Website Speed is a very important element of Google Ranking Factors. Nothing is more annoying than a slow website. Having a slow website can increase the bounce rate and decrease the conversions. Let me share small information. If your web page takes one second more to load then the result will be like:
- 12% fewer page views
- 8% loss in conversions
- 17% decrease in customer satisfaction
This shows the importance of Website Speed not only for ranking well with Google but also for keeping your business profit high.
What Website Speed is Ideal?
One of the burning questions webmasters have is how fast is fast enough to satisfy the visitors. Well, there is no exact answer to this question but 1-second load time would be great. Experts say websites with a load time under 3 seconds are doing a great job. As long as your page loads time under 7 seconds, it’s okay too (but you should try to improve it). Normally, websites with page loading speed over 7 seconds is considered as a slow website.
According to Jakob Nielsen study, people can handle up to 10 second load time considering:
- 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
- 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes 3 seconds or more to load.
- At peak traffic times, more than 75% of online consumers left for a competitor’s site rather than suffer delays.
How to Test Your Website’s Speed?
There are different tools available to analyze Website Speed. Here is a list of some of the tools that are popular among the webmasters:
Pingdom: This is a very useful tool that tests and analyzes the load time of a web page. It also reviews and grades your website’s performance.
PageSpeed Insights: This is a free tool from Google. This tool analyzes a web page and generates suggestions on how to make your website faster.
YSlow: Grades web page based on its loading time. It also summarizes the page’s components and provides suggestions for improving the page’s speed.
GTmetrix: It is a free tool that gives you an insight into how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it.
WebPage Test: This tool gives you a chance to run a free Website Speed test from different locations around the world with detailed optimization recommendations.
14 Ways to Increase Website Speed
Now that we know the importance of website speed, it’s time to know the methods to increase the speed of the website. There are many ways to speed up your website. Here are several of the easiest and most effective ways to increase Website Speed.
Choose a Fast Web Hosting Plan
Most of the new site owners go for the cheap web hosting plan for their website. At the beginning, it may be good enough but the problems starting to arise once the website starts getting more traffic. There are three different types of hosting options:
- Shared hosting
- VPS hosting
- Dedicated server
Shared hosting is the cheapest option while the dedicated server has much more space. If your website has more content and traffic then a dedicated server is the right solution. Upgrading your web hosting plan is the simplest and easiest way to increase Website Speed.
Reduce Server Response Time
One of the biggest factors of Website Speed is DNS (Domain Name System) lookup. A DNS is a server with a database of IP addresses and their associated hostnames. DNS lookup takes a handful of time to look up the IP address for a hostname. The web browser cannot do anything until the lookup is complete. You can increase the response time of a website by reducing the number of unique hostnames. Moreover, switching to a faster DNS provider can speed up the process and web page loading time.
Start Using a CDN
CDN stands for content delivery network. CDN is a network of web servers distributed across multiple locations around the world that deliver content more efficiently to users. It can host the static files of your website in order to decrease load times for your visitors.
Normally we host our site on one server. So each and every user who visits our website sends requests to that same server. This means with heavy traffic on our website, the time it takes to process each request increases and slow down the page loading times for all visitors.
On the other hand, with a CDN; the requested web content will be delivered to the visitors from a server closest to users. As a result, there will be no delay in processing the user request. Moreover, by using a CDN, you’ll save a lot of bandwidth and significantly improve your web page loading time and Website Speed.
Enable Browser Caching
If browser caching is enabled then the elements on the web page will automatically download and store on the hard drive of the visitors when they first visit the website. So when the visitors visit your website next time, their browser will load the requested web page very quickly, without having to send an HTTP request to the server again. This will increase the loading speed of the website.
Optimize Website Images
Images can be large containing extra comments, useless colors, and make your web page slow to load. Keeping image sizes to a minimum is very important because images consume a lot of bandwidth. If the image is not optimized then they use a lot of server resources. That’s why you need to reduce the file size of your website’s every image. You can use different image optimization plugins to compress your images without compromising quality in the process.
Minimize HTTP Requests
An HTTP request is made for downloading the different parts of the page, like images, Stylesheets, and scripts. So the more on-page components, the longer it takes for the web page to load. So, too many HTTP requests will slow down your website’s speed. This is why it’s very important to minimize the HTTP requests. There are many ways to minimize HTTP requests. For instance:
- Minify and combine CSS, JS scripts and HTML files
- Use CSS instead of images whenever possible
- Reduce the number of elements on every web page
- Install a caching plugin
- Reduce redirects
Fix Broken Links
Enable HTTP Keep-Alive
When your web server receives an HTTP request from the visitor, it not only uses more processing power but also slows down your Website Speed. This process happens for each and every file individually. But you can stop this repeated process by enabling HTTP Keep-Alive.
HTTP Keep-Alive creates a single open connection for multiple file requests to your server. That means it can download multiple files at the same time from the server. So the number of HTTP request and connection to your server will be limited resulting website speed up.
Reduce External Scripts
We use a different kind of external scripts like external commenting systems, pop-up boxes, external fonts, social media boxes etc. These external scripts make HTTP requests every time a web page loads. Although some of these external scripts are important but you should eliminate those which are not necessary for your website. You can use Pingdom to find out which scripts are taking more time to load and remove them.
Compress Website with Gzip
Compression reduces the size of the HTTP response as well as reduces the response time. Gzip is a very effective and popular compression method that reduces the response size by about 70%. This is a very easy way to reduce page weight and increase Website Speed. You can use WP HTTP Compression plugin if your website is in WordPress.
Switch Off or Reduce the Plugins
Optimize Website Database
This is another very effective way to increase Website Speed. If you use WordPress or any other CMS then the data in your database increases and slow down your website. Before you know it, your database will become filled with trackbacks, pingbacks, post revisions, trash items, unapproved comments etc. Therefore, it’s very important to clean your database on a regular basis to maintain high Website Speed. There are many WordPress plugins to optimize your website’s database like WP-Optimize.
Change Website Theme
Website theme plays a very vital role on your Website Speed. If your website’s theme has a complex code, your website will load slowly no matter how good your hosting and server configuration is. Webmasters find a significant change on their website’s speed and page load time when they use a lighter theme. Therefore, when selecting a theme for your website, give priorities on its performance and speed over aesthetics.
When surfing on the internet, people want websites to be lightning fast. So having a fast website has never been more important than it is today. You are at risk of losing visitors, website followers, and revenue if your website’s speed fails to deliver on their expectations.
There are certainly other ways to speed up a website. Here I have tried to discuss the most essential and the most effective ones. Feel free to share your tips or questions below on the comment box.