8 Pro Tips for Speeding Up Your Website
57% of visitors are going to abandon your website if it takes 3 or more seconds to load. How long does it take to load yours?
Website speed is not about patience or impatience. As opposed, today it is a norm rather than just another capricious requirement of spoiled Internet users. Amongst worldwide websites there’s lots of competition to beat and if your website speed is less than average – your visitors are not going to wait.
Facts and Stats
After detailed studies have been carried out, specialists found out that 47% of people expect each website to load in under two seconds and 1 second delay may result in a great loss of 7% in conversions. To give you a better sense – if your e-commerce site is making $100.000 per day, a 1 second page delay could cost you $2.5 million in lost sales per year. Huge, huh?
So in general, a perfect website loading speed is considered to be less than 1 second. If it’s between 1 and 3 seconds – congrats, you are above average! 3-7 seconds are average, however, as discussed earlier, it abandons almost half of your visitors. Finally, if it’s 7 or above – work it out, you are losing a great amont of potential profit .
Not sure what’s your website loading speed at all? Check it on Pingdom and if it’s far than perfect – keep reading, we’ll help you out to release the maximum speed of your website.
Even though each hosting provider delivers a freshly pre-configured and optimized server – be picky on that. Usually, pre-installed software or modules may not be necessary to you at all or you may want to go an extra mile and perform optimization based on your personal demand.
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#1 Implement Browser Caching
Add Expires headers to your site if you didn’t yet. Expires headers will tell the browser whether specific resource on your website needs to be requested from the source or can be brought from browser’s cache itself. All you need to do, is to set expires headers for the resources on your site (e.g. jpeg images). In general, the next time visitors come to your website it will load faster because the browser will have those resources on its cache already.
In order to learn how to add Expires headers on your website, visit GTmetrix website.
#2 Use GZIP Compression
GZIP compression is a great tool in order to reduce file sizes by up to 70%. How great is that? After enabling GZIP compression, the size of your files that are sent from your server will be reduced significantly, thus will increase the speed to which they are transferred to the browser.
To enable GZIP compression, use the following PHP code at the very bottom of you HTML or PHP file:
#3 Set up CDN
Content delivery network (CDN) is a globally distributed network that contains of web servers from across multiple locations worldwide and enables much more efficient content delivery to the website users. Wide server colocation allows to direct content requests to nodes that are the most optimal for delivery – e.g. nearby the requester.
#4 Minify Resource Usage
To minify resource usage check your server preloaded software and modules. Disable the ones you don’t actually need. Also, you may free up RAM resources by configuring MySQL. Try to decrease MySQL cache size if you feel that your website does need as much cache is it uses now. Finally, configure Apache – disable unnecessary modules as they tend to use RAM as well.
#5 Minimize Redirects
In some cases (e.g. track clicks, connect different website parts, etc.) you may be redirecting the browser from one URL to another. However, this causes extra HTTP requests, thus increases latency and slows down your website. For example, SEOmoz has calculated that 20 redirect chains had slow down their load time by 3000 milliseconds.
Want to minimize your website redirects? Check this great source by Google on how to achieve that.
#6 Optimize Images
When optimizing images on your site, there are three things worth concentrating on – size, format and src attribute. Before uploading images, crop them to the smallest size and lowest color depth acceptable to you. When the file is ready, go for JPEG or PNG format as it have less weight than other image formats. Finally, make sure the code is right as well – image src codes should never be empty. If it is, make sure you include this line in HTML within the code of your image:
#7 Query Strings and Character Sets
If you are using “?” within a link in its URL – you will not be able to cache it. Some may be impossible to avoid, but the best is to leave question marks only for dynamic sources of your site.
Furthermore, if you are willing to speed up the browser rendering, you may also specify character set in your HTTP headers. Simply add this line into the header:
#8 Diminish Your Code
Whitespaces, empty elements or HTML comments are also affecting your website load time, network latency and page size. The best you can do is simple – remove all of them and enjoy increased speed and lowered latency instantly.
The Bottom Line
While some of these optimization tips are pretty easy to implement, you may find few of them intimidating as well. Before you start optimizing your website –create a backup first. Just in case you get something wrong.
Seems too much for now? Check your site on YSlow tool and get suggestions on the weakest points of your website and where to improve first. Step by step and you’ll get back those conversions spinning – that’s a fact.
All done? Now go back to the Pingdom tool and check your website speed again. What’s the difference between the primary and end results? Share it in the comments below!
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