A 1-second delay in page load time yields:
- 11% fewer page views
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
- 7% loss in conversions (source: Aberdeen Group)
Why Site Speed Is Important
When a person lands on your site for the first time, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention to convince them to hang around.
According to a report by the Microsoft Bing search team, a 2-second longer delay in page responsiveness reduced user satisfaction by 3.8%, increased lost revenue per user by 4.3%, and a reduced clicks by 4.3%.
If your site takes too long to load, most people are gone, lost before you even had a chance.
Not only that, but Google now includes site speed in it’s ranking algorithm. That means that your site’s speed effects SEO, so if your site is slow, you’re now losing visitors from impatience and reduced rankings in search engines. Yikes.
Let’s fix that.
How To Speed Up Your Website
You don’t have to do them all to your site, but we do guarantee that using even a few will help speed up your site.
1. Choose a good host
When starting out, a oversea shared host might seem like a very good deal. It comes at another cost: incredibly slow site speed and frequent down time during high traffic periods.
If you plan on publishing popular stuff, you’re killing yourself by running your WordPress site on shared hosting.
The stress of your site going down after getting a big feature is enough to create a few early gray hairs: don’t be a victim, invest in proper hosting.
2. Use a content delivery network (CDN)
All of your favorite websites are making use of this, and if you are into online marketing using your own sites, you need to use CDN to accelerate your website
3. Optimize images (automatically)
With images, you need to focus on three things: size, format and the src attribute.
Over-sized images take longer to load, so it’s important that you keep your images as small as possible. Use image editing tools to:
- Crop your images to the correct size. Don’t just upload a 2000px-wide image and set the width parameter (width=”570”). This slows your page load time and creates a bad user experience.
- Reduce color depth to the lowest acceptable level and remove image comments.
- JPEG is your best option, PNG is also good, though older browsers may not fully support it.
- GIFs should only be used for small or simple graphics (less than 10×10 pixels, or a color palette of 3 or fewer colors) and for animated images.
- Do not use BMPs or TIFFs.
Once you’ve got the size and format right, make sure the code is right too. In particular, avoid empty image src codes. In HTML, the code for an image includes this: <img src=””> When there’s no source in the quotation marks, the browser makes a request to the directory of the page or to the actual page itself. This can add unnecessary traffic to your servers and even corrupt user data.
Pro Tip: Take time to re-size your images before uploading them. And always include the src attribute with a valid URL.
4. Add LazyLoad to your images
LazyLoad is the process of having only only the images above the fold load (i.e. only the images visible in the visitor’s browser window), then, when reader scrolls down, the other images begin to load, just before they come into view.
This will not only speed you page loads, it can also save bandwidth by loading less data for users who don’t scroll all the way down on your pages.
5. Reduce the number of plugins you use on your site
Too many plugins slow your site, create security issues, and often cause crashes and other technical difficulties.
Pro Tip: Deactivate and delete any unnecessary plugins. Then weed out any plugins that slow your site speed.
Try selectively disabling plugins, then measuring server performance. This way you can identify any plugins that harm your site speed.
6. Replace PHP with static HTML, when necessary
This one is a little bit advanced, but can drastically cut down your load time if you are desperate to include page load speeds.
7. Reduce redirects
Redirects create additional HTTP requests and increase load time. So you want to keep them to a minimum.
If you’ve created a responsive website, more than likely, you have redirects in place to take mobile users from your main website to the responsive version.
Pro Tip: Google recommends these two actions to make sure a responsive redirect doesn’t slow your site:
- Use a HTTP redirect to send users with mobile user agents directly to the mobile equivalent URL without any intermediate redirects, and
- Include the <link rel=”alternate”> markup in your desktop pages to identify the mobile equivalent URL so Googlebot can discover your mobile pages.
8. Significantly Limit, or Remove, Social Sharing Buttons on Your Website
If you believe that you need to have 100 social sharing buttons on your website, think again; it’s hard to pinpoint research that establishes a massive boost in website traffic due to having social sharing buttons (if anything, too many social sharing buttons will confuse your readers), but research shows that a slow website does reduce traffic.
The solution to this is to either limit/remove social sharing buttons, or to configure them to load asynchronously so that an outage of a particular social media site won’t slow down your website.
9. Load Analytics and Ad Networks Code Asynchronously
Analytics tracking codes and ad networks’ codes can also significantly impede your website speed, especially if the remote server is slow or down; you can easily prevent this problem by configuring all of your tracking codes to use asynchronous delivery; this way, a server outage or delay with your Ad network or analytics service won’t slow down your website.
10. Install Google PageSpeed on Your Server
The PageSpeed module is an open source server module from Google that automatically optimizes your website speed; it makes modifications to your server and files, following website performance best practices, without requiring you to do anything else.
If you’re tech savvy, you can install Google PageSpeed yourself. If you’re not tech savvy, you can ask your web host/developers to install it for you.