How fast your web pages load will affect your return on investment. This is more so when considering the fact that if it takes longer for a page to load up, most visitors will click away. This increases the bounce rate and subsequently affects your sales/conversion. All in all, there are a couple of things that can be done to increase the load speed of your web pages.
Studies have shown that websites that take more than 10 seconds to load up experience the highest bounce rates. If you are suffering from this problem, this post is for you. It discusses the crucial points you need to consider in web development to help you increase the speed at which your website loads.
Optimize the images
One of the key reasons why most websites take long to load up is because they use images that are too big. Using huge images and then scaling them down with CSS does not mean the actual size of the image will be reduced. The Internet browser will still load the full image before it is scaled down; visually.
If you need to display an image of 50 by 50 pixels, it makes no sense to upload an image of 1000 by 1000 pixels then scaling it down to 50 by 50 pixels using CSS. Instead of doing this, edit the image to 50 by 50 then upload it.
It is also possible to optimize the images using compression tools. There are several tools that can reduce the size of your image dramatically without affecting the quality. You can reduce the image size by 25% to 80%.
Use clean code
Your code will also have a part to play in the load speed of your website. Referencing back to the previous point, if you are using CSS to scale and shape images, this will give the Internet browser more work because it will have to keep referencing to the server to know how to display the image accurately. The more lines of code you have, the more time it will take to load your page. Therefore, your goal should always be using clean code.
Go through your code and make sure there are no errors. You should also make sure that your code only includes the relevant lines only. Too much clutter will bloat your website. If you are new to coding, it is better to work with an SEO agency than gamble with your company’s website.
Reduce the number of plugins
Another very important thing you need to do is limit the number of plugins you install on your website. Needless to say, plugins rely on lines of code to run. The more plugins you have the more lines of code you will have. This means a website with numerous plugins will take longer to load up than that with fewer plugins. It is also important that you make sure that you remove the old or unused plugins from your CMS.
When loading a page, content is downloaded into the computer of a visitor. The same content will be downloaded the next time they are loading your page. This means time has to be spent waiting for the content to be downloaded. You can reduce the wait time by enabling browser caching.
Browser caching allows you to store some of your website’s data on the computer of your visitor. This means they will not have to wait a long time for the same data to be downloaded. Make the relevant server-side cache settings to set up caching.
Enabling compression will significantly increase the load speed of your website. This is because it dramatically reduces the size of your pages. Compression has been found to knock off about 50 to 70% off from your CSS and HTML files. This is data your visitors won’t have to wait for it to download.
Again, you have to enable compression in the server settings. Implementing this solution will depend on the web server you are using and the available settings.
Minify your web code
Removing the HTML comments, whitespaces, CDATA sections and empty elements will help boost the load speed of your website. This is because doing this decreases the size of your web page and reduces network latency. There are several tools you can use only to minify your code.
Remove bad links
Broken links will bloat your website. They lead to 404/410 errors which all lead to wasteful requests. Go through all your links and make sure you fix the broken URLs. Again, there are numerous tools you can use to check for broken links.
As Internet users demand richer online experiences, the size of pages will continue to grow. It is, however, your duty as a webmaster to find better ways of speeding up the load speed. The aforementioned tips will get you started.