If you are a seasoned blogger, chances are that you are very much aware of how crucial the speed of page loading is to a website. But for the benefit of the newbie, here are some of the reasons why you should speed up the loading time of your website:
- Page loading speed is one of the things being taken into the calculation of ranking algorithm by search engines like Google in determining your website’s SEO ranking. The faster your website loads, the higher its ranking.
- Give your visitors a better surfing experience. Not many surfers have the patience to wait for a slow page to load. You have on average 4 seconds… only. Beyond that, most visitors would leave even before the page is fully loaded, thus leading to a higher bounce rate for your site.
How to Test Your Website’s Speed
Naturally your next question would be how to test your website’s loading speed. There are quite a number of sites that help you measure your website’s loading speed but I am going to share with you two of my favorite speed test sites.
The first is Whichloadsfaster which is kind of fun to play around with. All you need to do is to enter two websites URL that you wished to compare and then hit GO. The tool will compare the loading speed for these two sites. Now, go ahead and use this tool to compare the loading speed of your website against your competitor’s.
There’s another tool that you could try, GTmetrix. This tool is more serious and provides you a report of your website’s loading performance using Google Page Speed and Yahoo! YSlow as well as some recommendations on how to improve your speed.
How Do You Speed Up Your Website
Now that you have determined your website’s loading speed and are convinced of the need to make some improvements, let’s check out the following tips on how to do so.
1. Take advantage of CloudFlare.
CloudFlare is a CDN (content delivery network) service that helps your website loads faster. It is essentially a group of servers strategically placed in data centers around the world. And these servers store your websites data in it. It will then route your visitors to the nearest data center and as such, optimizes bandwidth and reduces latency. The best part is that it offers both FREE plan and paid services.
2. Image Format
One of the culprits in slowing down your website’s loading is the use of too many images. Your correct use of image format like JPEG, PNG or GIF would determine a website’s loading speed. A quick guide: use JPEG for photographs, PNG for single-image more than 256 colors and GIF for animation & logos.
3. Optimize Images
Continuing from the above tip, you could also work on optimizing these images. Many of the image editing software like Photoshop has an option to resize and optimize the image for web purposes.
Alternatively, if you have a WordPress blog, you could also use the plugin Smush.it. Once installed, it will automatically help you remove unnecessary bytes from your images without distorting its visual quality. Give this great plugin a try!
4. Reduce Plugins and Widgets
I admit that adding plugins and widgets can sometimes be addictive but do note that installing too many plugins will slow down your website dramatically. Not that I am dead against the use of plugins and widgets but do keep them at a minimum. Do a constant cleanup and remove all those plugins that you hardly ever use and the widgets that are no longer necessary. See what it will do to your page loading.
5. Website Hosting
Some hosting providers may squeeze more domains into a server than others and as a result put a strain on the bandwidth and slow down your website. My suggestion is to do some research and go with a hosting provider that has a good reputation. If you need further help on choosing the best web host, you can check out my web hosting reviews for some guidance and ideas.
The other thing is that if you are on a shared hosting plan, you will experience slower speed compared to if you were hosted on a dedicated server, especially if yours is a complex website or if your website has a lot of traffic. Therefore you may want to consider upgrading your hosting plan if your website loads too slowly.
There you are a few tips to help you increase your website’s loading speed. I am sure you would agree that most of them are quite simple. It’s true, these are simple steps and you don’t need to be a techie to understand them. Unfortunately, not many web owners implement these steps. My hope is that you would and by doing so, will experience a leap in your website’s performance!