Do you remember the last time you were on the Net trying to search for that critical piece of information or perform that urgent transaction and the site took forever to open? Obviously, you do not need to tell how you felt about that nasty slow-loading experience. Speed is a critical component that defines the user-friendliness of all websites. It does not matter how qualitative the content of your website is; as long as it takes long for your visitors to get what they need, be sure they will only return there for the lack of options.
But with all that aside, do we have strategies that can enhance your website’s loading speed so that your visitors don’t waste their time waiting for pages to load? The answer to this question is the reason for our post. In our discourse, we shall look at some of the proven and most effective methods of enhancing and transforming your website’s speed so that your visitors can make the most of their time.
WHY SPEED IS IMPORTANT
Before delving into the how-to details, lets us delve into the why-to details of the process—why it is vital to do it. Here are reasons for improving the loading speed of your website:
- It helps in enhancing the user experience of your visitors.
- A fast-loading site improves your rankings in search engines. For instance, Google now incorporates speed into its site-ranking criteria. This inclusion makes it not just a convenience factor, but also an SEO consideration that will positively influence your ranking in search engines.
- A slow-loading website will cost you monetary losses, especially if it is an ecommerce platform since a user will easily switch to a competitor’s site to make the purchase. For example, a case study done by Redware indicates that a 2-second delay during a transaction leads to a customer abandonment rate of 87%. Additionally, another study by Aberdeen Group shows that a 1-second delay leads to an11 percent reduction in page views, a 16 percent drop in consumer satisfaction, and a 7 percent drop in conversions. In another study by Akamai, it was established that 47 percent of visitors want web pages to load in two seconds or lesser, 40 percent of them also shift to other websites when the pages take more than three seconds to load, and 52% of online buyers said they remain loyal to websites that load quickly.
So, what do we conclude from these facts and figures? Even without any expert analysis skills, any sensible person will agree with this conclusion: Speed KILLS on the road; but on the Net, DELAY KILLS.
1. USE HTTPS ENCRYPTIONS
Page loading speed and security is the prime concern of every website, according to HTTPvsHTTPS research website who use https connection get better loading speed. To enable HTTPS, you need to install SSL certificate on the server first. Many popular Certificate Authority is providing trusted and cheapest SSL certificate and Comodo SSL is one of them. Comodo is a well-known brand in cybersecurity industry and number one brand in SSL Certificate industry. The prime benefits of using Comodo SSL is the cheap price, fast issuance of Domain Validation certificate, secure site seal, and unlimited server license and certificate reissuance during the certificate lifespan.
2. DIAGNOSE YOUR STATUS QUO FIRST
Having seen the need for improving your site’s speed, we will take another step before examining our speed-enhancement strategies. Before improving the dragging condition of your website, it is necessary to diagnose the site to define and describe the problem before prescribing an appropriate solution. It will be necessary to analyze the speed challenges facing your site using online tools such as Pingdom and Google PageSpeed Insights. This way, you will embark on the journey to include some or all of the strategies we shall discuss in the remaining sections of our discourse being sure of the disease you intend to cure.
3. ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY PLUGINS
Even though plugins are great tools for optimizing your website, you should use them within a reasonable limit. The reason is that if you do not, you may end up building one thing with the right hand while the left hand is tearing down another. This is because if you install too many plugins on your website, they add excess weight to it, leading to an increase in the consumption of your server resources. This way, you may have added great features you innocently intended to benefit your users, but they will not enjoy them at the rate they should have done because of reduced loading speed.
4. REDUCE HTTP REQUEST
Another strategy to assist you in boosting your website’s loading speed is minimizing the HTTP requests you make. In a study conducted by Yahoo, 80% of the time web pages use to load goes to downloading various parts of the pages, for example, images, style sheets, scripts, and Flash. During those transactions, all these individual components require their own HTTP requests, and hence, a delay in the loading time. To deal with such delays, we recommend you take the following measures:
- Merge your style sheets
- Utilize CSS in preference to images, whenever that is possible
- Streamline the amount elements on your pages
- Reduce the amount of scripts and confine them to the bottom of your pages
5. OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES
In as much as images are significant components that enhance your visitors’ experience, the way you utilize them can become counterproductive because they can slow the loading time of your site. When dealing with these challenges, it is necessary to focus on two main areas, which are:
The first component of your pictures that will impair the swiftness of your website’s loading is their size. When using large images, they will take longer time loading compared smaller ones. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce their size by using online editing tools to:
- Eliminate image comments
- Crop your images to their optimal size so you can upload pictures that fit within the available size of your web pages
- Reduce the intensity of your pictures’ colors to the lowest levels possible
Format is another component you ought to pay attention to. By using the wrong image format, you will end up affecting the loading speed on your website. When uploading your images, it is beneficial to give JPEG the first priority. If it is a must to use GIF, then do so when dealing with small-sized graphics that don’t exceed 10×10 pixels. Also, make sure that their color palette does not exceed three colors.
8. ENABLE ZIPPING
When dealing with sublime quality content on your website, you will definitely find yourself having to load large files that exceed the 100kb ceiling. By so doing, you will end up reducing the loading speed of your web pages. So, how can you deal with such challenges? There is no need to worry about uploading such large files since you can compress or zip them using Gzip. This way, you will reduce the bandwidth of your web pages, and consequently, the need for more HTTP responses. When you do this, your web server will compress the files before dispatching them, leading to a 70 percent reduction in the download time needed.
9. COMPRESS YOUR IMAGES USING WP SMUSH.IT
If you are a WordPress user, installing the WP Smush.it plugin comes in handy since it compresses your images automatically. This tool allows you to minimize the size of your images while maintaining their visual quality. The best feature of the tool is that it operates silently in the background whenever you upload new images.
10. USE BROWSER CACHING
Another strategy that can assist you in boosting the speed of your site is optimizing browser caching. When you use this strategy, you minimize the need for fresh HTTP requests whenever people visit your website, meaning, they will need lesser time to do so. With caches your browser loads the pages without sending other HTTP requests to the server.
11.FIX EVERY BROKEN LINK
Lastly, it is necessary to pay attention to broken links in your site. If you do not, these faulty links will drain its bandwidth, forcing users to abandon your website in favor of your competitors’ sites. In your experience as a web user, you can remember your feelings when you try accessing pages or links on sites only to get a million 404 error responses. If this time-wasting experience angers you enough to shift to competitor websites, then be sure that your visitors will feel the same about yours. Therefore, you can use free tools like Google Webmaster Tools to identify all broken links and fix them on time before your visitors join the migration bandwagon.
In the physical world, dangers signs such as “Speed kills” are great tools for saving lives and avoiding road accidents. But on the Net, you have to reverse it and pay attention to this warning, “Speed saves the life of your website.” With such a contrasting awareness in mind, we all agree that a fast-loading website will save you many unnecessary online damages such as poor SEO ranking, decreased sales, nasty and regrettable user experiences, and reduced traffic to your website. Therefore, it is necessary to take time, analyze the speed level of your site, and then optimize the strategies we have shared in our post. This way, you will take your site to the next level and improve your users’ experience.