4 Simple Ways to Speed Up Your Website
To be frank, a slow site sends the message that the company or person running it either doesn’t care about the visitor or is too incompetent to help them out. Either way, if you don’t have adequate speed, you’re only shooting yourself in the foot.
Luckily, page speed isn’t incredibly complicated. Ultimately, your goal should be to decrease the quantity and size of the information requests sent to the server. It’s all about efficiency. Read on to see what you can do.
1. Reduce Image Size
Instead of having to load a 3000 pixel image, it’s far faster to ask the server for 300 pixels. This basic fact illustrates why smaller images can be a boon to your site’s speed. When the page code sends the server a request for a huge image file, your visitors get stuck with huge wait times.
A simple image editing program like Microsoft Paint, Adobe Photoshop, or GIMP will allow you to resize images. Always aim to make them smaller – they only need to be as large as they will appear on the page. There is no need to upload a large image and expect the page’s code do the resizing for you – that just slows things down.
2. Implement Caching
Caching is a term that refers to storing some information in a user’s web browser. That way, the user doesn’t have to download said information over and over again. Background images and design code can easily be cached, producing a better experience for the end user.
Content management systems often have plugins that will do the caching for you. W3 Total Cache and WP SuperCache are both plugins that work with WordPress.
For those who are coding their own websites, it’s not too hard to fiddle with the code and implement caching. In a great post, Kalid Azad explains the how-to of programming caching into your site, and even delves into the specifics of how caching works.
3. Don’t Overdo Plugins or Code
You always need to be on the lookout for cluttered code – it’s a mistake to use too many lines of code or too many plugins. If your site can do what it needs to do without that cool-looking plugin or interesting bit of code, then stick to what you have.
This can be especially pertinent for those using WordPress. Because the platform offers an abundance of absolutely awesome plugins, it can be tempting to incorporate dozens and dozens into your site. Of course, that’s a bad idea – remember that a cool site loaded with esoteric features doesn’t matter a whit if nobody will bother sticking around long enough for it to load.
4. Minify Your Code
For programmers hoping to avoid bloated code, there are great tools available online to help you minify your code. Will Peavy’s Minifier works primarily with HTML and XHTML.
If you approach site speed through the mindset of lowering server load and bandwidth requirements, you’ll be able to hone in on the right fixes for your specific situation – and at the end of the day, you’ll have a faster site to show for it. To see how much of an effect your changes are having, check out Google PageSpeed Insights.
What works for you? What other site speed tips have you discovered while working on your own website? Let us know in the comments below!
Image credit: Nature’s Crusaders