Your page speed is measured as the amount of time taken for your site’s home page to load. Today, the internet is not at all short on data and there are dozens of alternate sites your potential customers could defect to if yours isn’t quick to load. This makes page load time, or latency, a powerful factor. Google underlined its significance by making page load time a factor in its search rankings starting July 2018.
Are you struggling to cut down on your page load time? Not sure what to do to shrink your website? Don’t panic because you’re one among thousands of people who are facing the same issue. We’ll be bringing you some useful tips right here right now.
But first, how big a factor is a latency? There have been hundreds of case studies ever since Amazon first announced that a 100ms of latency cost the site a 1% dip in sales. Let’s take a look some of those.
- Yahoo found that if they reduced page load time by 0.4s, traffic increased by 9%.
- Microsoft found that their query volume reduced by 0.21% when there was a latency of 400ms.
- According to Google, a small latency of 100ms reduced their traffic by 0.2%. It increased to 0.6% when latency moved up a further 300ms.
These case studies are strongly suggestive of the fact that page load time plays a critical role in diverting traffic towards (or away from) your website. This consequently affects your SEO, conversion and ultimately your revenue. So now who doesn’t want to optimize their website?!
Let’s get down to some simple stuff you can follow to turn around the fortune of your business.
#1 Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN works by hosting content across a number of servers across countries. This helps to reduce the time taken for a visitor’s browser to download data since the number of requests made by the browser is reduced. It also helps to save bandwidth and reduce the load on a single server.
Look to have multiple servers spread across the countries where you have a good customer base in. This will reduce the page load times for visitors who are physically distant, as well as maintain a good load time when traffic is high.
#2 Use a select number of plugins
If you’re using a WordPress based website, you have lots of options for plugins. We’ll be discussing a few that come in handy to reduce your page load times. With the exception of those and a few others that you need to keep your site running, everything else can be removed.
Too many plugins make it difficult to maintain the site. You’ll need to update them frequently. If not, they’ll become vulnerable to attacks. Also, they’ll cause your site to slow down. Be choosy with your plugins.
Use Plugin Performance Profiler to evaluate plugins that are causing trouble and deactivate them.
#3 Reduce HTTP requests
Your page makes an HTTP request for every element it loads. You can reduce the size of some files and combine some to reduce the number of HTTP requests so that your page can be loaded faster.
If you’re using Google Chrome, you can easily analyze the number, type, size and time of each HTTP request your site makes. Just right click on your page, click Inspect > Network.
- Minimize the size of files by cutting down on unnecessary formatting, whitespace, and code. You can use WP Minify for this.
This automatically reduces RTT (Round Trip Times) as well.
#4 Use asynchronous loading
Okay. So what’s this now?
Synchronous loading is when your files load one by one in the order they appear on your page. Asynchronous loading is when some of your files are loaded simultaneously.
With synchronous loading, your page stops loading content until a particular CSS or JS file is loaded and this can be quite frustrating for users. With asynchronous loading, all your files are loaded simultaneously and this enables them to read ahead while the images are getting loaded. You can enable this option in the same ‘Static Files’ tab of the WP Rocket plugin.
#5 Enable lazy loading
Talking about the way content is loaded onto your webpage, ‘Lazy Loading’ comes into perspective. Instead of loading all your images, ‘Lazy Loading’ loads only those that are in the user’s viewport. As the user scrolls down, the images load one by one as they enter the viewport.
#6 Compress your files
Compressing your files, especially images is a norm today. It’s one of the easiest and most popular methods of reducing load time. It’s also popularly called ‘zipping’.
You can use WP Smush.it to compress images automatically without compromising on quality.
You can also use Gzip which is a software application. It compresses all your files into a zip file that the browser can download and then unzip. It’s quick and efficient!!
#7 Enable caching
If you enable caching in your browser, it stores certain elements of the sites you visit. This makes it easier to load those particular sites if you revisit them since the browser doesn’t have to resend an HTTP request to the server.
You can use a WP plugin like W3 Total Cache.
#8 Choose the best-suited hosting type
Even though Shared Hosting is the most economical hosting there is, you should choose your hosting type according to your needs.
If your site has a lot of content that takes up a lot of space, Shared Hosting is not recommended since it gives you only limited storage space and limited RAM. You should go for either VPS Hosting or Dedicated Server Hosting depending on how much you’re willing to spend.
Make sure you also opt for SSL certificates. SSL is a must-have for websites today, not just as a security and trust factor, but also as a ranking factor since Google announced the same.