Simple Changes To Speed Up Your Business Website
The speed with which your website loads and responds can seriously affect your conversion rate. If a site takes more than a few seconds to load, if you can’t immediately scroll down, or if it keeps sticking or crashing, then most people will give up and go elsewhere. Even if they stick with you, it will be a frustrating experience that will not endear your brand to them and so will dissuade them from spending their money. Website speed is also a ranking factor in Google algorithms, meaning that a slow site is less likely to show up in a keyword search.
Bear in mind that many users of your site may have a slower connection speed than you do. Many may still be using dial-up rather than broadband. Even for these people, a loading time of more than five seconds is unacceptable. Two seconds is the maximum loading time that you should be aiming for, and ideally, you should try to get it down to under half a second.
Change Your Server or Host
Your site may be hosted on a crowded shared server that is slowing it down, or it may be built on a platform that is not correctly optimized. You might also want to consider hosting your site on a server local to where most of your users come from. This will be faster than sending them to the other side of the world unnecessarily. For domain name registration in Canada for example, consider http://primus.ca/business/internet-and-data/domain-and-dns-hosting/.
Reduce Image Size
A common cause of slow loading time is having unnecessarily large images on your site. Images are usually the “heaviest” object on a webpage and so are most likely to slow it down. The larger an image is, or the higher resolution it is, the heavier it is. Yet many images are loaded at a much larger size than they appear on screen. Similarly, the average computer screen shows images at 75 dpi, yet many images are loaded at print quality: 200-300 dpi. The code needed to reduce the image down to a manageable size also eats into your website’s performance.
The answer, of course, is to shrink or compress your images before loading them to your site. In Photoshop, click “save to web” and reduce your image size to 70%. Download your existing photos and save them at a much smaller size and lower quality, then re-upload them. Text files can also be compressed.
Remove Unwanted Code
Old or unused scripts, CSS files, external tools, and plugins can also slow your site. These may have become redundant when replaced by newer versions but are still hanging around. If you have disabled add-ons that you never use, they can still be loading, so delete them. With some files and codes however, it can be difficult to know if they’re necessary or not. It may be worth hiring a professional to regularly update and optimize your site. These experts can command sizeable salaries, so think twice as to whether it’s worth keeping them on full-time.
Your website speed is one of the most important elements in providing an excellent customer experience. This should be any business’s highest priority. Optimizing your site speed can begin with just a few simple steps. Act today.