A Content Delivery Network is a tool used by developers to help speed up the delivery of your media content by providing the web browsers a more centralized file location for your media files (images, videos, etc.) so that it can get to and load these files faster for the end-users, instead of waiting for your webserver to navigate the internet network to deliver the files on its own. This gets particularly important if you have a high traffic website. Too many requests for your website at the same time will slow down your website and can even crash the server which could make your website temporarily unavailable. There are several CDN products available, with different pricing structures. I personally recommend checking with someone with technical knowledge and access to your server to determine what may be the best option for you before you make an investment. They will know how to access the server performance logs to help you indicate who is accessing your site (from where, and at what times) so that you choose the best resource for your business.
Beyond these few things, the rest can get pretty technical and resolved only by working on the back-end of your site. If you are experiencing challenges with your site speed, or are interested in technical support to help guide you on a CDN, we would be happy to help. Simply submit a request through our Help Desk and one of our Team will contact you for an appointment to gather information needed to best direct you.
Until next time, “keep your fin in the game!”