Your website’s speed makes the first and most important impression about your company. When it comes to user experience, you won’t get a second chance. Long loading times will deter potential customers from accessing your resources.
A well-performing website leads to higher search engine rankings, high return visits, increased engagement, higher conversion, lower bounce rates, and improved user experience.
Conversely, a poorly performing site will damage your reputation and bottom line. You impact sales and marketing positively by reducing the page load time. You’ll attract more qualified leads and get higher traffic.
Now, here are nine steps to take to improve performance.
1. Change your hosting type or provider
There are three possible types of hosting for your website: dedicated, VPS, and shared hosting. The last type is the most commonly used in the world. It’s a cheap and fast way to get your site online, but it can leave something to be desired in terms of quality.
With this hosting type, you share RAM, disk space, and CPU with other users on the server. Performance is poorer as a result.
Dedicated and Virtual Private Servers are much faster. A VPS distributes content using several servers. Your site does not affect other users, although you still share a server because everyone has their isolated part of it. VPS is the optimal solution if you experience traffic spikes. You would during holidays if you had an eCommerce business, for example.
Dedicated hosting is the most expensive option but guarantees the best performance. You pay rent for a server and its maintenance by a professional.
There is also cloud hosting, where you rent resources from Google, Microsoft Azure, or another public provider. This solution can include on-demand and unlimited scaling.
Finally, you can opt for serverless architecture, which does away with server setup procedures and maintenance entirely.
2. Use a CDN to redirect user requests
A Content Delivery Network is a set of web servers across different locations. If your site is hosted on a single server, the same hardware receives all user requests. As a result, it takes longer to process each one. The loading time increases when the user is far away from the server.
When you set up a CDN, the user requests will be redirected to the closest server geographically. The site’s speed will increase as a result. While it will cost you some money, this is a very effective way to optimize performance.
3. Compress images
Visual appeal is a big part of a website’s success. Appealing images are paramount to businesses in industries like eCommerce. When you have a lot of pictures, photos, and graphics of your products, your engagement increases.
On the minus side, images can be bulky and slow down your website. You can use tools like Kraken, JPEGmini, or ImageOptim to compress images without compromising their quality.
Alternatively, you can adjust the size using HTML-responsive images’ “size” and “secret” attributes.
5. Use fewer plugins
While you can’t do without plugins, you should try to use fewer of them. The more you have, the more resources you need to run them. Website performance suffers, and you might also have security problems.
Over time, the number of plugins increases. Check to see if your site has plugins that you’re not using. Delete those and perform a performance test to check which ones are slowing it down. The speed is also impacted by plugin quality. Avoid those that provoke too many database queries or load a lot of styles and scripts.
6. Caching is your friend
Servers need more time to deliver content when a lot of users are trying to access a page at the same time. Website caching is where you store your site’s current version and show it until it is updated. A cached page does not issue database requests every time someone tries to view it.
If your site was built on WordPress, you can use the plugins W3 Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. Sites on a dedicated or VPS server have caching under the general settings. If you use shared hosting, website caching is rarely possible.
7. Reduce web font traffic size
Too many web fonts will impact loading time adversely because each font adds an HTTP request to your resources. To reduce the size of traffic, you can take the following measures:
· Use only those character sets that are on the site;
· Use formats WOFF2 for modern browsers;
· Choose only the styles needed.
8. Fewer redirects
Finally, run a site scan to identify the redirects and leave just the critical ones.