In this article I will tell you why speed of your website matters and also show you 10 tips on how to make your website load faster.
No body likes a slow website.
If a user clicks on your website's link and if it takes more than 3 seconds to load then there is a high probability for that user to leave your site.
As per Kissmetrics study, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Every one-second delay in your web page load time results in:
- 11% fewer page views
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
- 7% loss in conversions
A few extra seconds could have a huge impact on your ability to engage visitors and make sales.
How to judge your website loading time?
- Below 1 second = perfect
- 1-3 seconds = above average
- 3-7 seconds = average
- 7+ seconds = very poor
If your website falls under the average or very poor category you may need to improve your site speed.
I have mentioned later in this article some important tips that will help you to convert your slow websites into a fast loading site.
Why It Is Important For Your Website To Load Fast?
If your website loads slow i.e. it takes more than 3 seconds to load then your website's bounce rate will increase significantly.
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who landed on your site and then leave rather than continuing to view other pages within your site.
While there may be various reasons for increase in bounce rate like low quality content, poor design, etc., website loading speed is also one of the important factor.
A higher bounce rate also means decrease in your website's productivity and user conversion.
Another important factor is SEO.
Search engines like Google and Bing uses page speed as a ranking factor.
While there are many factors for a website to rank higher in Google Search Results, one of them is your website speed.
Your website's ranking can be penalized by Google if your website is take too much time to load.
Let's see what are the tools available to check your website speed.
Also Read: How to make a website secure
How To Check Your Website Speed?
Before we implement the tips to make your website faster, let's check the speed of your site first.
There are many free online tools which allows you to measure your website speed.
Let's check them out.
It allows you to see your website's load time, page size, etc.
It also shows part of your site that needs attention such as make few HTTP requests, add expires header, compress components with gzip, etc. and improvement of which can significantly reduce your website's load time.
See the result of my blog technicalwall.com in Pingdom Speed Test below:
GTmetrix is also one of the most popular website speed test tool.
It analyzes your site load time, checking both PageSpeed and YSlow scores.
It also gives suggestions on how to improve the load time.
You can create a free account at GTmetrix to save your website speed result. This helps when you have made changes as suggested by GTmetrix and you want to compare your latest website speed result with old results.
See the result of my blog technicalwall.com in GTmetrix Speed Test below:
This tool is provided by Google. PageSpeed Insights (PSI) reports on the performance of a webpage on both mobile and desktop devices.
It also provides suggestions on how that page may be improved.
See the result of my blog technicalwall.com in Google Pagespeed Insight below:
I am sure that you are amazed to see the speed test results of this blog.
Do you want to know how I got this amazing results? If your answer is Yes, click here.
10 Tips On How To Make Your Website Load Faster
In this section I am providing you 8 tips to make your website load faster.
By following these tips you can surely reduce your website's loading time and see improvement in your website performance.
1. Use a Content Delivery Network
What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?
A CDN refers to a geographically distributed group of servers that work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content.
They have data centers across the globe so that your web content to be delivered faster to your site visitors.
For example, if a user from Asia visits your website then a CDN will display your website from the data center located in Asia. It will result in fast loading of your website.
If you are not using a CDN for your site, join Cloudflare today. It is free to use.
A CDN provides numerous benefits to your website in terms of speed and performance.
Following are the advantages of using a CDN on your website:
You can use Cloudflare CDN network in your website for free. It also has a paid plan but for a beginner's blog or website, a free Cloudflare plan is sufficient to speed up your site.
I am also using Cloudflare as CDN for this blog and am quite satisfied with the speed performance of my site.
Add your website to Cloudflare by visiting this link - Cloudflare.com
2. Use Minification and Gzipping
Let's first see what is the difference between Minification and Gzipping according to CSS genius Chris Coyier.
"Minification does things like removing whitespace, removing comments, removing non-required semicolons, reducing hex code lengths..."
"Gzipping finds all repetitive strings and replaces them with pointers to the first instance of that string."
For a WordPress website, the easiest way to minify the above files is to use a plugin like W3 Total Cache, Fast Velocity Minify, WP Fastest Cache and WPAutoptimize.
You can use any one of the plugin mentioned here.
Don't use more than one, as they may cause more issues than helping you to increase your website loading speed.
How to compress your website?
Compression is a simple and effective way to save bandwidth and to speed up your site.
If your web pages are bigger then it will take longer time to get to your browser and appear on the screen.
So, to reduce the size of web pages on your site you can use Gzip.
It has to be enabled on your webserver which is a relatively straight forward process.
To enable Gzip compression in Apache server, add the following text in your .htaccess file (source: GTmetrix.com).
You will find the .htaccess file in public_html directory in File Manager under cPanel.
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
# Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0 no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent
Compression of your HTML and CSS files with Gzip typically saves around fifty to seventy percent of the file size.
If you are not compressing your website do it now and experience the difference in website loading speed.
3. Reduce External Scripts
These external scripts make HTTP requests every time a new page loads increasing the loading time of your site.
Some examples of these external scripts are:
- Facebook Like Boxes
- External commenting systems like Disqus
- Instagram follow boxes
- Google Analytics
- Third party advertisements
I am not recommending to remove all or any of the external scripts as mentioned above.
You have to decide yourself which script are important for your website.
For example, you may never want to remove Google Analytics script from your site.
On the other hand you may want to remove a Like Box or a third party comment box.
Remove those scripts which you think are not a important for your site.
4. Remove Unnecessary Plugins
Plugins increases functionality and features of your WordPress blog.
But with time we may install loads of plugins in our website.
So, there may be plugins which are installed but are not actually required. Or you may have installed more than one plugin which does the same work. Or you may have deactivated some plugins but not uninstalled from your blog.
There may be some plugins which you have installed long back but now you don't use them anymore or it is not doing things the way they were supposed to do or you have found better plugins which performs better.
Whatever may be reason, you must set aside yourself some time to review your plugins.
These plugins may be a cause for your website slow loading speed.
Removing some unwanted plugins can make your website load faster.
5. Compress Images
If your site is the one that uses lots of images in your blog content you may want to have closer look at your images to find whether they are the culprits for slowing down your site.
Typically, larger image file takes longer to load.
So, if you find that that there are images in your blog that are not compressed then start compressing them today.
Compressing your image files will help to speed up image loading time by minimizing the strain on your site load time.
You can use plugins like Smush, EWWW or ShortPixel to compress your images.
Next time when you add images to your blog content don't forget to do the following:
6. Use Lazy Load For Images
If you are not using lazy load for images in your site then all the graphic elements in a web page are loaded all at once.
If your website has plenty of visual content such as images, infographics, emozis, this drastically increases image bandwidth and cause your site to load slower.
Your site visitors will have to wait longer for your web page to load resulting in increase in bounce rate and subsequently drop in conversion also.
Another drawback is that it gives a signal to Google that your website is irrelevant and provides a poor user experience.
Google may move your site down in ranking in the search results.
And we wouldn’t want that, right?
On enabling lazy load on your site, loading of images on your site will be delayed but your users will not be able to notice it. This is the beauty of lazy load feature.
So, the next question is how to enable lazy load feature.
You can install Smush plugin. Enable the lazy load feature in the setting and you are good to go.
7. Use A Light-Weight Theme
Many popular WordPress themes comes heavily loaded with features that slows down your website.
And what is more interesting is that even though you don't require these many features, you won't find an easy option to use only those features that you require.
Thus, you must use a theme that is light-weight, SEO-optimized and mobile-responsive.
These themes uses the latest and most stable coding standards. They have clean code and are optimized for speed.
8. Use Expires Headers
Expires headers is an important factor in site speed.
When a user visits a website, the browser will automatically load the website's files and save them in the memory so that your website loads faster for them the next time they visit.
So, when the user visits your website the next time, there is no need to reload all the files.
Expires headers give the command to your browser to download and store these website files from its memory (cache).
Thus, Expires headers are used to reduce the send and receive between your computer and the server (website). Instead, it ask your browser to use the data stored in its cache.
Website speed testing tools such as GTmetrix and Pingdom also considers Expires headers a factor in site loading speed.
Let's see how we can add Expires headers in a website.
To add Expires headers, you need to edit your .htaccess file.
Go to your File Manager under cPanel.
Open .htaccess file and add the following lines of codes and save it.
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access plus 2 days"
## EXPIRES CACHING #
In the above code, time for website files to be stored on the browser’s cache is set at 1 month, 1 year and 2 days.
Thus, if a user again visit your site within one month these files will served from the browser's cache and your site will load faster.
If a user visits your website again after one month, now it will not display the files from the browser's cache as it was set to expire after one month.
Hence, the browser will again request these files from your server and it will again get stored in the browser for a further period of one month.
Please Note: Sometimes the .htaccess file is kept hidden in the File Manager. In the File Manager, click on Settings and enable the “Show Hidden files” option.
Let's see what does that actually mean and why should you consider implementing it in your site.
When a visitor visits your site, your server delivers the HTML content of your site to that visitor's browser.
Now the visitor's browser will start reading your code to render it and display the site on the browser. Typically it moves from top to bottom of the code.
Thus, it not only cause a negative effect on your site’s page load times but also a poor user experience.
This may also result in high bounce rate for your site.
But how to implement it?
After implementing all the steps you will find considerable improvement in your site loading speed.
10. Change Your Hosting Provider
This is the most simple strategy (but need investment) which you can apply to improve your website speed result.
If you think that your current hosting provider and your hosting plan is responsible for your website's slow loading speed then it is time to change your hosting provider.
You can see that my website's performance in all the three test is quite impressive.
You must be thinking that I may be using a VPS Hosting or a Dedicated Hosting but no, I am not using any of them.
I am using shared hosting for this blog and the hosting provider is A2 Hosting.
The three shared hosting plans offered by A2 Hosting are STARTUP, DRIVE, TURBO BOOST and TURBO.
If you want to improve your website's performance in terms of speed then I would recommend you to go with the DRIVE plan.
Unlock 58% discount by visiting the link given below.
Hosting Plans of A2 Hosting
Click the button to see all the features of hosting plan offered by A2 Hosting.com.
I hope that you find all the tips mentioned in this article to be useful.
However, to implement all these tips you need to go through a series of steps like:
- Installing caching plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache
- Installing Smush plugin to implement lazy load feature
- Manually adding expires headers codes in .htaccess file
- Manually adding code for minification and GZip compression in .htaccess file
Beginners may find performing all these series of steps a tough ask.
What if I tell you that all these steps can be performed with just a click of a button.
You won't believe it, right?
It is possible with WP Rocket plugin.
WP Rocket is a premium cache plugin for WordPress. WordPress experts also recognize it as the most powerful caching tool.
Once you install and activate this plugin in your site, it will ensure that your site will load blazing fast and improve your SEO rankings which will result in more traffic and sales.
Explore WP Rocket plugin now.
These are the tips which you must follow right today to load your site super fast.
I am sure that if you follow all the tips as mentioned in this article, it will surely help you in improving your website performance and speed.
Improvement in your site loading speed will optimize your site for SEO resulting in gaining more organic traffic and conversions.
Please comment what other methods you are using to make your website faster to load.
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