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7 Steps to Accelerate Your Site Speed

Site speed should be a main focus when it comes to your website, since slow site speeds kills your business’s bottom line. When users are stuck looking at their watch while waiting for a site to load, they tend to abandon ship. And when that user leaves your website, they are bound to go looking for a similar service or product elsewhere. 

If you aren't thrilled about the prospect of users leaving your website because it's slow, then you will want to stick around and take these seven steps to speed up your site’s speed and boost business in the process. 

Step One: Compressing Your Files 

The first step you should take in speeding up your site's lead time is compressing your files, especially when it comes to your images.

By compressing files and images on your site, you free up space for your site to work more efficiently. There are many tools, such as Gzip, that you can use to reduce the size of HTML or CSS files, as well, which reduces overall HTTP response time.

According to Google, the cyber world sees almost a century of human years wasted on uncompressed web content. While many web browsers support content compression capabilities, there are some  that do not have those capabilities. Keep in mind that uncompressed content hurts bandwidth-constrained users since they are stuck waiting slowly for a site to load. 

Don’t forget to compress your images while you are compressing your files, since they can also clog up your site with bandwidth clutter. To compress your images, there is an array of free compressing tools, such as Optimizilla, available for you to compress them. So get compressing the files and images on your site and your site will thank you later, as will your users. 

Step Two: Improving Page Load Time 

Page load time is the time it takes between when you click the link and for the site to display the entirety of content from the web page on the requesting browser. And if your page load time is anything slower than a blink of an eye, which is 400 milliseconds or 0.4 seconds according to Google, then that is enough time for users to leave your site.

A page that has a slower load time can lead to fewer page views, drop in customer satisfaction and loss in conversions. When you can improve page speed, then you can bring in more traction and money to your business.

If you want to improve your page load time, you can also work on distributing your content through content distribution channels. You will also want to consider improving your server response time, which you can do by finding performance pitfalls like slow routing and database queries.

When it comes down to it, there are many things you can do to reduce your page load time

Tips for reducing page load time: 

  • Optimizing your cache 
  • Trimming down your Javascript
  • Applying CSS3 and HTML5 
  • Ridding your site of redirects 

If you want to speed up your site speed and boost business, then you will want to work on improving your page load time. 

 

Step Three: Optimizing your Javascript and CSS 

Unless you know how to code, you may need a developer for this step, since changing Javascript can be fragile and changing the wrong thing could break your site. And if your Javascript has not yet been optimized for speed or has too much weight, browsers will have to fight an uphill battle to load it.

So, to optimize your Javascript you can either combine files in a single page, which will cut the amount of HTTP requests that browsers makes, or use asynchronous loading on your site’s Javascript to dynamically load functions. This can be done by simply adding an async tag when calling the .js file. Optimizing your Javascript can help when it comes to improving your site speed. 

Now that we know how we can optimize your Javascript, let’s learn how to optimize CSS. First you will want to minify your CSS by removing any unnecessary characters or spaces. Next, you will want to inline your CSS by consolidating code. Lastly, you will want to order your CSS in a way where it can load more efficiently. 

To optimize both your Javascript and CSS, you will want to minify the resources you use. Through minifying your Javascript and CSS, you will be able to remove unnecessary and redundant data without impacting how the resource is processed by the browser 

By optimizing your Javascript and CSS this will allow your visitors to get their content quickly, as well as allowing them to navigate your site seamlessly. 

Step Four: Leveraging your Browser’s Caching 

Every time a user visits your site, it collects a cache that involves information regarding images, Javascript, and much more.

This is done so a user does not have to reload an entire page, and because you save the time spent sending various HTTP requests to the server. Additionally, leveraging your browser’s caching can reduce the bandwidth and the overall cost it costs you to host your site.

And if you are a website owner, you can enable caching with a few add-ons, such as W3 Total Cache, Cache Enabler, and WP Rocket if your hosting service does not provide server-side caching. There is also the option of using content delivery networks (CDNs), which consists of many networks, and acts an extension of cache optimization.

With all these tools, you can leverage your browser’s caching not only to boost your site speed, but also the site’s performance and how it ranks among other pages in search results. 

 

Step Five: Minifying Your Resources and Wasted White Space

Minifying your resources can immensely help in reducing the size of your web pages and boosting your web page load times. Also, you want to minify your resources since nearly 60% of searches in Google were performed with a mobile device, and most people who are surfing the Internet on their phones will want your site to be as lightning fast as possible.

Using Google PageSpeed Insights can help in minifying your resources and the amount of time it takes your browser to parse these files. Another thing you will want to consider is  minifying and squishing all unnecessary and compressible code lines. Minifying your resources will help when it comes to your page load time. 

You also will want to minify the amount of wasted white space you have on your site. So if you have white space, line returns or even comment tags, HTML and text can accumulate and increase your page size by 10 to 20 percent negatively impacting page load time. At the end of the day it is worth reviewing your pages going through each line of code to ensure top most performance. 

Step Six: Pre-Connecting, Prefetching and Preloading 

Pre-connecting, prefetching, and preloading are critical when it comes to accelerating your site speed. Prefetching is especially important when it comes to Google's search engine results For instance, if you inspect an element, you will see Google prefetching some of the URLs so it is faster for you to click on some of the results.

Preloading differs from prefetching in that it focuses on fetching a resource for the current navigation, while prefetching allows a web browser to fetch resources in the background that might be needed later, and then store them in the browser's cache. Preloading offers you more control on how particular resources are fetched for current navigation.

Pre-connecting, prefetching, and preloading each hold a function and contribute to speeding up the delivery of content to the user. 

Still wondering how to speed up your site? Here are some prefetching techniques you can put into action: 

  • DNS and link prefetch 
  • Pre-connect
  • Pre-render

Step Seven: Reducing Redirects & Plugins 

When you have a lot of redirects on your site, it results in more HTTP requests, which hinders your site speed. Broken links on your site can immensely impact the user's experience. Redirects can also be helpful when you move and delete pages, and can be helpful in eliminating issues with broken links. By running scans on your site, you will see all the redirects on your site and what they are accomplishing. Reducing redirects can help in improving site speed, since redirects usually require extra processing time

Not only should you reduce redirects but also plugins, too. Plugins can come in handy when it comes to adding custom functionality, cleaning up your code, and improving your user experience. On the other hand, you do not want to install too many plugins since that can cause issues on your site. To ensure your plugins are effective, you will want to run a speed test with all the plugins you have enabled, and then you will want to run a speed test on each of the plugins you have enabled. 

Site Speed Sells 

Once you have put the steps above into action to speed up your site speed, then you can celebrate the victories along the way.

In the meantime, it is crucial that you keep a close eye on how your site is performing. There are also tools you can use to help you continuously improve your site, such as the Pingdom Speed Test, Google PageSpeed Insights, and GTmetrix.

Remember that speeding up your site’s speed is the highest return on investment you can make on your site. Not only does a lighting-fast site speed boost your visitor engagement, retention and sales, but it also leads to higher conversion rates on your site. 

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