Speed is the most critical factor for any modern website. If your pages are slow to load, visitors and customers will lose their faith in your content and stop coming back as often. This means less traffic and less business for you.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do on the backend of a website to tune performance and make your pages load quicker in a browser. Read on to discover these tips and how to implement them on a new or existing web project.
1. Optimize Your Hosting Architecture
In the age of cloud computing, it’s foolish to host your web server locally or to waste time managing your own data center. Large cloud providers offer dynamic platforms that scale up as your traffic increases. You should monitor key metrics like your memory allocation, CPU usage, and network bandwidth to understand where slowdowns are occurring and how to improve them.
Consider reviewing Vincent Lu’s web hosting speed tests before you choose a web host for your project. If your current hosting provider is delivering poor performance and load speeds, it’s not too late to switch hosts and avoid losing customers. Also don’t forget to invest in a robust monitoring solution, so you can track your website’s uptime performance and be alerted to any outages or issues. The only thing worse than a slow website is a broken one.
2. Add a CDN to Accelerate Traffic
Website speed is very often tied to geographical factors. For example, if your data is hosted in a data center on the east coast of the United States, then American and Canadian visitors will see faster page loads then international customers in Europe, Asia, Africa, or Australia.
A content delivery network (CDN) is the best way to improve your website’s performance internationally. Think of it as a dynamic highway that runs between your website’s data and your customers’ local networks. It manages to achieve great results by caching versions of your website in different global locations and optimizing network paths between them. So when someone living in Australia goes to load your homepage, that user’s traffic doesn’t need to travel all the way across the Pacific Ocean. Instead, the request will be automatically routed to the nearest copy of your data, which can be accessed much quicker.
A CDN can be a large financial investment, but it’s worthwhile in the long run, especially if your website is tied to your company or small business.
Website code files, no matter what language they are written in, are typically quite small. But even though they may only take up a few megabytes on your web server, any waste of space can be detrimental to your site’s performance.
Shrinking code files is especially important for the most popular pages on your website. Your main URL, also known as the landing page (check our recent guide here), will typically receive the highest level of web traffic and needs to be optimized for speed.
4. Reduce Images and Resources
When a visitor navigates to your website, their browser sends a request to your web server based on the URL they have entered. The server is responsible for responding with a package of HyperText Markup Language (HTML) content.
HTML is purely text-based, but it can include references to images, audio files, and other multimedia resources. This type of content will help to make your website stand out, but it can also have the effect of slowing it down. Browsers are forced to load multimedia files individually and they are often the heaviest part of an HTML package.
A high-quality photograph is typically several megabytes in size, and if your web pages contain dozens of image files, the loading of those items will cause serious delays for end users. It’s best to reduce multimedia usage as much as possible and to always store those resources on your local environment rather than relying on external sources.
5. Offload HTTP Requests
Gone are the days of simple HTML pages with basic text, formatting, and images. To compete for visitors in the online world, your website needs to be dynamic, which means it has to allow for interaction by the user and to change on the fly.
6. Leverage a Website Builder
If you are new to web development or are uncomfortable with writing your own code, another option is using a website builder. Website builders typically offer an easy-to-use interface that let you design a web page’s layout with drag-and-drop tools.
For example, you’ll be able to add text boxes with different fonts and sizes right onto a blank canvas. Then you can import images and choose how they should be arranged on your site. Website builders offer a strict, limited set of features, and that’s quite beneficial when it comes to network performance.
Because these tools are designed with optimized coding practices, your finished product will automatically be as efficient as possible, and as a result, visitors will experience faster loading times.
Obviously, there’s much more to increasing your WordPress site speed, but you have to start somewhere. Just reading this blog post won’t increase your WordPress websites. You have to take action! The tips we listed here will certainly point you in the right direction, and hopefully get you to take action. Also, sometimes the situation is not that bad. Sometimes, just by acting on two or three of this tactics may resolve the issue, and put you in the top 20% of loading websites.
Site speed is a ranking factor, so it should be monitored all the time, and improved constantly. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, or as something, you do once and never again. The list we published here can help you in the following months so that if you are too busy now, check of a couple, and then come back in 6 months and check of a couple more. That way your websites will always improve, and site speed won’t give you a headache.