We seem to have grown into a world where we want everything right now. Today is a world full of instants. We want everything at our fingertips in the click of a button. No one wants to wait anymore because time is money.
Just when you thought you had every ingredient in your website to achieve success, the visitor ends up staring at a black or white screen for couple of seconds instead of seeing your masterpiece.
When we visit websites online, we want them to load ASAP! Understand that we are the only generation that knows the meaning of ‘page load speed’ and it is only going to get worse.
We search for websites that are informative and fast. If you own a great website but it loads like a guy running on the moon, you must realize you are going to lose a lot of traffic and possible income.
Studies show that web visitors expect your website to load in under 2 seconds. If it takes more than that, they will click the almighty ‘X’ and leave your page. Even in my own experience, a page that takes more than 4 seconds to load will surely be replaced by the next one in the search results.
Akamai’s case study in 2006 (almost 10 years ago already) revealed that a large percentage of online shoppers and consumers say that page load time greatly affected their loyalty and rebuying of products to certain websites.
Your website needs to be as fast as the sportscar you’ve always wanted. We are living in a world that’s on a first come first serve basis, so we need to start our engines and look at some tips that can help us increase our page load speed.
Lessen your HTTP requests
HTTP requests are responsible for summoning the web download of all your page components. (images, scripts etc.) If your page contains a ton of elements, you will be sending lots of requests and that will obviously take more time.
Think about it like being in a restaurant. Your appetizer is going to come to you a lot quicker than a five course meal. Why? Well…It’s just easier prepare and send out to the customer.
To shorten these requests, you need to shrink the page components, or compress it in some way. I don’y have a preffered method to do this but Google will show you many!
Choose a fast web server
A web server stores, processes and delivers your web pages or posts to your visitors and readers. A server acts as your ‘house’ for your website while your domain name acts as your address.
If someone wants to come into your house the request must first be processed. If this happens too slow your requests get delayed and the page they are trying to access is delivered to them at a much slower rate.
Back to the restaurant. (I must be hungry!) You give your order to the waiter and he gives it to the chef. Even though the chef received the order immediately he may be busy or even just slow, and that means your meal is going to take some time to get to you. Even in the real world, when this happens, people will definitely cancel their order and go somewhere they know they will receive better service.
A fast server is a must when hosting a website. Be sure to read the reviews and testimonials and find out if it works well with the web platform you have chosen. Remember hosting is cheap but you don’t always have to pick the cheapest route!
Use media sparingly
Pictures and videos use a lot space and are very relevant to how fast your website loads.
A website full of photos is always going to be slower than others. Especially if it they need to be in high definition (HD) and large file sizes.
Optimizing your photos is a must. Avoid using oversized photos. Use a format that suits only what you need. There are lots of possible formats (JPEG, GIF, PNG etc.). The most common and advisable format for photos are JPEG’s.
I have found the plugin WP Smush To be a great addition to any WordPress site. It automatically compresses any images you upload to your website thus increasing your speed.
Plug-ins are great but don‘t use too many
Some plug-ins can be very useful and helpful, but using too many will definitely slow you down because of the space that they occupy. There are also plug-ins out there that can trigger security issues that can cause other problems, so be selective and use only the ones you need.
Choose only plugins that you must have so your website functions properly. If I had a choice of a fast or nice looking website, I would choose fast everytime. Your site may look good but that won’t matter if nobody waits to see it!
I recommend using the plugin P3 Profiler. This plugin tests all of the plugins in your WordPress website and gives you a detailed report on which plugins are slowing down your computer the most. This means you can switch them out with plugins that are better suited and faster for your site.
If you have any questions or want to add any more tips on increasing your page load speed please don’t hesitate to use the comment box below!