When it comes to websites, a tenth of a second can mean your website visitor sticks around or they go somewhere else. Here are a few tips to help you make sure your website is blazing fast.
If your website is a house, the website host is the foundation and all the walls. It’s the infrastructure that holds all of the information on the site. Because of that, it’s important to have a website host that is reliable and fast. If you go for the cheap host, expect to have a slow site. You’ll get what you pay for when it comes to website hosting. I personally love Flywheel. Aside from having the fastest speeds I’ve found, they also have fantastic customer service and an easy-to-use, one-click platform. I’ve also heard WP Engine is great.
Some website hosts I would caution you to avoid (based on my personal experience with them): GoDaddy, Host Gator, and Bluehost.
One of the most common mistakes I see people make is placing full size and full resolution images on their site. A large image will obliterate your load times and make your site feel like it’s crawling.
Here’s why: a 3 megabit (3MB) image will take longer to download to your website visitor’s browser than, say, a 30 kilobit (30KB) image. So naturally, if your website has these large files (especially several of them), it will take a long time to load. You can optimize your images for your website without losing any quality. If you have Photoshop or some other type of design software, I like to make most of my images 1600px by 900px and then export them at 50% quality. The final image is usually less than 200KB and looks identical to the full resolution image on the site. If you don’t have access to design software, Canva is a great (and free) solution. You can also use free online image optimizers like this one, or even use a plugin to accomplish the task for you.
If you’ve ever had trouble with a website or had a tech issue, odds are, the person helping you out has asked, “have you cleared your cache?”Well… what the heck is a cache? Simply put, it’s a way for the website to be “remembered” by the internet so it doesn’t take so long to load the next time you visit. Leveraging this tool, you can cache your website for your website visitors by installing a caching plugin on your website, using a website host that caches at the server level (like Flywheel), or by getting a CDN (fancy acronym for a better cache). Most website hosts offer CDNs as an add-on to your service for a minimal fee, typically around $10 per month.
Websites can get bloated quickly, especially after years of use and revision. Take a couple minutes and go through your website plugins and determine which are important and which are not. If it’s not something you need, go ahead and delete it from the site. The same goes for website themes. Aside from the theme you’re using, you can delete the other themes from the site. Lastly, if you have some unnecessary code (like CSS or HTML) that you’ve added to the site over the years, take some time and clean that up as well. Bloated code will slow your site down as well. There you have it! Getting a great host, optimizing your images, taking advantage of the cache, and eliminating clutter will have your site loading faster in no time.