I’m sure you’ve seen the studies that read “X percent of people will leave a website that takes longer than three seconds to load”. It’s pretty sobering to think that your website might be losing you sales and new business just because it’s slow.
Photo by lalo Hernandez on Unsplash
But having a fast website is vital. Not only does it give people a positive impression of your business and your brand but it can also help to improve your website’s search ranking.
Your web designer will be largely responsible for how fast your website actually is but there are certain things you can do to make improvements to your site. With that in mind I’ve compiled some hints and tips that might help.
Check how fast your current website is
There are a number of tools available to check how fast your current website is. Google has an online tool called PageSpeed Insights which is aimed at Web Developers. As a website owner you’ll be able to get some useful information from it which you can use yourself or pass on to your web designer.
Get the right hosting
Make sure you purchase the best hosting you can possibly afford. A lot of cheap shared hosting can be really quite slow so it’s always worth doing your research to see exactly what you’re getting for your money. It’s important to view hosting as an investment rather than an expense. Combine good hosting with great customer support and it’ll make a massive difference to your online success.
A lot of speed issues on websites are caused by massive images that haven’t been scaled to the right size or optimised properly. There are lots of optimisation tools available that can reduce the file size of images and it’s always worth running any images you plan to upload through these tools before you put them online. Personally, I use an app called ImageOptim but there are also some really good online services such as tinypng.
Keep a close eye on themes and frameworks
If your website is created using a ready made theme or a framework it’s worth having a look under the hood to see how efficient it is. Themes often come bundled with functionality like image sliders and lightboxes and these plug-ins tend to use a lot of different files which your website has to load in. Your web designer should be able to offer some advice on how to reduce the number of resources your website uses. Sometimes just consolidating scripts or stylesheets into one file and minifying the code in them can really help to speed things up.
Consider what your website actually needs
Sometimes it’s worth stepping back from your website and looking at it critically. Do you really need so many full width images? Do you need to display three different typefaces on it? Is that image slider actually providing your visitors with a useful experience? If elements on your website aren’t useful and they’re slowing it down it might be worth looking at a few simple tweaks or maybe a complete redesign?
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