The speed of your website makes the first impression of your business. A slow website is frustrating for your audience and kills conversions. Site speed and customer experience go hand in hand.
It doesn’t matter if you are creating a personal website or an eCommerce store, site speed plays a vital role. A delay in page load time by one second results in 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7% loss in conversions.
In fact, more than 80% of consumers are less likely to return to a site with poor performance.
Therefore, here are the top six actionable ways that have a significant impact on improving the speed of your website and offer an exceptional customer experience.
1- Use Fast and Reliable Hosting Service
Your hosting platform influences your site performance. Therefore, move your website to a better host. Godaddy offers a decent uptime of 99.94% and a page load time of 531 ms.
There are four types of hosting:
- Shared Hosting: A single server hosts multiple sites.
- VPS Hosting: A virtual private server hosts many sites, but each site has a dedicated RAM and CPU to its account.
- Dedicated Server Hosting: One site is hosted on a single server.
- Cloud Hosting: Sites are hosted on a network of virtual and physical servers.
Look out for the below requirements when researching hosting platform:
- Memory or bandwidth limits for scaling during promotions
- Projected traffic and peak user load to avoid crashes from a spike in visitors.
- The sizes of your site and budget.
2- Use a Content Delivery Network
CDN is a network of servers, also known as POPs, that is used to host and distribute a load of delivering content through the server closest to your user’s location. It makes users have faster and easy access to your site.
For example, when users visit your site from Australia, they are downloading your files from the server that is closest to them.
Using a CDN reduces the number of requests to the server of origin by delivering content on multiple servers.
Also, high-density PoPs enable websites to serve more from cache, static, and event-driven content. It improves your cache hit ratio, leading to better user experiences.
Here, using a VPN is also helpful to ensure privacy and security on the internet.
There are two types of CDN:
- Traditional Pull CDN: It caches a copy of all your content, but a request from the user is still made directly to your hosting provider. Examples of traditional CDNs are KeyCDN and CDN77.
- Reverse Proxy CDN: it intercepts all the requests and acts as an intermediary server between users and your host. Examples of reverse proxy CDNs are Cloudflare and Sucuri.
Here are the steps to follow to implement a CDN:
- Choose a CDN and register your site.
- Create your CDN URL.
- Point your assets to the CDN.
Core Web Vitals is a part of the latest Google algorithm update called the Page Experience. Sites that do not offer a good page experience will be impacted negatively in the organic search results after June 2021.
To make things easier, you can use the Finteza Lighthouse report which analyzes different metrics such as speed index, first contentful paint, first meaningful paint, first CPU idle, time to interactive and estimated input latency to identify the exact elements that are causing your site to slow down.
The tool also offers suggestions to fix all the underlying issues to improve the performance of your site for a better customer experience.
4- Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Most users may never return if they face bad mobile experiences. The number one issue that mobile users complain about is slow pages. 85% of mobile users expect pages to load at least as fast as they load on their PC. In fact, 65% of users say a poor mobile experience negatively impacts their opinion of the business.
Here are the ways to optimize your website for mobile:
- Minimize redirects: Redirects are instructions that automatically take users from one page to another location. It creates a slower page load, especially on mobile devices, as mobile users often depend on less reliable networks. You can deploy Patrick Sexton’s redirect mapper tool to check the number of redirects on your site.
- Measure round-trip times: RTT is the amount of time taken to transmit a request for data from a desktop or mobile device to a target destination. Each RTT adds time to your total mobile load time. By removing excessive weights and repeated time-consuming RTT, you can reduce the quantity of RTT.
- Load above-the-fold content: Code your web pages so that your server sends first the data necessary to display above-the-fold content.
5- Compress and Optimize Image Size
Images account for 50% to 75% of your web pages’ total weight. Adding images helps boost engagement. But large images take up a lot of your page load time.
Therefore, you must also optimize your images to increase the speed and performance of your site.
Here the best ways to do that:
- Reduce the size of PNG and JPEG images. You can use TinyJPG or TinyPNG tools.
- Reduce the number of images used overall as each image on a page creates a new HTTP request.
- Check for empty image sources—<img src = ‘ ’>—in your code.
- Avoid adding an image larger than 1MB.
6- Leverage Caching
Caching allows the server to store the elements on the page to your disk or RAM, depending on the configuration. It duplicates the same content when a user visits the site again without sending another HTTP request to the server.
Thus, your web pages load much faster, directly from cache.
Here are the types of caching you can use:
- Object caching: It helps store queries to the database in the local memory of the server.
- Edge caching: It helps save files on a server closer to the end-user.
In WordPress, you can use plugins, such as W3 Total Cache, WP Fastest Cache, or WP Super Cache, to enable caching.
If you are using a static website, then you can set up browser caching inside your .htaccess file.
A fast load time of a site is an important component of user experience. It is one of the components of Google’s ranking algorithm.
Thus, to improve page speed, check common issues that cause pages to load slowly, such as large images too large or using too many plugins. Test your current website speed and prioritize the areas that need the most attention.