5 Ways to Improve Website Speed

In the era of 5G Internet, people expect their web browsing experience to be blazingly fast. As much as 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less, while 40% leave a website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.

Additionally, 70% state that website speed influences their purchasing decisions.

In fact, it’s been shown that a 100ms delay in load time lowers a website’s conversion rate by 7%.

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Source: convert.com

Consumers aren’t the only ones that care about website speed.

Google also considers website speed when determining how to rank websites in search engine results, with faster websites having an advantage over ones that load slower.

Website speed influences customer experience, conversion rates, and search engine rankings.

It has a direct impact on your revenue, which means that you shouldn’t take it lightly.

How to measure website speed

Before you can improve your website’s speed, you need to know how fast it currently is.

There are a number of online tools you can use to measure website speed.

We’re going to list some of our favorite ones below:

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google offers a free tool website owners can use to measure and improve the speed of their website.

After analyzing your website, Google PageSpeed Insights provides you with a report that shows you issues that are slowing down your website.

The tool analyzes both the mobile and desktop versions of your website, and provides distinct recommendations for each.

GTmetrix

GTmetrix is one of the most popular tools for testing website speed.

After entering your website URL into GTmetrix and clicking the Test your site button, you’ll get a detailed report that outlines issues that are slowing down your website, as well as recommendations on what you should do to improve website speed.

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 9.18.57 AM

Source: gtmetrix.com

Pingdom Website Speed Test

Pingdom is a website performance and availability monitoring solution. The company behind this product offers a free website speed test tool which is one of the best solutions of its kind currently available online.

You can use Pingdom’s Website Speed Test tool to test your website’s speed from servers across Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

After scanning your website, the tool will provide you with a number of suggestions to improve your website speed, ranked in order of importance.

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 9.19.47 AM

Source: pingdom.com

How to improve website speed

Now that you understand the importance of improving your website speed (as well as how you can measure it), let’s look at five strategies you can use to speed up your website.

1. Upgrade your web hosting

One of the easiest ways to boost website speed is to upgrade your web hosting.

Most web hosting plans fall into the following three categories

Shared hosting

If your website is currently on a shared hosting plan, that means it’s most likely hosted on the same server as hundreds of other websites.

This is the most affordable type of hosting and often has poor performance compared to VPS and dedicated hosting.

VPS hosting

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It’s a type of web hosting that allows you to have your website on your own virtual server.

While you’ll still be sharing an actual server with your web host’s other customers, the total number of websites hosted on your particular server will be a lot lower than with shared hosting.

Moving your website over to VPS hosting can provide you with a significant speed boost.

Dedicated hosting

If you opt for a dedicated hosting plan, you’ll be assigned your own dedicated server. This means that no other website will be hosted alongside yours, providing you with the best possible performance.

While dedicated hosting is superior to both shared and VPS hosting in terms of performance improvements, it’s also significantly more expensive.

In most cases, we’d recommend upgrading to VPS hosting at least. If your budget allows for it, then go for dedicated hosting to ensure maximum performance.

2. Use a CDN

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) aims to improve website speed by serving your website content from a server that’s physically the closest to each of your website visitors.

With a CDN, a website visitor from Texas might access your website through a server located in Austin, while someone from California could reach your website with the help of a server in San Diego.

A CDN can improve your website’s performance significantly, boosting load speeds by 30% or more.

There are both free and paid CDN options available. Here are our favorites:

Cloudflare

Cloudflare is one of the most popular CDN solutions around. The company offers both free and paid CDN plans.

The free version of Cloudflare is a completely functional CDN, which will certainly provide your website with a speed boost.

For maximum performance, however, you might want to consider one of the paid plans that start at $20/month.

StackPath CDN (ex MaxCDN)

Formerly known as MaxCDN, StackPath CDN is a highly popular CDN solution. While it doesn’t offer a free plan, it has a very affordable CDN plan that costs $10/month.

StackPath also offers advanced CDN plans, which also include DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) and WAF (Web Application Firewall) protection.

The most affordable out of these advanced plans is the Edge Delivery 20, which costs $20/month and includes 1 TB of bandwidth per month.

3. Implement browser caching

Browser caching is a content delivery technique that relies on storing website files locally, on the user’s device.

This way, static parts of your website can be hosted on the user’s device so that they don’t need to be downloaded each time a user visits one of your pages.

This helps your website load faster because it reduces the amount of data a user needs to download to load a page.

How you’re going to implement browser caching will depend on how your website is built.

If you’re using WordPress, it’s going to be very simple. All you’re going to need to do is install a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.

4. Combine and minify JavaScript and CSS files

The more requests a visitor’s browser needs to make before loading your website, the longer it’s going to take for the website to fully load.

Knowing this, it’s clear that you need to work on reducing the number of requests needed to load your website if you want to improve loading time.

Start by combining multiple JavaScript or CSS files into one file. This will result in fewer resources that need to be loaded every time someone tries to visit your website.

You can also go a step further and use a tool like Minifier to minify your JavaScript and CSS files. This will reduce their size and help you achieve an even bigger performance boost.

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 9.21.56 AM

Source: minifier.org

5. Optimize images

Having a large number of high-resolution images on your website can slow it down significantly.

You can avoid this by optimizing your images using one of the many available image optimization tools out there.

Our favorite is Kraken.io. It supports three optimization modes: lossy, lossless, and expert.

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 9.22.46 AM

Source: kraken.io

The lossy mode will decrease the size of your images the most but might cause some loss in terms of image quality.

Lossless mode, on the other hand, will compress your images as much as possible without causing any loss in image quality.

Finally, the expert mode allows you to customize the compression process to suit your needs.

Speed up your website today

Improving website speed is crucial if you want to provide a better customer experience, increase your conversion rate, improve search engine rankings, and generate more revenue.

When looking to improve website speed, start by upgrading your web hosting and opt for either a VPS or a dedicated hosting plan. Use a CDN such as Cloudflare or StackPath to achieve an even greater performance boost.

If you want to ensure optimal website performance, you should also consider implementing browser caching, combining and minifying JavaScript and CSS files, as well as optimizing all the images on your website.

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