Your website speed has a greater impact on your business than you probably know. There are lots of benefits tied to a fast loading speed, both to the site visitors and the business. But, especially the business. Patience, especially on the internet is a rare virtue and rightfully so, no one wants to spend time on a lagging, slow website when there are thousands of other similar sites.
For a business to thrive online, it has to ensure that all the loose ends are tied and one that is often ignored is the website speed.
So, if you’re a business owner looking to increase your conversion rate, reduce your bounce rate, enhance user experience (UX), and also boost search engine ranking, reading this article to learn about optimizing your website is a step in the right direction.
What is website speed optimization?
Website speed optimization is the most effective method used to ensure that a website performs at the most advantageous speed. As mentioned earlier, website speed is a crucial factor for user experience, as well as search engine optimization (SEO). Slow-loading websites can negatively impact user engagement and retention, resulting in reduced traffic and conversions. Moreover, search engines like Google consider website speed as one of the ranking factors, meaning slow websites can also affect their search engine rankings.
Best practices for website speed optimization
There are several practices for website speed optimization, including:
1. Choosing a hosting provider with a fast server response time
Your hosting provider could be a source of the lag in your website. The location, physical infrastructure, and bandwidth of the provider should be thoroughly examined before subscribing to a hosting service. In addition to the provider itself, the type of hosting your website uses also plays a part. There are different types of hosting services, they are:
- Shared: this is the most cost-effective option, however, it could also lower your website performance. Just as the name implies, the hosting resources are being split among several websites and the traffic from these sites may affect your website speed.
- Virtual Private Server (VPS); this is a more logically segmented hosting alternative, however, your website could still experience some problems if the hosting resources are overwhelmed.
- Dedicated server: this is the most expensive choice of them all, however, it is the most preferred type. It’s guaranteed not to cause website lag regardless of the load.
2. Enabling compression
The more you can compress files without compromising on quality, the better your website’s overall performance. One of the most reliable frameworks for file compression is called Gzip. data suggests that 88% of websites compress their files and a chunk of that figure, about 60% use Gzip. if you’re not sure about the status of your website file compression, ask your web hosting service provider. Ask about the type of compression they use, if they don’t, you should probably move on from that provider or use this to enable Gzip compression.
3. Minimizing HTTP requests
HTTP requests increase the time it takes for your website to load. HTTP requests such as typescripts, images, fonts, etc grow as your website grows. You shouldn’t worry though as most of the optimization techniques listed here also help in minimizing HTTP requests.
4. Using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
As a result of centralized data storage, the loading time of most websites tends to suffer. However, with the introduction of CDNs, multiple servers are used to store data replicates in different locations. Therefore, the CDN chooses the server closest to your visitor to fetch data from. CDNs distribute website content across multiple servers, enabling faster load times for users across the world.
5. Server response time
Server response time is the time it takes for the webserver to respond to a request from the user’s browser. Slow server response time can result in a slow-loading website. To improve server response time, you should choose a hosting provider with a fast server response time, enable compression, minimize HTTP requests, and use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).
6. Image size and optimization
Images are essential on a webpage as they can illustrate, entertain, and inform. However, images are often the largest files on a web page, and large images can slow down a website’s load time. To optimize images you should compress them without sacrificing quality. The most common image formats are; .JPG, .PNG, .TIFF, however, there are several compression tools you can use before uploading to the web. Alternatively, you could save the image files in WebP format. This WebP format maintains a superior quality while compressing the image. It’s also reported that images in WebP format are 26% smaller than images in .PNG format.
7. Code structure and file size
8. Browser caching
9. Implementing lazy loading
Lazy loading allows a website to load only the visible part of a web page initially, subsequently loading other parts as the user scrolls down.
Auditing website speed
Testing and measuring website speed is crucial to ensure optimal website performance. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix can help test website speed and provide optimization suggestions. Interpreting test results is also essential to make informed decisions about website speed optimization.
Website speed optimization is essential for user experience and SEO. Factors like server response time, image size and optimization, code structure and file size, and browser caching can affect website speed. Best practices for website speed optimization include server-side optimizations, front-end optimizations, and miscellaneous optimizations. Testing and measuring website speed can help ensure optimal website performance. Implementing these best practices can improve website speed, user experience, and search engine rankings.