It’s actually quite easy to speed up your website. Here are seven tips you can do today – none of which will require to do any programming.
If your page is slow most people won’t stick around to find out how good the content is. It’s unfortunate that people have become so impatient, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Slow loading times affect your visitor numbers and – if you’re trying to run an online business – your bottom line, as people go look elsewhere.
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to speed up your page. Just follow the steps in this guide and your site will be a speeding bullet in no time.
Start by finding out how fast your page loads
The first thing that you’ve got to realize is that just because your web page loads quickly on your computer doesn’t mean it loads quickly elsewhere. You see, modern browsers often cache pages that you visit a lot. For that reason, the moment you start to type the address, the browser is already grabbing the necessary parts. So it might feel like your page loads instantly when in fact, it does nothing of the kind for a first-time visitor.
And obviously, those are exactly the visitors for who you want the page to load quickly.
For that reason, rather than relying on what you experience use something like Pingdom to see how fast your page loads. Then you’ll have a much better idea of how quick your page is loading. It will also give you an extensive breakdown on where your page is slowing down so that you’ll know where to work your speedy magic.
Note, when you’ve checked your website’s loading speed, make sure that you save those number somewhere, for only then when you make your way through the rest of this guide can you be sure that your actions are having some sort of an effect.
Install a WordPress caching plugin
Okay, so now you know how fast your page is. The next step is to speed things up. The first and easiest step you should take is to add a caching plugin. Basically, what this does is that instead of going to get all the individual parts from where they’re stored to build your website, it keeps the information cached in one place.
In that way, when somebody visits the page for the first time, their browser only has to get that one file and load it up, thereby greatly increasing loading time. Having a good caching plugin can give you somewhere between 2 to 5 times the speed. Nice, right?
There are a bunch of caching plugins, but WP super cache is a good place to start.
Work on your images
The next easy step is to work on your images. You see, they quite often are the reason that your page loads slowly – after all, they’re often the biggest things to be found on a page! For that reason, you want to take actions to optimize your images.
The first and easiest thing you can do are make sure that all of the images on your website are jpg. This is a compressed image format that uses a lot less space than the image would otherwise use. And obviously the smaller the image, the less time a user will need to wait for the image to arrive.
Uninstall unnecessary plugins and update everything
Do you have any plugins on your website that you’re not actually using? Then get rid of them. You see, every time a user visits your page they’re loading all the plugins, including the ones that you’re not using. Now that’s a waste of time!
So, if you don’t use a plugin, then get rid of it.
Similarly, updates to WordPress as well as plugins are generally going to make those plugins and WordPress load faster. So make sure that you update everything when it’s possible. Do note, when you update, make sure that you’ve got a backup copy somewhere as sometimes an update of one kind or another might clash with other plugins and cause a trouble. In that case, having a backup can be a lifesaver, as you just load it back up.
If you’ve got a blog or a home page that features other parts of your website, then make sure that on those pages you only show shorter excerpts. This makes the loading time of those pages significantly faster as it means that the main page won’t have to load every image and every bit of text.
As an extra advantage, when you don’t offer up the whole article, your users are actually going to click through to the articles in question if they want to read them. This might seem like a small deal, but it isn’t to search engines like Google, who decide based on how much of your traffic sticks around how interesting your page actually is.
So this simple trick will make your page appear like it’s far more interesting to your reader (yeah, it’s not all about content optimization and using places like getacademichelp to keep people sticking around. Sometimes it’s much easier).
If you’ve got a lot of people that comment regularly on your pages then that’s great, but it also might be slowing your loading time down some. For that reason, make sure that you separate your comments into pages, with only the latest 20 or so shown on the blog post that people are reading.
In this way, users will have a faster loading experience. And if they want to read more comments? No problem, they just have to click on the next page and it’s all still there. As an extra bonus, that will once again make your page seem more interesting to search engines.
Use a Content Deliver Network
This one is particularly useful if you’ve got customers and readers all over the world. You see, normally when people access your website, they all go to the main server which is in whatever country you’ve bought your hosting rights.
Naturally, that means for somebody that’s on the other side of the world, your page is going to load more slowly.
The way around that is to get a Content Delivery Network or CDN. To put it simply, these are servers that host your site in other parts of the world, so that if somebody from somewhere else wants to access your website, they don’t have to go all the way to the other end of the world to get it, but can instead go to the server closer to them, once again shaving time off the loading time of the pages.
Not sure what CDN to go for? Then try MaxCDN. We’re not saying it’s the best, but it works well and reliably and that’s really all you’re looking for.
And there you have it. If you implement these strategies then your web page will load far faster than it does today. You might be able to knock several seconds off your loading time. That, as the link all the way at the top showed, will mean far more people will stick around, which gives you more space to actually convert them to customers.
What’s more, all of these actions are incredibly easy to execute. They don’t take special programming skills. Most of them don’t even take any substantial changes to your page. Just toggle a few buttons, download a few plugins and you’re well on your way to having a faster page. What’s not to like?
Norman Arvidsson is a freelance blogger and web developer from Atlanta. He is passionate about social media marketing, web design, entrepreneurship, and e-learning. Follow Norman on Twitter.