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15 Best Practices to Improve Your Website Speed

According to a recent study, almost half of all web users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. If it takes longer, they start to lose patience and will likely leave. In fact, for every second a website is slow, it loses 7% of its audience. That’s a lot of potential customers you could be losing if your website is slow.

It is essential to improve your website speed.

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So how do you make sure your website is fast enough to keep users happy? This article will share 15 best practices to help you improve your website speed. You’ll have a lightning-fast website that will keep users coming back for more by the end.

What’s the Average Website Speed?

Before we dive into the best practices, let’s first take a look at the average website speed. Based on data from HTTP Archive, the average website loads in 14.7 seconds on desktop and 7.3 seconds on mobile.

While that may not seem too bad, keep in mind that most web users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. So, there’s definitely room to improve your website speed.

How Important is to improve your Website Speed?

Website speed is essential for several reasons. Some of the reasons include:

  • It affects your search engine rankings: Google has stated that website speed is a ranking factor, so you need to have a fast website to rank higher in search results.
  • It improves your conversion rate: A slow website can cost you sales and leads. Even a 1-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions.
  • A slow website will frustrate users and cause them to leave: It increases your bounce rate. A 1-second delay in page load time can increase your bounce rate by 32%.
  • A fast website will keep users happy and coming back for more: It improves your user experience. 79% of web users say they would not return to a too slow website.
  • It lowers your operating costs: A fast website uses less bandwidth and server resources, saving you money on your hosting bill.
  • It makes your website more scalable: A fast website can handle more traffic without slowing down.

So, as you can see, website speed is vital for several reasons. To improve your search engine rankings, conversion rate, and user experience, you need to make sure your website is fast.

15 Best Practices to Improve Your Website

Now that we’ve covered why website speed is critical let’s look at some of the best practices you can use to speed up your website.

01. Use a content delivery network (CDN)

The first best practice is to use a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN is a network of servers that deliver content to users based on their geographic location. Using a CDN can improve your website speed for users located far from your server.

While using CDN, make sure to:

  • Use a reputable CDN provider: There are a lot of CDN providers to choose from. Do your research and select a provider that’s right for you.
  • Configure your CDN: Once you’ve chosen a CDN provider, configure it properly. This includes setting the correct cache settings and selecting the suitable server locations.
  • Test your CDN: After configuring your CDN, test it to ensure it’s working correctly.

02. Optimize your images

Images are one of the most common elements on a web page, so optimizing them for speed is important. There are a few ways you can optimize your images:

  • Resize your images: Make sure your images are the correct size. Don’t use an image that’s larger than necessary. Use a tool like Photoshop or GIMP to resize your images when in doubt.
  • Compress your images: Use an image compression tool to reduce the file size of your images. This will help them load faster.
  • Optimize your image format: JPEG is the best format for most images. However, if you have an image with many colors, you may want to use a PNG or GIF.

03. Minimize your code

The next best practice is to minimize your code. This means removing unnecessary characters from your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. By minimizing your code, you can reduce the file size and improve the load time of your web pages.

04. Use a caching plugin

Caching is a technique that stores a copy of your web page in the browser’s cache. When users revisit your website, they don’t have to download the entire page again. Instead, they can load the cached version, which is much faster.

To use caching on your WordPress site, you can install a caching plugin like WP Rocket or W3 Total Cache.

While using a caching plugin, make sure to:

  • Configure your caching plugin: Each caching plugin has its settings. Make sure to configure your plugin correctly to get the best results.
  • Clear your cache: Whenever you make changes to your website, make sure to clear your cache so that users can see the latest version of your site.
  • Test your site: After configuring your caching plugin, test your website to ensure it’s working as expected.

05. Use a content management system (CMS)

If you’re not using a content management system (CMS), now is the time to start. A CMS can help you manage your content more effectively and make it easier to publish new content. WordPress is the most popular CMS, but there are other options available, such as Drupal and Joomla.

A CMS works to optimize the speed by:

  • Automatically optimizing your website: A CMS can help optimize your website for speed without you having to do anything.
  • Creating a faster website: A CMS can help you create a speedier website using caching and minifying code features.
  • Updating your website automatically: A CMS can help keep your website up-to-date automatically, which can help prevent problems that could slow down your site.

06. Use a responsive design

Responsive design is an approach to web design that makes your website look good on all devices, from mobile phones to laptops. If you’re not using a responsive design, now is the time to start.

Using a responsive design can help improve your website speed by:

  • Reducing the amount of code: A responsive design uses less code than a non-responsive design. This can help reduce the file size and improve the load time of your web pages.
  • Improving the user experience: A responsive design provides a better user experience, encouraging users to stay on your site longer.
  • Allowing you to use one URL: A responsive design will enable you to use one URL for your website, which can help improve your SEO.

A responsive design means:

  • Creating a website that works on all devices: You don’t have to make a separate website for each device.
  • Making your website look good on all devices: A responsive design ensures that your website looks good on all devices, from mobile phones to laptops.
  • Optimizing your website for speed: A responsive design can help improve your website speed by reducing the amount of code and improving the user experience.

07. Consolidate your files

If you have multiple CSS or JavaScript files, you should consolidate them into one file. This will reduce the number of HTTP requests, improving the load time of your web pages.

08. Use a CSS preprocessor

A CSS preprocessor is a tool that helps you write and maintain your CSS code. Sass and Less are two popular CSS preprocessors. Using a CSS preprocessor can help improve your website speed by:

  • Reducing the file size of your CSS files: A CSS preprocessor can help reduce the file size of your CSS files by minifying and compressing them.
  • Improving the organization of your CSS code: A CSS preprocessor can help improve the organization of your CSS code, which can make it easier to maintain and update.
  • Compiling your CSS code: A CSS preprocessor can compile your CSS code into one file, reducing the number of HTTP requests.

09. Use a JavaScript preprocessor

A JavaScript preprocessor is a tool that helps you write and maintain your JavaScript code. Babel and TypeScript are two popular JavaScript preprocessors. Using a JavaScript preprocessor can help improve your website speed by:

  • Reducing the file size of your JavaScript files: A JavaScript preprocessor can help reduce the file size of your JavaScript files by minifying and compressing them.
  • Improving the organization of your JavaScript code: A JavaScript preprocessor can help improve the organization of your JavaScript code, which can make it easier to maintain and update.
  • Compiling your JavaScript code: A JavaScript preprocessor can compile your JavaScript code into one file, reducing the number of HTTP requests.

10. Get rid of render-blocking CSS and JavaScript

CSS and JavaScript are render-blocking resources, which means that they need to be loaded before the page can be rendered. The problem with render-blocking resources is that they can delay the display of the page, which can make your website appear slow.

You need to eliminate any render-blocking CSS and JavaScript to fix this problem. You can do this by:

  • Inlining your CSS: Inlining your CSS means adding your CSS code directly to your HTML code. This can reduce the number of HTTP requests, improving the load time of your web pages.
  • Deferring your JavaScript: Deferring your JavaScript means loading your JavaScript code after the page has been rendered. This can improve the load time of your web pages.

11. Improve your server response time

Your server response time is the time it takes for your server to respond to a request. The faster your server responds, the faster your web pages will load.

You can improve your server response time by:

  • Using a content delivery network (CDN): A CDN stores copies of your website on multiple servers worldwide. When a user visits your website, they will be served the content from the server closest to them, which can improve your server response time.
  • Optimizing your database: If your website is powered by a database, you can optimize it for speed by using indexing and caching.
  • Using a faster web server: If your website is hosted on a shared server, you can improve your server response time by upgrading to a faster web server.

12. Change Hosting Providers

If you are not happy with your current hosting provider, you can switch to a new one. Many great hosting providers out there offer fast and reliable service. Do some research and find one that is right for you.

A good hosting provider helps with:

  • Loading Static Assets: A good hosting provider should be able to load your static assets (images, CSS, and JavaScript files) quickly.
  • Server Response Time: A good hosting provider should have a fast server response time. This means that your web pages will load quickly for your visitors.
  • Uptime: A good hosting provider should have high uptime. This means that your website will be available for your visitors most of the time.

13. Implement Caching

Caching is a technique that stores data in memory or on disk to be accessed quickly. When you implement caching, your web pages will load faster because the data will be retrieved from memory or disk instead of retrieved from the server.

There are many different types of caching, such as:

  • Browser caching: Browser caching stores data in the browser to be accessed quickly when the user revisits your website.
  • Server caching: Server caching stores data on the server to be accessed quickly when the user visits your website.
  • CDN caching: CDN caching stores data on a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to be accessed quickly when the user visits your website.
  • Database caching: Database caching stores data in the database to be accessed quickly when the user visits your website.

14. Use a Fast Theme

If you are using a WordPress site, you need to make sure you use a fast theme. There are many great themes out there that are designed for speed. Do some research and find one that is right for you.

15. Get Help from an Expert

If you are having trouble increasing the speed of your website, you can get help from an expert. There are many great consultants and agencies that specialize in website speed. Do some research and find one that is right for you.

If you’re looking for help increasing the speed of your website, look no further! I’m specialized in website speed optimization and can help get your site up to lightning-fast speeds. Contact me today to learn more!

Conclusion

Site speed is vital for many reasons. It affects your SEO, conversion rate, and the user experience of your visitors. If your website is slow, you need to take action to improve it.

There are many things you can do to increase the speed of your website. These include optimizing your images, minifying your code, using a caching plugin, and more.

Need help to improve your website speed?

If you’re not sure where to start, hire an expert to help you out. They can help you identify the bottlenecks on your site and come up with a plan to fix them. Contact us today to learn more!

FAQs

What is a good load speed for a website?

A good load speed for a website is under 2 seconds. However, the ideal load speed is under 1 second.

How important is site speed for SEO?

Site speed is essential for SEO because it affects your search engine ranking. Google uses site speed as a ranking factor, so you will likely rank lower in the search results if your site is slow.

What is page speed in SEO?

Page speed in SEO refers to the time it takes for a web page to load. The faster a web page loads, the better it will rank in the search results.

How long is too long for a website to load?

A website should ideally load in under 2 seconds. However, anything over 3 seconds is considered too slow.

Why do websites load slowly?

There are many reasons why websites load slowly. Common causes include poorly optimized images, inefficient code, and bad hosting.

What is a good website response time?

A good website response time is under 200 milliseconds. Anything over 500 milliseconds is considered too slow.

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