Consumers today expect speed and efficiency when using the Internet, whether for shopping, banking, or entertainment. According to Google, the average mobile website takes around 22 seconds to properly load. However, a three-second delay in page load time can result in an exit rate of as much as 53 percent. Fewer people will visit your website, your customers will be dissatisfied, and you’ll find it more difficult to hit your sales targets. You also risk losing your search engine results pages rank if your website is too slow.
As websites become more complex and feature-filled, page load time suffers. A basic website with minimal assets loads faster than one that’s full of plug-ins and graphics. If you want to make the most of your digital presence, you need to invest in website optimization to keep your page load speed as low as possible. While there’s a laundry list of factors to consider, there are a few strategies you can adopt to ensure your website is working at its best.
Here are a few things you can do to speed up your site. Let’s begin.
1. Minimize image and video assets
As a general rule, the more image and video assets you use, the heavier the page will be. You also have to consider two factors: the file size of each asset and the total number of assets on the page. To keep your website light and fast, you need to find a way to optimize the files you’re going to use.
For instance, one common technique is to resize images and videos. Many people upload the full-sized image to the page without thinking of the hit on the page load time. You could shave off a few seconds from the load time by uploading smaller images instead. A 5000-pixel wide image is a bit of an overkill if it’s going to be displayed at 1000 pixels. However, you also might want to add some breathing room to accommodate high-definition and retina displays.
Another thing you need to consider is the file type. PNG and TIFF files are notorious for big sizes, so avoid them as much as possible. Go for JPG if you want a light file type that doesn’t compromise on image quality. Even then, you may want to compress your image and video assets to keep file sizes small and manageable.
2. Minimize HTTP requests
When a user visits a website, the browser uses HTTP or hypertext transfer protocol to get the required data from a server. Sending too many HTTP requests makes your website load slower. Let’s say you’re dining out. The browser is you and the server is the kitchen. If you want to eat, you need to place an order and the kitchen will send the food to you. However, if you overload the kitchen with requests, they will produce food at a slower rate.
Thankfully, there are many ways to minimize the number of HTTP requests. For instance, cleaning up or simplifying the code can shave seconds off your page load speed. Reducing third-party dependencies and using CSS sprites are two common strategies as well. Make sure to balance function with speed. You don’t want to sacrifice functionality just to make your page load faster.
3. Improve your web hosting
Unless you host your own website, you probably rely on a third-party web hosting service to keep your website online. You need to make sure your hosting plan is sufficient for your website’s needs. If your website uses a lot of resources and has a lot of visitors, you will need a lot of bandwidth to keep it online. Otherwise, you’re going to receive a lot of complaints from irate users.
It might be tempting to use a cheaper hosting plan, especially if you’re just starting out. But businesses live and die on the quality of their online presence, and you end up sacrificing a lot more by skimping on the essentials. You need to set aside enough money to pay for dedicated web hosting to ensure your website remains working round the clock.
The bottom line
These are just some of the most common techniques you can use to improve your website’s speed and performance. From optimizing image and video assets to finding the right website host, improving site speed requires tweaks here and there. If you add up all the small changes you’ve made, you can see a significant improvement to your website.