There are currently more than 32 million businesses operating in the US. So if you run your own business then competition is fierce. To succeed, you need to stand out from the crowd and offer your customers a flawless experience.
Having a great functioning website is vital. This creates an online presence, which is key to your business's success. This helps you build a recognizable brand and helps customers buy your products and services.
However, for this to work your website needs to be up to scratch. If you're wondering how to improve website loading speed then you've come to the right place.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to speed up a website so your customers can use it easily.
Why is website loading speed important?
On average, people will only wait 3 seconds for a webpage to load. If it doesn't load in this time then they may abandon the website altogether. This means that a poor page speed score could lose you customers!
Improving your webpage speed makes it easier for people to find and navigate your site. As a result, they are more likely to stay on your website and buy your products or services. This increases your conversion rate, which is key to the success of your business.
Having people on your website for longer also boosts your online visibility. It means that your website will appear higher up in searches. This helps you reach new customers more easily.
So how do you improve your website loading speed? Let's take a look at some fixes that can make a huge difference.
How to improve website loading speed using performance evaluation tools
Before you start working on your website it is a good idea to evaluate how well it is working. This will highlight any areas that you need to improve.
There are several performance evaluation tools that you can use to assess your site. These include:
- Google Pagespeed Insights
- Performance Budget Calculator
These will assess your website loading speed along with other important areas, such as user experience and navigation.
How to increase website speed using a Content Delivery Network
The network that you use to distribute your site can have a huge impact on its loading speed.
If you use a single server then every user request has to run through the same hardware. This can cause serious loading delays.
Content Delivery Networks (or CDNs) are distributed across a number of locations. This means that you will have more servers to manage your users' requests. On top of this, the servers will be closer to your users and this can help to reduce your page loading time.
Your host affects the loading speed of your website
There are several different types of website hosting that you should be aware of. However, the type of server you choose can affect the speed of your website.
Although shared hosting is cheaper, Virtual Private Servers (or VPSs) work much faster. This means that your server only has to handle your users' requests.
This is a great way of improving your loading speed quickly.
How to speed up a website by optimizing the images on it
The content of your page also has a huge impact on its loading speed. Eye-catching images play an important role in grabbing your customers' attention.
However, they need to be formatted properly. If they aren't then your website will take a lot longer to load.
You can compress large image files using tools like ImageOptim, Kraken, or JPEGmini. You can also reduce the size of an image using the HTML responsive image attributes. This won't compromise the quality of your images and it will ensure they load quickly.
How to improve page load speed by reducing plugins
Plugins can make your website more exciting and accessible for its users. That said, they also slow down its loading time. So you need to find a happy medium.
Start by checking which plugins are installed on your website. If you don't use certain ones anymore, uninstall them first.
Once you've done this you can run another performance test to see which plugins are still slowing your website down. While some plugins are necessary, you can improve their loading speed by keeping them up-to-date.
Implementing Gzip compression
As we've already mentioned, large files will slow down your website and this doesn't just apply to images.
You can reduce the size of files on your site using Gzip compression. This sends Zip files to your browser. These then automatically unzip for the user so they see the website as it should appear.
You can use code to Gzip files on your website or you can use apps to do this for you.
How to increase page speed scores using website caching
Caching stores your website and presents it to users. This is particularly useful if you get a lot of website traffic. Without caching, your website will have to render every time a user visits it.
Caching it will send fewer user requests so your server can work more quickly.
If you use a shared server, you can use plugins to cache your website. If you are using a VPS you can also select automatic caching in your general settings. This lets you cache your website without having to use a plugin.
Reduce your 404 errors
You may already be familiar with 404 errors. These pop up when a page no longer exists so the server can't find it. Your server will generate this error after searching your site, which can slow it down.
Getting rid of old or broken pages means that your server won't need to spend time doing this.
You can look for 404 errors using error detection tools or plugins. These will highlight any pages that no longer exist, even if they're hidden from public view.
You can then either repair or delete these pages to improve your website loading speed.
Cut back on your number of redirects
If a link is broken or entered incorrectly, then your server can redirect users to another page on your website. This ensures that they stay on the site.
However, this generates extra HTTP requests, which your server has to process and this can slow down your website. It can also be frustrating for users who are looking for specific content.
You can identify broken links and redirects on your website using tools like Screaming Frog. Once you have found these, check whether or not the page itself has a purpose on your site. If it doesn't then you can get rid of it.
This means that you will only hold onto a number of critical pages on your website, which helps it load faster.
Reduce the number of web fonts to make your website load speed fast
Like pictures, fonts can be incredibly eye-catching and help you create brand continuity. Unfortunately, they can also take a long time to render, which slows your website down.
You can reduce the number of requests generated by your fonts by using modern fonts and character sets that are included in the site design. Limiting the number of fonts on your website will also increase its loading speed.
Optimize your database in CMS
Content management systems (or CMSs) can make it easier to design and manage an impressive website.
However, they often also use complicated plugins and large databases. These make your server work more slowly.
You can still use CMSs to build your website. To keep your load speed fast, make sure you optimize them before launching your site.
Use prefetching techniques
Prefetching essentially involves anticipating what a user is going to do before they do it. This means that your server can be processing their instruction before they even send it.
Your server can load certain content in advance so that it loads quickly when a user requests it. You can prefetch several website elements in advance, including:
- IP addresses
A lot of up-to-date browsers accommodate prefetching. However, it is a good idea to get specialist support for this. Analyzing user behavior will help you use prefetching accurately.
Test your website load speed today
As you can see, when it comes to how to improve website loading speed there are a lot of things you can do. Some of these fixes are easier than others but they will all make a huge difference to your website's loading speed.
Are you looking for help with how to speed up a website? Then check out Amasty's Google Page Speed Optimizer Pro. We're happy to help you get your website off the ground!