Patience is a virtue, unless we’re talking about the internet. Visitors want websites that are quick and lose patience when a website responds slowly. Approximately 40% of users will actually leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Clearly speed matters. So how do you make sure your website is loading at faster than your competition? I’m glad you asked.
Compress your images
Website performance has become an essential part of the user-experience. With almost half of your visitors using a mobile device to view your site, it’s critical to deliver optimal image file formats and sizes. All those pretty stock images you love so much are massive files that could take several seconds to load on a screen. They need to be compressed and optimized because smaller files lead to faster page loads and an improved user experience.
Caching is the term for storing reusable responses or content in order to make subsequent requests faster. It takes time to send bundles of data around the internet so caching the information can have a huge impact on the visitor experience.
Geek-speak, am I right?
Let’s put that into plain English. Imagine your website as a bunch of files, stored in a complex filing system. Content for a webpage is stored in different drawers of the filing system. When you make a request to view a webpage, the server needs to figure out which drawers to access, retrieve the necessary information then send that content back to your browser. All of that needs to happen in milliseconds. Instead of frantically pulling open drawers, caching allows for the content to be pulled prior to your visit to the webpage.
Clean up the code
All websites use some form of code to manage the appearance and behaviour of the site . While most user-friendly platforms automatically adjust the code of your site to match your preferences, the code is always in the background doing the hard work. If the backend code used to create your site isn’t well-designed, it can really slow things down. Having optimized code will make sure your visitors’ browsers aren’t doing unnecessary work in order to load your website. As it turns out, your mother was right…cleaning up can be good for you.
Use a Content Delivery Network
Every time your website is entered in a browser, a request is sent from that computer to a server out there somewhere in the world. The farther away the server, the longer it takes for your website to load. When hiring a web host provider, look for one (*cough* Sites by Geeks *cough*) that uses a Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is a network of servers around the globe, optimized to use the server closest to the visitor. This ensures a speedy delivery because the files used to load the website are physically closer to the user who is visiting the site.
Hire a managed hosting company
In shared hosting environments, which is what is most commonly offered by hosting companies, your website will be hosted on the same computer as hundreds of other websites. This means that if any of those other sites experience higher than normal traffic or a malicious attack, it could have a negative effect on your site’s performance, consistency and uptime. With a hosting company like Sites by Geeks, sites are hosted in an isolated environment, not in bulk, so they don’t impact other sites.
Managed hosting companies will also do all of the other items in this list so you don’t have to worry about website speed. Let the experts take care of it.