Website speed impacts SEO and your online customer experience. If your website is too slow, customers might bounce waiting for it to load. With just a one-second delay, customer satisfaction decreases by 15 percent. And more than 3 out of 4 customers consider shopping somewhere else with just that one-second delay.
So just how fast is your website? You can assess it for free using Google Page Speed Insights. This handy tool will grade your website using color coding of green, yellow or red. Even if your desktop results show green, you might need to make improvements to your mobile website. Mobile is crucial to online success, so be sure to evaluate both desktop and mobile results.
If your results are not great, we have website speed optimization tips to help you improve.
1. Evaluate Your Website Host
Your hosting provider could be the reason that your website is slow. The location of your hosting provider’s servers could impact speed. For example, if your data has to travel thousands of miles to reach the end-user, it will take longer to load than if the data only needs to travel a few miles.
Depending on your hosting plan, you might also consider alternate hosting arrangements. Shared hosting plans are the least expensive options on the market. However, if another company on the same server as yours has a traffic surge, that could impact your website’s performance as the server is tasked with focusing on that surge.
A virtual private server plan (VPS) can provide you the bandwidth and storage space you need without the added cost of having to pay for your own server. With VPS, you get a specific segment of a server set aside just for you and your company’s needs.
2. Evaluate a Content Delivery Network
Storing all your files and data in one place and expecting it to load quickly isn’t ideal. Instead, storing different files on various servers can help speed up load times so that one server isn’t tasked with having to do all the work all at once. A content delivery network (CDN) stores your content in multiple locations. Then when a customer comes to your website, the CDN selects the nearest server to present the content.
3. Compress Your Images
Images certainly play an important role in making your website inviting for visitors. You don’t want to eliminate images and graphics that help draw in your customers. Compress your images before placing them on your site to reduce their size. An easy way to do this is to use the “save for web” option within an image editor.
4. Avoid Redirects
Sometimes creating a redirect on your website is necessary to keep it up and running like normal. However, it’s better to avoid a redirect because it will slow down website load speeds for that page. Only use a redirect when you absolutely must.
5. Enable Website Caching
Caching helps to speed up your website’s delivery. Allow your content management system to cache the most recent version of your website. Go into your website settings to extend the caching timeframe. Websites that rarely change find great benefit from this setting.
6. Prioritize Mobile
We discussed this earlier in the article, but you must prioritize your mobile load speeds. Google focuses heavily on mobile site speeds when determining rankings. While you want your website to look great on all devices, think mobile-first to see the best results.
7. Use Fewer Fonts
Many companies don’t think about the fact that fonts need to be downloaded as part of the website loading process as well. Simplify the loading process by using as few font families as possible. This will maximize your page load speed. When choosing your fonts, focus on those that are optimized for modern browsers and browser versions.
8. Remove Slow Plugins
Some plugins take up tons of space on your website and present large challenges for optimizing load speeds. Only use plugins that load quickly. For those that are slowing down your website, consider alternatives, even if you have to pay for the plugin or the service that accompanies the plugin. It will be worth it to improve traffic to your site and increase your customer satisfaction.
9. Avoid Cheap or Free WordPress Templates
Instead, have a developer create a custom template for your website that’s optimized based on today’s site speed standards.
10. Hire a Website Designer and Developer
When your website loads slowly, it’s challenging to know where to start with optimizing it. It’s best to call in the experts who can evaluate your website fully and make recommendations for the best next steps. And in the process, you might consider a redesign to modernize your website and improve its interactive features.
New Light Digital is a digital marketing agency providing website services. Schedule a free consultation for more information about how we can help you take your website to the next level.