While it is tempting to think that after creating and launching a website you are done, that would be inaccurate.
Once your website is live you need to get eyes onto your content.
This is done by optimizing for Search Engines, in a practice called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are a lot of things that can be done to improve SEO; but the most common among them are link building, creating SEO optimized content, and on-page SEO improvements.
But, there is another factor that is also very crucial for improving your website SEO:
Optimizing your website as a whole.
When we are talking about website performance, we are not only focusing on your end-users’ computer, windows vs mac, but also if they are using a tablet and/or a mobile device. No matter which device they use, with an optimized website their experience is improved through a quicker load time.
7 Tips on How to Improve Your Websites Performance
- Make your Website Mobile Responsive
- Reduce Image Size
- Cloud Hosting
- Use a CDN Service
- Use Web Caching
Optimizing your site for a computer is no longer enough; you also need to make your website responsive for mobile and tablet devices. According to a February 2019 survey by statista, in North America, mobile makes up 38.21% of all internet traffic and Google now employs “mobile-first indexing”.
If you’re redesigning your website from scratch it’s a best practice to code for mobile devices first, incorporating designs for tablet and desktop devices later. If your budget won’t be able to include all three devices we recommend designing for mobile as your primary device, and if possible then work to include desktop too.
🌶 Tip: Designing for mobile-first will help in reducing the number of unneeded dependencies.
To check whether your website is mobile responsive, go to Google’s Mobile friendly checker and enter your website URL there.
For our example we used PPMD.org, and from the results, you can see it is mobile friendly.
After the examination, if your site’s rating, by choice of usability requirements, such as perspective setup, plugins, and text readability are revealed as ‘not mobile friendly’ you will receive a list of things you can address in order to potentially fix the issues.
According to a late 2018 Hubspot report, 32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business. It is clear we all love images. They grab user’s attention and with strategically placed images your site looks beautiful.
However, using excessive photos, or photos that are large in size, can slow down your website’s loading speed.
It is easy to rectify this issue. To optimize you can:
- Use brand-new photo formats, such as WebP or JPeg XR, to help reduce picture size by 20 to 50 percent without compromising the original quality.
- Alternatively, save the photo as PNG or JPEG
- Decrease the total picture size in any editor, including in PhotoShop
- Crop the image a little bit
- Use a plugin for compressing images quickly, such as WP Smush.
There are many advantages if you host your site on a cloud server. The most common advantages include the cost, scalability, improved performance, and freeing of your time to focus on growing your organization.
Having a reliable cloud host is a key step for optimizing your website.
Many first time users prefer a cheap hosting company instead of a premium hosting company. Although premium hosting prices can be high, it is worth the money so your website loads quickly and support is typically provided. This becomes paramount especially as your organization scales up.
According to research done by Neil Patel, it’s important to note that users expect a website to load in 2 seconds, or less. A premium hosting site will allow you to feature glossy images and a trendy and accessible designed website while also loading quickly for your users, no matter their device.
A content delivery network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network that delivers web sites and any other web content to the end-user.
For example, if an origin server is located in the USA, and a user opens the website from Singapore, the website will take longer to load as it needs to funnel that information physically further.
A CDN has many data servers in different regions throughout the world. Allowing you to open the website from Singapore and have the website load from the Singapore data center instead of the USA one greatly reducing load time.
While it’s possible you’ve heard this term before, you may not have a clear definition of what it is. So, what is Web Caching?
According to Wikipedia, Web Caching is a method for the temporary storage of web documents including webpages and images to reduce server lag and minimize bandwidth.
An added benefit is that it enhances efficiency. When a returning visitor arrives at your site, the cached version will be provided instead of the original files. This conserves server time and makes the website much faster to load.
If you don’t already have it enabled we recommend doing that now. Many web hosting providers like WPEngine has a built-in cache function, which drastically speeds up your website.
Minification (minify) is a programming process that removes all of the unnecessary characters in the source code. These unnecessary objects include white spaces, comments, line breaks. Although the spaces, comments, etc are helpful for coders to read and more easily understand, for machines, the file is larger due to the unnecessary objects and therefore takes a bit of extra time to load, ultimately slowing your website down.
HTTP(s) is a request/response method used by a web browser to bring files from the webserver. How it works may be unknown to many users, so we have broken it down below.
For each page that a user visits on your site their browser puts in a request to your website. It is then your website that needs to send each and every file that your website is made of to their computer.
A simple example is to look at the social sharing buttons common in many organization pages. Let’s say you have added social share buttons to the header of your site for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. These buttons are visible across every single page. Here the number of HTTP(s) server requests, per page, has increased by 3.
If you have Google Analytics or other analytics software you need to add another 1 (or more) request.
The more external requests your website makes the more number of HTTP(s) server requests. Little by little, your site slows down.
Now, we are not telling you to remove social share buttons, social follow buttons or anything.
🌶 Tip: We also recommend that before you install new plugins or request new features because the nonprofit down the street has them you to simply ask, “what is the benefit to my organization by adding this.“
Wrapping it up
While sometimes the technical language can be confusing, it’s important to realize that there are a number of things that can slow your website down. Some will require more technical know-how than others or be bigger undertakings to improve. Luckily there are also a number of things that can be done to improve your website’s speed.
Hopefully, you’re now motivated to start improving your websites speed.
Have a specific question? Drop us a tweet @amdeellc.