Top tips to speed up your website

How fast a page loads is an important issue for people visiting your website. According to research conducted by the Hosting Tribunal, 39 per cent of users will leave a website if it takes too long to loadThis problem is most prevalent amongst smartphone users – and 74 per cent of those who see a website taking longer than five seconds to load will leave the site.

And of course, a fast loading speed is not only important for actual visitors, but it is also considered to be key ranking factor in Google algorithm. This means that if you have a long loading speed it can actually see you fall in the rankings to competitors with faster sites. You could be losing out on visitors and business simply due to the fact that your site takes a little longer to load than others in your marketplace. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when there are so many things that you can easily to do improve speed.

Clearly, then, this is something that your business needs to start taking seriously. With that in mind, we have created a list of top tips that you can use today to improve the loading speed on your website. Some of the ideas are large and long-term changes, while others are the sort of thing you can do with a spare hour. Both types are important for making an overall improvement in your site speed.

Change your theme

There are over 75 million websites that run on WordPress. If your business is one of them, then there may be very simple opportunity to improve your site speed. Of course, WordPress sites rely in the most part on pre-designed themes. It may well be the case that your current site runs on a theme that is visually attractive, but extremely slow loading.

It could be that something as simple as changing over to a different theme is enough to significantly increase your page loading speed. Often you will be able to find a theme that looks very similar to your current site, without the long loading time.

Compress your images

Having high quality photos and pictures on your website is important – strong visuals are key to engaging with visitors to your site. But the problem with large, beautiful images is that they are likely to have huge file sizes, which can make them extremely slow to load. And this will markedly slow down your pages overall.

Ideally, an image should be 100kb or lower. But even relatively small images that have not been optimised can have file sizes in excess of 500kb, and large banner images can be significantly larger. It is recommended, then, that you should use software to compress your images. Lowering the quality imperceivably can make a big difference to the file size.

Remove plugins and add-ons

How often do you download a plug-in for your site, try it out and find that it’s not really what you are looking for, and just leave it clogging up your site? For many webmasters this is a very common occurrence. Even those plug-ins that are used on the site may actual have relatively little use and could be removed without seeing any usability issues.

The fact is that plug-ins and other add-ons can slow down websites a lot, so you should only have them installed if you use them regularly and they are important to your site.

Work with a better web host

It may well just be the case that your web hosting is not as good as it could be. If you are doing everything right but still experiencing frustratingly slow load times, then it might be the right time to upgrade your hosting.

Optimise your database

You might find that your CMS database is completely clogged up with blog drafts, revised posts and images uploaded that are never used. This can have a knock-on effect for your website and cause slow page loading. It is worth taking the time to manage your database closely and delete all of the things that are no longer using.

In WordPress there are plugins such as WP Optimize that will do this job for you. In other CMSs, this can be a longer, manual process, but it will be definitely worth it.