What’s one second of your time? On the light-speed world of online page surfing and half-second attention spans, one second of page loading time can make a major impact on website visitors. Studies have shown that every one-second delay in page load times results in 11% fewer page views, 7% loss of conversions, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
Simply put, every second of page load time can make a noteworthy difference. For blogs and social websites, a decrease in page views affects ad revenue and long-term audience engagement.
For online stores, a decrease in customer satisfaction hurts customer retention, which in turn affects the bottom line. Increasing website speeds, as a result, is a critical issue on the minds of many website administrators.
Many wish to know how to make their website faster, but in doing so ignore the root of the systematic slowdown. You’re already using a reputable web host, they should be responsible for your website speed, right?
Well, not exclusively. As it turns out, one of the best ways to speed up your entire website is by digging down to the root causes and enhancing the speed of individual problem pages.
If you keep asking “Why is my website slow?”, you should seriously take these 6 tips for increasing website speed into account during your next round of website re-optimization.
Tip 1: Know the Difference Between Page Speed and Website Speed
Page speed and website speed are often thrown around interchangeably in common parlance, even though they don’t carry the exact same meaning. In fact, preoccupation with the latter often causes website administrators to entirely overlook the former.
Knowing the difference will go a long way to help you determine what solutions are best for making your website run faster overall.
In simple terms, “page speed” refers to the amount of time it takes for an individual website page to load in its content. This can be further split into two sub-categories that can act as metrics of a page’s speed.
First, there is “page load time,” which refers to the amount of time it takes to load the entirety of an individual page’s content. Second, there is “time to the first byte.” Though this sounds like the scheduled beginning of a hearty Thanksgiving meal, it actually refers to how long it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of information from the requested server.
When a visitor complains that a “website is slow,” they are often observing that several (and potentially a majority) of pages on that website load at a sub-optimal rate (slower than around 2-3 seconds, for modern browsers).
“Website speed” is a more technical term, used by professionals when measuring the median and average page speed for a website. This metric can be ascertained in several manners, including by sampling 10 or more individual web pages under a variety of circumstances to test their overall speed and rate of data transfer.
While website speed is a good general indicator, it may not tell the whole story (especially if individual pages are causing an exceptional amount of slow-down). As such, you should be mindful of using it to qualify your website’s overall performance.
Tip 2: Enable Compression
Many modern browsers enable a method of HTTP compression knowns as Gzip by default. However, you must also be sure that your web server supports Gzip compression. Flipping this compression mode is easy and can often be accessed from your website’s main optimization control panel.
Adding this type of compression can improve server response times by 90%, which in turn translates to a considerable speed boost for each page.
In the same vein, many image-laden website administrators desire to know how to make photos load faster on their website.
While server-side compression is one option, this is likely to decrease the image’s overall resolution and quality. Instead, consider other compression methods supported natively in programs like Adobe Photoshop.
Tip 3: Leverage Browser Caching
Browser caching is a method of data fetching that stores copies of key information locally, making it easier to reload without the need of a new server request.
Cached information loads in a fraction of the time, allowing users to access pages quickly and efficiently after their first visit.
Many website hosts already incorporate a caching policy by default. That being said, you should consider modifying your browser caching capacity if you have a decent amount of data that repeatedly appears on your website.
Tip 4: Minimize Redirects
While redirects are occasionally necessary when a website is under construction or features a mobile version, you should minimize their use whenever possible. This is because each redirect adds strain to the host CPU, which effectively goes through two data access and retrieval cycles at once.
While many modern browsers can handle this type of strain, too much redirection adds a noteworthy strain to overall page load times.
One example would be for “example.com”. In order to access their mobile-optimized site, the browser will redirect “example.com” to “www.example.com” to “m.example.com”.
With three total page loading cycles, the user can expect exceptionally slower page load times once they reach the appropriate page.
Tip 5: Regularly Run Live Tests on Different Hardware and Software
After applying some of the other tips, one way to know with certainty that you have sped up your website is through performing live tests. This way, you can get a feeling for the user-side experience of accessing your webpages.
You should always strive to make your tests as comprehensive as possible when accounting for hardware and software. As such, be sure to always test on each of the major internet browsers – Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.
Also, try to run tests on a variety of hardware models, including Mac and Windows systems from the past several years.
Tip 6: Remain Vigilant for a Better Web Host
Though it often goes without saying, you should also always be on the lookout for a website hosting provider that is the best on the market. Well-equipped web hosts often have integrated software that will allow them to help you optimize each of the factors described above.
Though this is a holistic approach to speeding up your website, some website administrators are willing to make such a large change if it leads to vastly improved page speeds.
A quality web host will help make your website faster from the ground up, as soon as you migrate over.
Make Your Website Faster – There’s Plenty You Can Do
Though it may be difficult at first to diagnose why your website is running slow, you’ll quickly learn that a few simple tricks will help reinvigorate your web pages.
Using the 6 tips included in this article, you’ll have a leg up on the competition when it comes to speeding up your website and optimizing every last second your visitors spend on your website.