If you own a website for your company, business or freelance, you probably also know how important website speed is. Did you know that Google and other major Search Engines use website speed among other things to rank websites? While making your website faster only addresses one of many search engine optimization issues, it is nonetheless very important. So, if you’ve ever wondered what a faster website could do for you and how to do it, read on. Among other things, we will discuss why web speed is important, how to check and how to improve loading times. We hope this technical post helps those of our readers who have websites. Finally, as a web design agency, we encourage you to contact us regarding your web design or graphics projects.
Have you ever visited an extremely slow website that has the information you’re looking for? Chances are that you left the website after waiting a few seconds because it took too long to load. And that’s the reason why website speed is so important; it could be the difference needed to gain a customer. To meet this need for blazing fast speeds, websites make use of CDN’s like Cloudflare, and other technical methods. In this post, we will go over a few of them.
However, before we do, here are some related posts you might find equally helpful:
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- Seven Things to Know Before Starting an Ecommerce Business
- Top Ten Benefits of having a Website for your Small Business
- How to Build an Online Presence for your Company
- Seven Useful Tips on How to Grow your Business Online
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- Five Reasons why you should Buy a Domain Name for your Company
- How to choose the Right Domain Name for your Website
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In the following section, we will take an in-depth look at why your website speed is so important.
Why your Website Speed is very Important?
Recently, Google made it clear that the speed of a website will be considered in determining its page ranking. In other words, this means that a slow website can reduce a websites’ ranking on Google’s results page. And as you can imagine, this ranking is crucial for driving website traffic and customers to a website.
Asides from this though, why is having a faster website important? Here are few reasons:
- First Impressions and User Experience: As a business owner with a website, how your target audience perceives you is important. For example, it is a known fact that if customers “like” a product or company, it will translate into sales. In the same way, if customers have a poor experience because of slow speeds, it could lead to losses.
- A Slow Website Impacts Sales: There is perhaps nothing more frustrating to a potential customer than a slow, under-optimized website. Chances are that if you have a website like that, you will have minimal sales. Research has shown that 50% of potential customers will abandon a website if it fails to load in three seconds.
- A fast Website will increase User Engagement: Besides affecting sales, website speed has also been shown to affect user engagement on a website. User engagement through use of online forms, subscriptions, etc. tend to increase with faster website loading times.
In the next section, we will provide links to tools that can be used to check your website speed.
How to check your Website Speed
Several free and accurate tools exist online for checking a website’s speed. In addition, these tools also provide useful information on causes of bottlenecks and how to fix them. Some of these tools include:
Common Mistakes that affect Website Speed
Chances are that if you have a slow website, it is caused by very specific issues. The good news though is that If those issues are fixed, your website will become fast. So here are some common mistakes web designers and developers make that slow down a website:
- Use of Adobe Flash Content: Up until just a few years ago, the use of Adobe Flash content on websites was very popular. However, it was bulky and hard to optimize for search engines. Earlier this year, Adobe ended support for Adobe Flash, bringing an end to an era of web design. As a result, it is strongly recommended that Adobe Flash not be used on any websites going forward.
- Non-optimized Images: Regardless of the type of website you have, if it will be inviting and user-friendly, it will need images. However, an excessive number of images, while necessary could slow down a website. In such cases, optimization of website images is highly recommended. Such optimization could help reduce image sizes and cache them for faster load times. Examples of image optimization plugins for WordPress include WP Smush, Imagify, and EWWW Image Optimizer.
- Poor Web Hosting Services: If a website is hosted with a hosting service with mediocre resources, it will naturally affect its websites. In most cases, the best solution to this is to change webhosts. Examples of excellent webhosts to use include Siteground, Dreamhost and Bluehost.
- Too many Plugins: Sometimes, web designers make the mistake of installing too many plugins for the wide range of functionality they need. The downside to this however is that a plugin needs to load its files on a page for its functionality to work. In cases where there are too many plugins, this could significantly affect loading times. This is why periodic reviews of website plugins should be done to determine what is needed. Unused plugins should in turn be deactivated and deleted.
Next, we will discuss some simple and practical ways to speed up your website.
Simple Ways to Speed up your Website
As we’ve already seen, website speeds can significantly affect product sales and user engagement on a website. So how do you fix common bottlenecks that cause a website to become slow? Here are five simple ways to speed up your website:
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): One of the best ways to speed up a website is by using a CDN. A CDN stores website pages and provides them to website visitors when needed faster than the webhost can. They also provide an added layer of security between the public and your website files. Some webhosts provide custom built CDNs that are provided for free with their hosting account. Examples of CDN’s include Cloudflare, Stackpath, and Amazon Cloudfront.
- Optimize Website Images and disable Hotlinking: Like we explained earlier image optimization can reduce a website’s size by over 35%. It is definitely recommended. On the other hand, hotlinking is when a website makes use of an image uploaded to your website on theirs. It basically allows them to make use of the image on their website while using your bandwidth. Hotlinking can be disabled by adding a simple code to your website’s .htaccess file.
- Optimize Databases: Over time, databases can become messy due to saved posts, saved drafts, or deactivated plugins. When a database is optimized, unused files and data are removed, making the website load much faster.
- Reduce Redirects: There are several legitimate reasons why a link redirect may be setup. For example, you may want to redirect traffic to a different subdomain or use it to fix a broken link. Regardless, the process of redirecting increases a page’s load time. As such, it is a good idea to use them only when necessary.
- Review and disable unused Plugins: Like we also said earlier, too many plugins can affect a website’s loading speed. As such, only plugins that are actively in use should be enabled. All others should be deactivated and deleted.
We hope you’ve learnt a thing or two about website speed from this post and gotten some useful tools. If you have, let us know by leaving a comment at the end of this post. In addition, let us know what things you have done to make your website faster. As always, we would love to hear from you.
Today’s Funny Quote
As is our custom, we will end this post with a funny quote. Today, our funny quote is by Albert Camus, the French Philosopher and Author. He said:
Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
Do you agree? Do you know someone who makes a huge effort to pretend to be normal? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Did you know that Innovate Today is a part of Innovate Design Studios Ltd? We are a web design company that provide premium web design, website maintenance and graphics services. If you’d like to know more about the service we provide, feel free to check out our Services page. On the other hand, if you’d like to get a free, no obligation quote for your web design project, contact us to submit a quote request.
Have a great weekend and we will see you again next week with more inspiring posts.
Innovate Design Studios creates innovative web design solutions that provide you with a secure, custom designed web presence that promotes your business and generates revenue and exposure.