Eight Effective Ways to Speed Up Your Website
Did you know that, according to data-alliance.net, regular websites load over 200% faster than their mobile counterparts? This can be a huge problem in a world that is more mobile-oriented than ever before; about 60% of consumers expect a website page to load in under three seconds.
The problem has two main causes, according to the study: render-blocking resources and the loading of CSS files which aren't needed for content placed above the fold. Here's how you can fix these problems (and more) for your own site.
1. Choose a good hosting company. All the tips discussed in this article will be almost useless if you use a poor hosting account. If you run a business, you should treat your customers with the respect that they deserve, and one important way of doing this is by investing more money into a good hosting account.
Most shared hosting accounts have very poor server response times, and if the time to first byte exceeds 1-2 seconds, it will be impossible to create a website that loads in less than three seconds. Additionally, shared hosting accounts have many more performance-related issues, are prone to cyber attacks, etc.
Fortunately, most hosting providers support Gzip; however, if you prefer to host your site locally, a simple web search will reveal detailed Gzip installation instructions for any server. Here's how to set up caching and Gzip compression if you utilize the popular Apache Web Server, for example.
3. Minify the code. While Gzip will do a good job compressing the existing website code, you can also clean it up by removing the useless comments, space characters, line breaks, and so on. There are several libraries that can do that for you automatically, producing code that's less readable, but runs faster.
4. Minimize the number of redirects. Each redirect makes your visitors waste additional time, as they are waiting for a new HTTP header request/response exchange.
5. Use browser caching. Your visitors' browsers store the website data locally, so why not make use of that feature? This way, when the visitors return to your site, they will only need to load new files from the server; the ones that didn't change will be loaded from their local hard drives.
6. Use as few resources as possible on the home page. Yes, you may want to showcase a gallery with all your products, but don't put that on the main page; make it a resource that only loads when the visitor clicks a website button. If your page uses lots of images, it will take a lot of time to load, and people will leave, rather than stay.
7. Reduce the size of your images. This can be done by making use of graphics editors such as Adobe Photoshop, which includes a dedicated image optimization module and/or by reducing the size of the image in pixels. Don't use large images on your site; they won't look better on mobile screens, and they will require a lot of data to be transferred from the server to the visitors' browsers.