The following post comes to us from Nick Galov, Community Manager at Hosting Tribunal. In this article Nick shares insight and expertise to help businesses improve the speed of their websites.
Everybody knows you need strong content to have a successful website. However, content is not everything. You also need good website performance or else nobody will stick around long enough to read your content.
Website speed plays a big part here. Long page load times lead not only to worse search rankings but also to poorer user experience and reduced customer satisfaction.
The stats are in line with this. Websites that take over 3 seconds to load get a 53% increase in bounce rate. This means 53% more users leave after only opening one page. What’s more, each extra second of delay reduces page views by 11% and conversions by 7%.
It doesn’t matter if you sell products online or if you use your website to promote your business. The drawbacks are always the same—reduced online visibility and a reduction in profits.
That’s why we’ve created this list of tips to improve website speed. These are the three things too many website owners get wrong. Do these things and your website will have a performance advantage over the competition.
Get Quality Hosting
This is probably the simplest thing on the list. Nevertheless, it causes problems for too many website owners.
If you don’t get enough server resources from your hosting provider, your overall website performance suffers. If this is the case, it’s probably time to either upgrade your hosting plan or find a new provider.
Remember that not all hosting providers fulfill the promises they make to get you to sign up for a hosting plan. If your provider isn’t fulfilling their obligations, don’t feel bad about switching to a different provider.
If you’re just starting out or if you’re reconsidering your choice of hosting, we have good news. There are a lot of hosting options to choose from.
You should look for a provider that’s secure, fast, and professional. Finding a provider with these qualities saves you a lot of trouble down the road.
Image optimization is probably the pitfall of most websites. People upload images, set the parameters to display the image in the desired size, and think their job is done.
This is actually a huge mistake as it doesn’t change the file size of the image. Uploading unoptimized images can easily double or triple page size. This means pages take longer to process and send to the user’s browser, unnecessarily adding to the load time.
One way to optimize images is to resize them manually. Just open an image in any visual editor and set the desired dimensions. If you want the image to appear as 500 pixels wide, make it 500px wide in the actual file.
An easier option might be to use an editor with the option to save for web like Photoshop. This makes it easier to set the desired file size and to keep an eye out on image quality. You want faster pages, but you don’t want low-quality images.
If you use WordPress, you can let a plugin do all this. Plugins like WPSmush compress images automatically as you upload them so you never have to worry about image optimization again.
Use Responsive Design
Being mobile-friendly is one of the most important website features in 2019. With Google’s search system penalizing slow mobile sites and the advent of mobile-first indexing, it’s extremely important to have a website adapted for mobile devices.
Responsive web design is a great solution here. It makes sure your website works well and is fast on all devices, not just desktop computers.
With responsive design, you develop your website with mobile devices in mind. It’s easier to create a website that works well on smaller devices and then expand it to fit the large screen of a desktop computer
Then you set up the website so it scales up and down depending on the device. Web page elements adapt to the screen size and capabilities of the device. If you‘re seeing a website on a desktop screen, all elements appear larger than on mobile.
This practice ensures websites display equally well across all devices. 2019 will be the year of mobile browsing so, if you haven’t done so already, implement responsive web design.
If your site runs on WordPress, you can easily find a responsive theme and save yourself a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, implementing responsive design on a custom-coded website is a tad more difficult. Still, if you already have some coding knowledge, you can learn more about responsive design here.
Do these three things and you will have covered the basics of website speed optimization. Of course, there are many more techniques to try out. These are just the most essential ones and using them well will determine the success of your website in 2019.
If you’re willing to learn more, don’t miss out on the helpful infographic below. It is packed with all the essential info on website speed and its effects.