Quality, digestible content that provides value to the reader. High-resolution images that immediately grab consumer attention. Easy navigation and checkout processes. Great deals and specials. These are among the factors making up fantastic websites that appeal to their target markets and rank highly on Google, but what about site speed? The speed at which your website operates is just as important to the search engine juggernaut as other essential features affecting site rankings.
Even a one-second delay has the power to reduce page visits, consumer satisfaction, and conversions. Avoid these issues and skirt finding your page much lower on Google search results with these tips for increasing site speed and therefore quality.
Limit HTTP Requests
Some 80% of a web page’s load time consists of downloading images, scripts, stylesheets, and any other features. Each of these features requires an HTTP request so the more components a page has, the more requests it includes. Reduce these requests by first determining how many your site produces and making adjustments accordingly. If you use Google Chrome, for example, you can use its Developer Tools to learn the request number and reduce your site’s totals.
Streamline Your Page Content
Take a look at each of your web page’s content not only to reduce the total number of HTTP requests, but to streamline its look and use. Pages loaded with buttons, images, text, videos, and titles look cluttered and confusing to visitors in addition to slowing down page download rates. While you do not want your pages to go the minimalist route, see what you don’t need to increase conversion rates. Pages with thousands of elements always have lower rates than those with more seamless designs.
Consider The Site Host
The hosting company keeping your website online may play a significant role in slowing it down. Unless your site is super simple and does not receive a lot of traffic, you need a hosting company that can accommodate your needs with faster technology, superior security, and 24/7 customer support and monitoring services.
Combine Your Files
Remove Extra Redirects
The number of redirects your site gets influences how many HTTP requests it receives. So if your site is constantly subjected to redirects, it will slow down to a crawl. Remove all extra redirects to eliminate this issue and avoid annoying potential customers.
Review Your Plug-Ins
While plugins are helpful, an excessive number hinders site speed. Outdated plugins have the same effect. Perform a plugin audit to remove what you don’t need for a faster, more functional site. If you are not sure which plugins should go, review them with your website administrator.
Get Specific With Image Dimensions
Large images without specific dimensions are another path to slow site speed. Create specific dimensions based on each image’s height and width tag properties to avoid this problem.
Allow For Compression
By now you know that small files equal faster website speed. Enable file compression to reduce load times with a quality file format and software app. Such apps identify strings of comparable code in text files and replace them-albeit temporarily–to reduce their size. This tip is particularly helpful for CSS and HTML due to the repeated whitespace and code they so often feature.
Provide Browser Caching
Whenever you click on a website, the elements from the visited pages get stored temporarily in your hard drive. Known as caches, these temporary digital storage “containers” mean your browser can load the page minus the HTTP requests the next time you visit it. It is therefore extremely helpful to enable browser caching on your website for speedy return visits. How you set up caching depends on whether you use HTML or WordPress to share your content with the world. If you operate a WordPress site, plugins such as W3 Total Cache make this process quick and simple. If you use standard HTML, use your .htaccess file to allow caching.
Use A CDN
Your site host is not the only network that increases or decreases load times. Other networks such as Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) eliminate slow page load issues from high traffic times and visitors who are physically far from your server location. A quality CND makes it possible to cache your site on a global server network so all site requests get rerouted quickly.
Discuss these and other tips for increasing site speed with your site administrator and marketing team to increase traffic, conversions, and revenue. And while it may take a few days to implement every change you want, it is well worth the effort. Think of increasing speed times as part of a comprehensive site audit and use it to learn more about your website, how it works, and what you can do to make it as appealing to your target audience as possible.
At Softline Solutions, we are here to help your site pique the interest of your target audience through Pay-Per-Click programs, display and Facebook ads, remarketing, and plenty of other useful services. Give us a call today to learn what we can do for your site.