Why stay at the tail end if you can be at the forefront? The Need for Speed, indeed. According to Kissmetrics, a page that takes 5 secs to load is tantamount to more than 25% abandonment. The website’s speed is an important metric in the Search Engine Ranking. This prompted Google to develop Page Speed Test to improve the user’s experience. A huge file size requires huge resources from the server, which may take a high cost and a longer time to load.
Here are the ABCs on how to speed up your website:
A. Optimize your Images
Images must be compressed since they largely contribute to the page size. Use JPEG for images and PNG for Favicon to maximize compression.
Photos’ size should be a perfect fit to the website layout. If Photoshop is available, use Save for Web and settings Progressive, Bicubic Sharper and High Setting for optimum compression. Otherwise, you may use an online tool like TinyJPG. Better to optimize the images first before uploading them to the website. WordPress Plugin like Smush Image Compression and Optimus can also be useful since they automatically compress the images while being uploaded.
B. Use a Cache Plugin
Web caching plays a vital role in website’s loading speed, CPU usage and server cost. Use W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache plugin. With the use of cache, the first visitor will save a copy to the server. When another visitor comes and requests for the same page, the cached HTML page will be served so long as the page was not updated by the administrator or a user comment. This greatly reduces the CPU usage and page loading time.
C. Use a lightweight theme and minimize plugins
There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes. A theme with a minimal file size, good review rating and support is recommended. Plugins may slow your site down. Choose only the absolutely necessary. There’s no need to use a plugin for Google Analytics, Social Media, Chat and Sharing. Instead, you may copy the codes and put them at the Footer for faster page load time.
D. Choose a Reliable and Fast Web Host
No matter how much time you spend tweaking your settings and implementing suggested techniques, there’s only so much you can do on the website part.
Selecting a web hosting company should not be taken lightly. The web host fuels the site. Choosing a great hosting provider like Creative Web can significantly affect the website’s speed.
E. Use Gzip compression
Gzip compresses the files before they are sent to the browser. Smaller file size leads to faster network transfer. Compression is an effective way to save bandwidth and speed up the site. W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache plugins have Gzip compression option.
F. Minimize use of external Scripts and Fonts
Limit the Scripts and Fonts to be used. External Apps like Social Media plugins and Google Analytics need to connect to an external server, making it uncompressed thus slowing down the site. We recommend using Web Safe fonts that are hosted by your own website rather than using Google Fonts that are hosted in their CDN. This is faster and compatible with numerous browsers.
H. Use a Content Delivery Network
I. Clean up Your Database
Content Management System like WordPress is dependent on databases to store data. The database can readily be cluttered with plugins, logs, statistics, user data, post and page revisions, pingbacks and trackbacks.
You can optimize it manually by using phpMyAdmin in Cpanel. Access your database, click Check all, then choose Repair and Optimize table. You can also use a plugin like WP-Optimize to automatically optimize your database periodically.
J. Use latest theme, plugins, CMS and applications
Regularly update your theme, plugins and applications like PHP for faster and safer website. Updates may improve functionality, performance and security issues. It also fixes bugs. Based from study, an update from PHP 5 to 7 can speed up the website by 30%. Sucuri tells us that outdated sites are at high risk in security.
K. Don’t upload videos directly to your website
Every second counts. If there is a need to upload a video, better upload it to YouTube or other social media sites. Videos have a big file size that can slow down your website if there are many visitors. To avoid such trouble, use the embed feature of WordPress for faster page load since the video playback will not use your server resources.
Improving the website’s speed seem to be a daunting task. Worry no more. The aforementioned tips will significantly help you attain at least a GT Metrix of A96. If you want a faster and user-friendly website, we at Creative Web can deliver the goods. We develop the Fastest, most Secure, Responsive and Search Friendly websites.