Without any second thoughts, the website speed holds immense potential for making the very first impression of your business. Hence, it is imperative to keep in mind that you would never get a second chance when we talk about user experience. Undoubtedly, low website speed is the most frustrating thing that would eventually result in turning people off from your brand and its business. It is a matter of fact that yes – with a high-performance website, you will achieve higher return visits, more conversions, lower bounce rates, top ranks in organic search, and better engagement and user experience. Additionally, a significant reduction in the page load time shall have a positive impact on your Digital Marketing strategies, sales, and processes. Your business will attract improved and qualified leads, which shall, in turn, convert into your long-term customers.
So, let us now make ourselves familiar with a few techniques, which you can effectively use for improving your website page load time and performance.
1- Make your Website Move to a Better Host
There are three possible ways of hosting, namely, Shared Hosting, Dedicated Server, and Virtual Private Servers (VPS) Hosting. Shared hosting is the most popular and widely-used type of hosting, which is indeed the cheapest way of getting your website load in a short time, that too, on a low fee. With shared hosting, you eventually share RAM, CPU, and disk space with various other websites that are a part of this server due to which it isn’t as fast and agile as VPS hosting or a dedicated server.
VPS hosting incorporates and uses various servers for content distribution. With it, you share the server with its other users, and you will own a different part of the virtual server that doesn’t influence your configurations with other clients. If you own an e-commerce platform, where traffic comes in some intervals or a website with average traffic, then VPS shall prove to be an optimal solution.
Using a dedicated server is the most expensive hosting option in which you need to pay a server rent for hiring a system administrator to maintain it. With dedicated servers, all resources shall belong to you, and you will get full control over them.
There is not even a single person across the globe who doesn’t like eye-catching images. The positive impact of using a lot of graphics, images, and visuals is that they help in improving user engagement levels. The negative aspect of using images is that typically they are large-sized files that slow down a website. Without compromising on the quality of an image, the best and most effective way of reducing its size is by compressing it using tools like JPEGmini, ImageOptim, and Kraken. Although the entire process may take a little time, it will surely be worth the effort. Additionally, you may also reduce the image size by using HTML responsive images <secret> and <size> attributes that adjust the size of an image as per the user display properties.
4- Minimize the number of Plugins
Every website has plugins as one of its integral components. They add certain specific features and characteristics suggested by the third parties. However, with the installation of more plugins, we require more resources to run them due to which the website works slower, and a lot of security issues come into action. As time passes and the number of plugins increases, you may not require a few of them anymore. So, you need to check out all the plugins that you have installed and then delete the unnecessary ones. You should also run a performance test to determine the plugins resulting in slow page load time. Moreover, you should avoid using the plugins that either generate a lot of database queries or load multiple styles and scripts.
5- Use the Approach to Website Caching
With a lot of users accessing a single page at the same time, the server usually works slowly and takes a bit more time to deliver the web page to every user. In such scenarios, you can use the approach to caching, which refers to the process of storing the current version of your website and presenting the same to the users as long as your website isn’t updated. It implies that the web page doesn’t render over and over again for every other user.
6- Implement Database Optimization in Content Management System (CMS)
For increasing and improving website performance, database optimization proves to be an effective technique. By using a Content Management System (CMS) packed with too many complex plugins, the database size is bound to increase, resulting in your website becoming slower. For example, the WordPress CMS stores all the information that takes up a lot of data storage. Every CMS has different requirements for optimization measures and usually has a specific number of plugins. For WordPress, you may consider using WP-Optimize.
7- Make Smaller Use of Web Fonts
Although web fonts have become quite popular in web design nowadays, their use harms the speed of page rendering as they add extra HTTP requests to the external resources. For reducing the size of web font traffic, you can choose only the required styles and include only those character sets, which you have used on the website.
8- Detect and Correct 404 Errors
A 404 error is the one that implies a specific page isn’t found. The hosting server provides this message to the search engine or web browser when the accessed content of a particular page is no longer available. For detecting and correcting 404 errors, you can use plugins and error detection tools. As we already know that using additional plugins can adversely affect your website speed, running the resource through external tools for error detection can prove to be beneficial. After detecting all 404 errors, there is a need to assess the traffic that they generate as well. If a dead link neither brings any visits nor consumes your server resource, then you can leave it as it is. However, if it has some traffic coming, then you can set redirects for external links and fix the link addresses for the internal ones.
9- Reduce Website Redirects
Without any doubt, website redirects lead to a lot of additional HTTP requests, which affect the overall performance. Therefore, it is highly advisable to either keep them at a minimum level or eliminate them. By running a site scan, you should first always identify all the redirects on a page. In the next step, you should find if they serve any necessary purpose or not and keep only the critical ones.
10- Implement Prefetching Techniques
Prefetching techniques entail reading and executing instructions before users initiate them. It works if you can anticipate user actions and load some links or content well in advance. Typically, modern web browsers enable prefetching techniques by default after assuming user behavior patterns. However, UX (user experience) engineers and specialists are way more proficient in understanding user behavior and making hints for the web browsers to do prefetching work.