Do you remember the last time you waited 2 minutes for a website to load? Nobody has that kind of time. Statistically, 40% of visitors will leave a website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds; this will lead them right to your competitors.
Outside of the user experience, website load time will also have a major effect on search engine rankings, traffic, and ultimately the success of your business online.
The good news is that you can start optimizing your website using these simple, yet perfect website optimization techniques and get your online business back on track.
Optimize Website Images
It’s tempting to place a lot of images on your website. This is especially true if you have an e-commerce website where visitors expect pictures of your products. Unfortunately, this creates a problem for website speed if those images are not optimized for web.
Thankfully, this is one of the easiest issues to fix. There are many tools to achieve image compression; we found that ImageOptim (Mac OS) or FileOptimizer (Windows) do a very good job at this.
Minify? What are you talking about?
This process means removing unnecessary characters in your code that are not required. Simply put, this means removing the following from your code:
- White space characters
- New line characters
- Block delimiters
Even though this may not be visible to your visitors, minifying your code is especially useful because it reduces the amount of code that has to be transferred back and forth over the internet.
Leverage Browser Caching
Browser caching is a process where the internet browser (i.e. Chrome, Safari, IE) is instructed to remember certain element of your website. Simply put, if your website instructs the browser to “cache” elements upon the first time it loads, this means that when a visitor goes to another page on your website it doesn’t have to load all the elements again.
You can enter the code below at the top of your .htaccess file on your server:
The code above basically explains the web browser to “cache” various elements for a period of time, in our case 1 year for images. The reason is that images should typically not change very often. If you have no idea where the .htaccess file is located, you can contact the person that created your business website and they will be able to change it in a matter of seconds.
Alternatively, if your website is built on WordPress, you’re in luck! There is a plethora of free caching plugin that you can implement, such as Cache Enabler, W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache. WP Rocket is also a solid addition, but it comes at a price.
As always, make sure you fully test your site after enabling any WordPress plugins and these may cause unexpected behaviors or conflict with your existing plugins.
Choosing the right hosting platform is a little more complicated than just going for the cheapest package available. As they say, you typically get what you pay for.
Depending on the hosting company, you’re usually given the option of three different packages:
- Shared hosting
- The cheapest option available and the typical choice for new website owners on a budget
- With this option, your website shares the servers with several other websites
- Dedicated server
- Usually the most expensive option, but the fastest in terms of performance
- You have the most control on all resources used by your website
- Virtual Private Server
- Think of this as a form of enhanced shared hosting where only some parts are dedicated for your website
- This option typically provides a good compromise between performance and price
If your website is getting very heavy traffic, your obvious choice is the dedicated server option as it takes at least the hosting out of the website speed equation. Although shared hosting may seem attractive to new website owners (i.e. initial low traffic), please also keep in mind that your website performance may be affected by other websites on your shared domain if they’re getting heavy traffic.
How does your site stack up to the competition? Try testing this yourself by entering your full website using Pingdom Testing Tool. This will generate a report that shows your site performance, including any issues that may be causing slowness.
In a world where visitors demand information at the speed of light, having a sluggish website will almost certainly drive your customers away.
Try these perfect website optimization techniques for yourself and let us know your feedback!
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