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Slow Website? How to Improve Site Speed

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The speed of your website means more than just convenience for visitors. Site speed can make or break the success of your website. Without acceptable page load times, visitors will become impatient and leave your site, or worse yet, not hang around to give you a first glance.

Slow site speed is seen as a major red flag. So much so that search engines, like Google, will drop your site down in rank to provide their users with a quicker solution to the information they are seeking. Beyond simply inconveniencing visitors, slow site speed may significantly affect many related factors like UX, bounce rates, SEO and overall site traffic.

What can you do to identify areas for improvement for your site’s load speed? It all starts with understanding the factors that impact site speed.

Factors That Affect Site Speed

how to improve site speed

Server or Hosting

The web hosting company and its accompanying server capacity for your website will have a direct impact on the speed of website loading for visitors. Small websites might use shared hosting while larger websites may need to use a virtual private server to maximize the benefits of shared hosting. Sites that are larger yet will need to have private dedicated servers to support the necessary file storage and daily traffic. Choosing the right hosting provider, package and server solution will set the entire ground floor for your site’s performance, especially in terms of page load speed.

File Storage

The larger the size of your files the more that is required of your site to load each page. Keeping your files stored efficiently will reduce unneeded files, large files and therefore limit the overall requirements on your site’s server. By reducing the number of unnecessary files and compressing larger files such as images, videos and other graphics, you place less strain on your site to quickly load pages.

Plugins

Plugins that need a lot of assets to load will make your website slow. Make sure that clean code is doing the heavy lifting of site performance as much as possible as to not rely on plugins. Deactivate and remove all unnecessary plugins.

Browser Compatibility

Older types of browsers may have compatibility issues with certain HTML strategies. Catering to older browsers by implementing antiquated coding tactics will greatly hurt your site speed.

The volume of Traffic

High traffic translates to higher bandwidth use. If your site is not equipped with sufficient bandwidth, it could lead to slow site performance. Make sure your hosting service offers the necessary bandwidth to support your site traffic.

Methods of Speeding Up Your Website

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Minimize and Combine Files

Meticulously comb over your code to ensure that there are no opportunities eliminate unnecessary files or combine code to perform more efficiently.

Use Asynchronous Loading for JavaScript and CSS Files

These scripts can be loaded in two different ways. Traditional HTML practices tells you to include JavaScript in the head. This creates an initial delay to the rest of the body. By implementing asynchronous loading, you allow for Java and CSS to begin loading simultaneously with the rest of the HTML. It requires proper ordering of code. This can be challenging but is the new standard in modern site development and will greatly increase your load speeds.

Delay JavaScript loading

This means that you stop the loading of external JavaScript files until the entire site page has loaded. If you can start to convey your message through body text, it may provide the necessary information visitors need to stay through the rest of the loading.

Reduce the Time for First Byte Loading

This is the time that a website takes before it starts loading. This initial loading paves the way for a either an acceptable or unacceptable load speed. This often comes down to the hosting provider and package that you have chosen for your site.

Reduce Time for Server Response

The amount of time that your DNS takes to be found is a factor to be considered. This depends on the speed of your DNS service provider. Therefore, choose DNS service providers with higher speeds.

Reliable Hosting Provider

It is essential to choose the right hosting provider for your specific needs. With the increase in the traffic of a website, there is a need to move from a shared host to VPN and then to a dedicated server. This reduces the number of shared parts of the server thus increasing load speeds.

Run a Compression Audit

The smaller the size of your files, the faster your site will load. This is especially the case for sites with heavy media use. By compressing files, the upload time is reduced significantly. Periodically investigate the size of your files while also maintaining file size best practices when uploading content to your site.

Enable Browser Caching

This is done to second and subsequent visitors to a website. The information is stored in their respective hard discs so that in the second and any subsequent visits, some info can be fetched directly from the hard disk. This reduces the time needed for loading.

Reduce the Size of Images

By reducing the size of images, this reduces the time required for them to load. This makes the browser load faster as the data for the image is minimized.

Use External Hosting Platforms

Large files, like videos, can be hosted externally from the CDN server that you are using. This will reduce the data in your server and result in improved load speeds.

In a busy online landscape, you need to take every step to achieve a competitive advantage over rival sites. Forcing new site visitors to wait through a slowly loading page, is a surefire way to skyrocket your bounce rate and send potential leads to the competition.

Leave no stone unturned, especially in terms of site speed. Regularly audit your website’s load speeds to ensure it’s up-to-par as you continue to add new content and files to your site. Make the necessary changes to your site to maintain optimal site speed.

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Written by Kayla Naab

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