Thinking that website speed doesn’t matter? Think again! As you can lose up to 7% conversions just because of a 100-millisecond delay in website loading time.
Learning how to improve your website speed can be difficult and that’s why I am here with an in-depth guide on how you can speed up your website.
But why do you need to speed up your website? Because a fast loading speed can help you grow:
- Website traffic
- Reduce bounce rate
- Increase conversions
- Boost rankings
So, are you convinced and ready to speed up your ecommerce website? I am sure you are! So, let’s get started!
Here are eight marvellous ways to speed up your website:
1- Use A Good Hosting Provider
Choosing fast hosting plays a vital role in speeding up your website. But unfortunately, to save some bucks, many new beginners end up choosing a cheap hosting provider and as a result, they face slow website loading speed.
When choosing a hosting, typically you have 3 options that are shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting. Shared hosting is the cheapest hosting you can find. You have to share some resources like CPU, memory, and RAM with other websites hosted on the same server where VPS and dedicated hosting are for growing websites that already have lots of traffic.
There are several good hosting companies on the web that offer excellent hostings. So of are:
- A2 Hosting
2- Improve Page Speed
Improving your page speed has a high impact on speeding up your website and also there are many benefits of improving page speed such as traffic growth, reduced bounce rate, great user experience, and even good ranking on the search results.
The Finteza Lighthouse report offers different scores based on performance, accessibility, SEO, and best practices.
The report also provides suggestions to improve the performance of your site leading to excellent site speeds.
3- Use CDN
CDN refers to “Content Delivery Network” which is very useful when you are serving your content to a global audience as CDN decreases the load timing of your website for users. A CDN is a network of servers located in various locations around the world and basically contains a copy of your website.
So, whenever users visit your website from a location that is far away from your server then users will suffer a higher load time. And here CDN helps you, it sends the copy of your website from the server that is nearest to the user.
Let’s understand the working of CDN with a simple example. Suppose your server origin is New York and you are using a CDN. Now, if a user visits your website from Honk Kong then the browser could load the files of your website from the nearby server.
4- Enable Gzip Compression
Generally, it is a best practice to keep your page weight lighter or small and it is recommended to keep the page under 500KB. In other words, you can say that small files mean fast page loads.
Gzip is the standard and recommended method for compressing your website files. But first, you need to check if Gzip is available on your website or not, and to do this, you can use “Gzip Test”.
Simply put your website URL and hit the “check” button as shown in the image below.
As you can see that Gzip compression is available on our website.
To enable Gzip compression on your website you can use plugins like WP Rocket and Enable Gzip Compression.
But if you are not using WordPress, then you can use the below code in the .htaccess file.
mod_gzip_item_include file .(html? txticsslis1PhP1Pl)$
mod_gzip_item_include handler “cgi-script$
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gsip.*
5- Image Optimization
Are you using images on your website to improve user engagement? If you are using them then it’s a best practice but do you check image size before uploading them to your website? I am sure you don’t and here you are making a huge mistake.
Images play an important role in your website speed because generally, images are of very large size that takes too much time to load and slows your website. And if they are not optimized then these images can eat lots of MBs from your memory. But it’s also true that you can’t remove them as images are important for content.
So, here are several ways of optimizing images:
- Use next-gen formats: There are several image formats we all use like JPG, PNG, and GIF. From these, JPG is the most common format used by many as these are less in size. Here, we can use WebP image format which is 26% less in size as compared to other formats.
- Image compression: Similar to files, we can also compress our images. Smush, Compress JPG, TinyJPG/PNJ, and ImageOptim are the names of some image compressors that provide excellent compression without losing quality.
6- Host Videos Externally
Similar to images, videos are also a great way to make your content appealing and improve user’s interaction with your content. Also, it helps you reduce bounce rate as the user will stay on the website for a long time.
But what’s wrong here? Only one thing is hosting videos on your own website space.
Because videos are very large in size, they take lots of megabytes in your server memory and reduce your website speed. That’s why it is a bad idea to host videos on your own server.
So, why can you do it instead? You can use any external video hosting platform and can embed the video on your website. This way you can free your server memory and speed up your website.
There are various video hosting platforms you can find on the web. Some of the best options are:
After successfully hosting your video, just get an embed code from the video hosting platform and paste that code on your website.
7- Enable Browser Caching
Browser caching means storing small parts of your website in the browser in such a way that next time when you open the same website, it will load fast as compared to the first time.
For example, if a user requested to see any website then the browser requests the server to load the HTML and PHP files from the database and you can assume how much time it could take to fully load the website. But on the other hand, if the website is using caching then the same user can see the website much faster.
Not only browser caching but we can also enable object caching and page caching for better enhancement.
WordPress users can simply install a plugin called W3 Total Cache to enable caching.
For a custom coded website, it can be achieved by adding the below code in .htaccess file:
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
<IfModule mod_expires.c> ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf .access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/x-j avascript “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
Expiresnefault “access 1 month”
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
8- Use Lazy Loading
Lazy loading is also known as above-the-fold content and is another way of optimizing your images to speed up your website. In the lazy loading technique, the images are not meant to load until they are visible to the screen.
For example, if your blog post has 30 images then the first browser would download the images then display them with other content but on the other hand, if you use lazy loading then the browser would only need to download the images when the user scrolls through them. That’s how you speed up your website with ease.
For WordPress users, several lazy loading plugins are available such as Lazy Load and a3 Lazy Load. But luckily, WordPress version 5.5 comes with a lazy-loading feature by default in which all the images will lazy load automatically.
Website speed is seriously a major point to consider when it comes to website performance and growth because a slow website can make you lose tons of conversions and sales. Now, when you have successfully educated yourself on speeding up your website, now it’s time to implement all the above ways in order to achieve good speed. Slowly start with one practice and gradually jump to the other and over time, you will definitely see good results.
Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing expert and the author of the SEO Sandwitch Blog. He has over 9 years of experience in online marketing and has helped numerous brands improve their revenue online.