When it comes to web design, we often give importance to aesthetics. But we forget that part of effective web design is to make the experience easy for the user.
One of the most important ways to improve your website is to optimize website speed.
In today’s world, no one has patience for slow website speed. If your website loads slowly, an internet user will lose patience and find another website.
So how do you optimize website speed? We’ve put together this guide to help you out.
The Guide to Optimizing Website Speed
The first step is, of course, to make sure your website is designed correctly. You want to make sure it’s ready to be shown to the public.
Only once it’s ready can you decipher what is slowing it down.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. What’s the Ideal Page Load Speed?
So what is the ideal speed for your website? The short answer is that your website should be loaded as fast as possible. Google suggests that it shouldn’t take over 3 seconds for your website to load fully. Unfortunately, there are very few websites that meet that recommendation. But your ultimate goal should be to reduce the loading speed as much as possible. The higher your loading speed, the higher your bounce rate. The bounce rate refers to the rate of when a user navigates away from your website.
So what can you do to increase your speed?
2. Consolidate and Reduce File Size
The first step is to consolidate and reduce the size of your files. For example, if you want to sell an audiobook through your website, you should have the entire audiobook in one file. If you have it separated into multiple files (i.e., each chapter as an individual file), this will take up a lot of space on your web server.
You also have to try to reduce file sizes. So if you want your website visitors to download your audiobook, try zipping it first. Once it’s zipped, it’s the zipped file that you should make available instead of the audiobook file itself.
You also want to make sure the file size of your images and other media is reduced. For example, if you embed a YouTube video, try to opt for 720p as opposed to 1080p. The latter is higher quality but does slow your load time.
3. Code and Design Matter
The slowness of your website can also come from the way the code of your website is written. If your website code has extra lines of unnecessary code, this can lead to your site loading slower. For example, if there’s an extra paragraph break (“
“) where there doesn’t have to be – delete it immediately!
You also want to design your website as simply as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to opt for a minimalist design. But you need to know that if you overwhelm your website with media, a range of colors, and varied fonts that it will reduce your loading speed.
4. Reduce Your Server’s Response Time
Sometimes the slowness doesn’t lie with your web design but lies in your server’s responsiveness. Your website is run on a server that is provided by your web host. You need to check the response time on this server. If it’s too slow, then you need to change your server.
To check your server’s response time, you need to look at the DNS provider. It would be best if you looked at this chart to see how fast different DNS providers are compared with one another.
5. Choose the Best Hosting Option
It’s also essential to choose the best hosting option for your website. If you use a cheap, unknown web hosting company, they will likely offer poor service.
While you may choose such an option in the beginning, you ultimately should select the best hosting option. Choose one that is capable of hosting multiple websites and has large storage space.
You want to choose a service that is popular and used by major websites. The best hosting option will use high-quality servers, which will speed up your website.
The two options you can choose are a Dedicated Server or VPS Hosting. The first option means that there is one server specifically for your website. This will offer you the best service and will ensure that you have the fastest speed possible.
The VPS Hosting option means that you’ll share your website on a server that hosts many other websites. But as long as you choose a great hosting option, you can still ensure fast speed.
6. Run A Compression Audit and Compress Your Code
The next step is to run a compression audit. This goes back to our earlier point of having the size of your files be as small as possible.
You can use a service such as GIDNetwork to see the compression audit of your website. It will tell you how much of your files are uncompressed and how much can be compressed significantly to reduce the file size. The lower you choose, the faster your website loading speed will be.
Then, you can use a compressor service to compress your files. These services will compress your code. Your lines of code may have repeated code, unnecessary code, and whitespace. These all can be compressed to speed up your website.
7. Enable Browser Caching
You should enable caching for your website. Every time a visitor comes to your website, they have to download (through their web browser) the website’s elements before it loads. As long as these elements are stored in the cache, it means that it’ll speed up the process for anyone revisiting your website.
If you use a website builder such as WordPress, you will have various plugins that allow you to enable caching. You can also contact your web host to help with this.
If you built your website from scratch, speak to your web developer about enabling the cache.
The way to do this is by accessing your .htaccess file and entering the appropriate code.
Speed It Up
Now that you know the rules of optimizing website speed, you can follow this guide’s steps to have a faster loading website. Remember, the faster your website loads, the lower your bounce rate will be.
Need some expert advice to speed up your website and offer a better visitor experience? Our team of web design and development pros can help!