As the owner of a website, you should not underestimate how crucial having a fast loading website actually is, with 47% of people expecting a website to load in under two seconds. Should a website not load quickly enough, 40% of people would abandon it.
A 2010 study conducted by a specialist called Gomez, found that out of 1500 people, increase in website loading time by two to 10 seconds increased the abandonment rates by 38%. This study also showed that 75% of website users would rather leave a slow loading website for a competitor’s site instead of waiting for it to load.
A separate study performed by Aberdeen Group found that just a one-second delay in website loading time cut conversions by 7%, decrease page views by 11% and resulted in a 16% drop in customer satisfaction.
The fact is that having a slow running website can have a huge impact on your business’s success, which is why it’s so important to take speeding up your site seriously. The question is, how can you go about doing so – what does it take to speed up a website? For everything that you need to know, read on.
1. Use a CDN
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to speed up a slow website is to invest in a CDN. A CDN or a ‘Content Delivery Network’ is a useful service that can host a website’s static files, delivering them to the user instead of your own web server having to do that.
By reducing the load on your server you can offer a faster speed website for your users. Using a CDN can have a huge impact on the speed at which your website runs at, making it a worthwhile investment.
At WOW TRK for our CDN we use KeyCDN. KeyCDN is a really simple to implement CDN but is also extremely fast and reliable, with competitive pricing. An alternative is CloudFlare which offers a free CDN plan.
2. Remove unnecessary plugins and add-ons
Problems with plugins tend to occur on WordPress, Joomla, and other similar sites. However, these issues can apply in various other circumstances as well, which is why regardless of your website type, it’s important to spend some time looking through your plugins and extensions to see what you actually have installed.
You might think that plugins and add-ons are necessary but ask yourself do you really need them? Because the truth is that if you overfill your website with add-ons and plugins that you don’t need, they will slow down your website and increase loading times.
Studies have shown that when necessary plugins and add-ons were removed from a website, that site tends to run up to three times faster than before. It’s also been shown that having too many plugins can contribute to a large percentage of a site’s loading time – around 80%.
When it comes to speeding up your website, it’s important to realise that it’s not just about the number of plugins that are being used, but also the quality of them. You see, a website with 60 quality plugins would load twice as fast as a website with 20 rubbish plugins. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid plugins that incorporate a large number of styles and scripts, in addition to plugins that deal with a large number of remote requests or add additional database concerns to each page of your website.
The less bad quality plugins and extensions you have, the faster your website should load. You can install a plugin called P3 Profiler if you are using WordPress (temporarily of course!) to see which plugins are causing your site to slow down.
3. Optimise your images
Unoptimised images can be quite ‘heavy’, and as a result of this, they can use up a large amount of unnecessary server resources, and thus take longer to load. The good news is that you can easily reduce your image sizes without impacting the quality of them using lossless compression.
You can also optimise your images by using a plugin like Optimus if using WordPress which is free, if you are not using WordPress there are free websites where you can upload your images online to optimise them it just means a little more manual work. Something you could also consider is lazy loading images, if you are using WordPress this is easy to implement however this can be fairly complex to implement server-side.
4. Limit Social Media Buttons
5. Optimise your database
This is advice that is regularly ignored by website owners, however, it is a highly effective way to speed up your website. This step can be especially effective for anyone who uses WordPress or any CMS that relies on database usage. You see, some CMS systems and the plugins that are used with them, rely on databases to save data. The problem is that this means more data that necessary is stored on your database, which makes your website slower.
The good news is that you can speed up your website by taking the time to regularly clean up your database, which can be made easier by using the WP-Optimise plugin for WordPress, but if you’re not on WordPress, Siteground have a really great detailed guide on how to do this in PHPMyAdmin here.
The fact is that if your website runs slowly, it will lose you precious page views, which is why it’s so important that you take the process of speeding up your website seriously. The tips and ideas above are a good start, but there are also plenty of other steps that you can take to increase your website’s loading speed further, it’s just a case of taking the time to research what they are and how they work.