With so much online competition vying for your target audience these days, it’s important you take website performance optimization seriously.
After all, Marc Benioff, Chairman, CEO, and Founder of SalesForce, said that:
“Speed is the new currency of business.”
And, while he added that successful companies are connecting with their customers in a whole new way, the truth is, if your site doesn’t perform well, you’ll never have a chance to connect with your visitors the way you want to.
If you find your website lacking in both speed and performance, you might think that the best way to fix this is to upgrade your hosting plan, or better yet, switch web hosts altogether.
With a better plan, or a brand new company, you’ll be able to tap into features designed to make your website load faster than ever and function at its best.
However, before you make that decision and invest lots of money in a new hosting plan or provider, you should try these 5 website optimization tips first.
Not only will they help to boost the speed and performance of your website, they’ll save you lots of money in the long run. Not to mention the headache of having to switch web hosts.
So, let’s check them in detail.
Website Optimization Tips to Improve Speed & Performance
There’s no denying that people are visual creatures. And, as the internet becomes more integral to people’s everyday lives, it’s not surprising to find that they want more visual content than ever.
It’s also not surprising to see that website owners are giving people what they want.
However, according to HTTP Archive, images make up approximately 44% of a webpage’s requests.
In fact, it can be said that bulky, large, and non-optimized images are the main reason your website is loading slow.
So, just because you’re giving people what they want, doesn’t mean it’s making you successful.
That’s why you should follow these best practices when it comes to optimizing images on your site:
Format: Only use JPGs for high-quality images that won’t be modified before uploading. Otherwise, stick with PNGs for things like logo designs, text, and most screenshots.
Sizing: Use fixed widths and set a maximum height on images to reduce file sizes and increase page loading speed.
Number of Images: While imagery is important, try to keep the number of images you use to a minimum to free up resources for other design elements and functionality.
Lastly, take advantage of free online tools like TinyPNG, Compressor.io to optimize your images before uploading them to your website.
You can drag and drop PNGs and JPGs into this online tool and compress them, without sacrificing their quality. This reduces the files sizes so they load faster on your site.
If you have a WordPress website, there are plenty of image optimizations plugins like Smush It, Optimus, and Imagify you can use in the WordPress dashboard to make image optimization that much easier.
Utilize a Content Network Delivery (CDN)
One of the best ways you can deliver site content to users faster than ever is to take advantage of a content network delivery (CDN).
With a CDN, servers are scattered across the globe all hosting your website’s data.
Then, when a site visitor clicks on your website, the server geographically closest to them delivers your site’s content, reducing latency and boosting site speed.
The great thing about CDNs is that your hosting provider may provide access to free CDN services and you just don’t know it. So, check it out and see if this is a service they provide.
Another reason to consider leveraging a CDN on your website is that they often provide added security in the form of integrated DDoS protection, security certificate improvements, and more.
Enable Page Caching
Page caching is a complicated concept – if you want it to be.
But the simple explanation is that caching is the act of creating static versions of your site’s content, and delivering that to your site visitors every time they visit.
By doing this, you save your server the trouble of having to fetch your site’s content every time someone clicks on your website.
Some of the best WordPress cache plugins on the market today include WP Super Cache, LiteSpeed Cache, and W3 Total Cache.
And, if you use a good caching solution, like WP Fastest Cache, every time you update your site’s content (making it dynamic), your website’s cache will update too so site visitors always get your newest content.
Don’t have a WordPress website?
Speed optimization isn’t just about reducing the size of images and delivering site content quickly. In fact, dealing with the number of client-server requests is just as important.
In addition, you can:
- Reduce network latency
- Decrease the number of HTML requests
- Enhance compression
- Boost browser downloading and execution
- Improve the overall user experience
Into a webpage that looks like this:
Notice how minifying your site’s code squishes your content together. This makes it easier for your server to deliver it to site visitors.
Use WordPress plugins like Fast Velocity Minify, Autoptimize, or Minify HTML to get started. Better yet, when you’re deciding which caching solution to use, make sure it helps with minification too.
5. Eliminate 404 Errors
There’s nothing more annoying than trying to find a certain webpage and encountering a 404 error.
And, while you may have a creative 404 page (because sometimes things do break), it’s best to avoid having to present these kinds of pages to your site visitors at all.
The problem with 404 errors is twofold (and not entirely related to site speed):
Poor User Experience: We already mentioned how annoying it is to land on an error page. You can bet your site visitors will be equally annoyed with you if they come across one on your site. This can lead to a higher bounce rate and make it hard to grow your following or customer base.
Negatively Affects SEO: Another reason you want to avoid 404 errors is that they can negatively impact your site’s SEO. As a result, you’ll experience lower search rankings, less traffic, and a decrease in conversions or sales.
There are some really easy ways to identify and fix broken links on your website:
Google Analytics: Make sure you have Google Analytics set up on your website, a dedicated 404 page, and Google Analytics running on that 404 page. You can follow this guide by Google.
Xenu: Find broken links on images, frames, plugins, backgrounds, maps, stylesheets, and more by downloading this free to use broken link checker.
Broken Link Checker: Monitor your site for broken links, receive notifications, and fix them all from your WordPress dashboard with this free WordPress plugin.
It’s nearly impossible for you to tell when a 404 error is popping up on your website, unless someone tells you about it.
Take a proactive approach, optimize your website for seamless performance, and make your site visitors happy by not having broken links on your website.
Website Optimization Tips: Final Thoughts
Optimizing your website for speed and performance is not always easy to do. It also takes a lot of continual work to make sure it’s running as fast as possible and functioning right.
However, changing web hosts is not always the solution to slow page loading and poor site performance. In fact, if you implement the above-mentioned tips, you may find your site is like brand new again.
Now, we’re not saying you should never upgrade your hosting plan, or make the switch to a different hosting provider as your site scales and outgrows the plan you’re on now.
But what we are saying is that you may be able to save some of that hard earned cash, at least for the time being, by trying some of these simple website optimization tips first.