The speed of your website has huge influence on its search engine ranking. It also contributes a large chunk towards user experience of your visitors. So, it takes no rocket science to understand how important your website load time is to get and retain traffic on your site, or to continue your business online. Now, the speed of your website depends upon a lot of factors like your web server, type of OS, efficiency of coding, size of database, etc. All this stuff may sound confusing to new webmasters and bloggers with non-technical background. So, without delving too deep into technical details, we tell you 5 simple and most important factors that you should optimize in order to speed up your website load time.
1. Check your server speed
No matter how hard you bang your head, you can’t get your site to perform well unless and until you sort out your hosting issues. So, the very first thing you should do is speed check your server. You can do this by using an online tool to check the server response time. Note that this test is different from testing your webpage load time since it isolates and only checks the speed of your server. More details on how this tool works can be found here. Ideally, you should have a web host that can give you a server speed of 200 ms. On the Bitcatcha Server speed checker, the rating should be either A or B or at least C. If you are consistently getting a rating lower than this, you should consider switching your web hosting provider, or if you are on shared hosting, consider going for VPS or dedicated server hosting.
2. Deploy Content Delivery Network or CDN
Your web content is served to your visitors across the world from a single server. This increases data latency for visitors located geographically far off from the server. CDN or Content Delivery Network takes care of this issue by deploying data centers at several, distant geographic locations and interconnecting them. Thus, visitors at different locations are served content from different servers depending upon proximity, server load and other relevant factors. This reduces server response time and increases your website speed.
3. Optimize images and media files
Images and media consume more bandwidth compared to text based content. Hence more media your website uses, slower it gets in loading. So, the best way to go is to use minimal number of media files on your web pages, and whenever you need to, use small-size files. You can further optimize these files through smushing; it removes the additional information associated with the images – date, location, and other technical details. This makes the image files even more compact and lighter, thus reducing their delivery time from the server.
4. Compress the data
5. Make use of browser caching
Browser cache settings are usually user-defined by the end user of your website but you can override these settings to the extent applicable to your website through cache settings of your server. The server side browser caching can be used to tell the user’s browser how long to keep and serve the same web files before refreshing them. Since this prevents the browser from making new requests to the server each time the user revisits the website, the page load time improves substantially.
All the above mentioned tips are very simple and can be achieved with very little technical skills.