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If you have a website for personal or business purposes, you should be aware of “website loading speed” as it is one of the major factors for both SEO & audience engagements. It is so obvious, if your website takes longer than usual to load its content, then your audience will start to leave. This will significantly impact your overall business performance.
Just think this way, when you visit a website & it takes 5-10 sec to load or even more then certainly you will leave that website. On average a website should load within 3 sec & it is an optimal time. Anything above this number is considered a slow loading speed. Thus, you should target loading speed under 3 sec for optimal performance.
In this guide, I will walk you through 8 simple yet smart steps to make your website load faster than before. You may need some online tools to measure it, no worries, this guide will cover it all. So, let’s get started.
Definition: Page Speed
Before we start, let me educate you about the concept of “website loading speed”. First of all, there is a misconception. It is not a website/site loading speed rather “page speed”. When you visit a website a specific page started to load not the whole website. For example, when you visited this article, the website only loaded this page, not the entire site.
There are two important measurements, 1st full-page loading time & 2nd the time to the first byte. How long it takes to fully display a page including images & all other visible contents. And, how long it takes to receive the first byte of information from a web server.
Quick note: if you have heavy contents on your page i.e. high-resolution images over 5MB each, it will take a considerable amount of time to load those content thus full loading time will significantly increase. And, if your web server is not fast then it will take lots of time to receive the first byte of information.
There are many online speed checker tools available to test your website loading speed & how to fix different issues related to it. You should check the below sites.
If you want free resources then Google is always the best & authentic. However, you should look for other paid services as well for professional needs.
Step 1: Compressing Files
I recommended you to use Gzip for the file compressing task. It is free software. However, do not use it for image compression. They have a tutorial section, so you can learn by yourself how to do it.
Step 2: Compressing Images
After you have done files compressing, it is time to compress images. If you check your site loading speed using those above websites, you will surprisingly find out that most of your speed issues are related to “large images”. That is, you have uploaded large size images. Usually, we consider large images bigger than 500KB. You should target to reduce those sizes to under 100KB. It is easy & fast if you know how to do it exactly.
Here are some simple steps to compress a large image:
First, convert your image extension to JPEG format. In most cases, a high-quality image has a PNG format. However, the PNG format image is difficult to compress that’s why you need to convert it to JPEG. To do it, you can use Windows default software called “Paint”. Just right click on your image & click edit. Now, save this file in JPEG format to convert it.
After conversion, now you have to reduce the resolution of the image. To do it, click on the “resize” option. Depending on image size it is best to reduce the pixel under 1000. Remember, a large resolution is also difficult to compress.
So, you have done both, converted to JPEG & reduce the resolution size. Now, it is time to use compression software. You can use Optimizilla, it is free to use. Try to compress the image to under 100KB for best image optimization.
Step 3: Manually Delete Unnecessary Lines
For more resources, I recommend you to read Google documentation about minifying resources.
Step 4: Configure Redirects
Probably, you didn’t even know this issue existed. We all heard about redirects. What is this? Simple, whenever you visit a website but if that specific URL doesn’t exist it will automatically redirect you to their other similar page. For example, you enter this page URL but it no longer exists, thus my website will automatically redirect you to my blog page or home page depending on my settings.
Another example can be, from “cliobra.com > www.cliobra.com then m.cliobra.com > m.cliobra.com/home”. This is a lengthy process that will force your audience browser to wait for HTTP/HTTPS request 4 times over. Therefore, it will take 4 times longer loading times than usual to visit your home page for a mobile user.
To fix this issue, first, you should check your site then if there any redirecting issues then fix it as soon as possible. In most cases, when you check it through an online service they will guide you on how to fix your specific redirect issues.
Step 5: Cautious about Render Blocking Script
This is another cause of the slow loading speed of your site page. Whenever you visit a website your browser has to create a DOM tree to render the page content by analyzing the HTML markup. If there is any external script exists, the browser forced to load that extra resource which increases the page loading speed.
The simple solution is to remove those render-blocking scripts. Here is Google documentation about render-blocking scripts & how you can fix this issue.
Step 6: Catching Webpage
There are many plugins available based on your website platform. Just do a quick Google search for “cache plugin”.
Step 7: Server Response Time
Server response time is another major factor in site loading speed. However, it is something you cannot control from your end unless you decide to upgrade to a more advanced hosting plan. If you just started a new website, then choosing a shared hosting plan is right. However, as your website grows in traffic you should focus on upgrading it.
In most cases, cloud/dedicated hosting is the best solution for server response time.
Recommended Reading: Best Web Hosting Service for 2020 (Review)
Step 8: Leverage CDN
Content Distribution Network (CDN) is an advanced caching system that accelerates your site loading speed in many ways not just store its information in user local storage. Instead, it will copy your site and distribute it to all servers across the globe in their different geographical location.
Let me clear this for you, your site hosted on a New York city server. Every visitor, from the USA, will get access to your site easily as it is close to their location. However, what about overseas visitors from European counties or even from India, China, Malaysia. Isn’t it so obvious, that they will experience a slow loading speed when visiting your site as their location is far away from the server location?
To solve this problem, CDN networks copy your site & distribute it to all their servers in different countries. In that case, if your CDN provider has a server in India then the Indian, Chinese & Malaysian audience will get access to your site from the Indian server rather than the USA. And this is how CDN effectively increase a site loading speed.
I personally recommend you to use Cloudflare CDN as it has a completely free plan for you to test out their service. If you want, you can keep using it free forever. For a business website, choose their Pro ($20 per month) or Business ($200 per month) plan according to your needs.
Website loading speed is a crucial factor for your overall performance. No matter how engaging or quality content you have on your site, if it has a slow loading speed then all will fail. Your audience will start to leave & search engines like Google will abandon your site as well.
Try to analyze your site to identify the issues & then try to fix it. I have discussed 8 major steps to solve this loading speed issue. In most cases, this is enough to make your site faster than ever. Even after that, if this is not enough to solve your problem then don’t hesitate to ask me in the comment section. I will try my best to guide you.