How to Speed Up Your Website

How fast does your website load? Most likely it’s not loading as quickly as you would like it to. But the good news is that there are relatively easy ways for you speed up your website to give your visitors a much better experience. So today let’s take a look at some of the things…

Hey there and welcome back!

Have you used Google PageSpeed Insights? How was your score?

I’m willing to bet that you’re probably not happy with what you saw. I think all of our websites are slower than we think they are.

But the good news is that you know your page speed and you have some ways that you can fix that score. And we’re going to go over some of the biggest ones to help you make big improvements on your page speed.

Before we begin, if you want to see more videos on web design, ecommerce, digital marketing and other website related topics, be sure to hit the subscribe button and to ring the bell for notifications.

Now let’s get started.

Compress your images

I say this a lot because it’s a big one, but make sure that your images are compressed. Nobody wants to download a one megabyte photo from your homepage. Trust me. That will tank your loading time. It’s awful.

So take the time to compress your images. And the best part is that it’s pretty easy to do. You can use a photo editor, like Photoshop or the Preview app on a Mac. You can change the size of the image. I would recommend that if the image is not going to be full width on your page that you keep it to be no wider than 1000 pixels. Also, you can adjust the resolution, which I suggest to be no more than 100.

When you’re ready, you can export it or export it for screens and move the quality down to shrink the file size. Finally, for a little bit more compression, you can use TinyPNG or ImageOptim to compress your image even further.

And for folks who like to have a written reference to fall back on, I’ve got you. I’ve posted a link down in the description below to a blog post where I wrote out exactly how to do just that.

Seriously compress your images folks.

Use lazyloading when possible

This is more of a developer thing, but see if you can lazy load your images on the webpage. This is where an image is only loaded once the screen scrolls down to them. And that saves the initial page loading time.

This has been a thing for a while now, but it’s only gotten easier in recents years. The easiest way now to implement this is to use the loading=”lazy” attribute in an image element. This works with basically the latest version of all major browsers.

If you need to support older browsers, there are a plethora of different solutions using JavaScript that you can try out.

And if you are using WordPress to power your website, the 5.5 release over the summer added this functionality to your site automatically.

Check your web hosting

Also, it’s a pretty good idea to see if your web hosting might be holding down your page speed. Hosts play a pretty big role in making sure that your pages get shown quickly.

If you’re running on some cheap, $5 a month hosting, you’re probably not going to get the fastest service running the code and loading the resources you need for the page. These hosts do the bare minimum. Which is fine since you’re not paying a huge sum of money.

But if you’re super serious about page speed, it’s probably time to go looking for a premium web host. In addition just having much better hardware to speed along, they might even have other features like caching and a CDN to speed up your website.

As I’ve said before, I use WP Engine, which has great caching and a CDN to use. It’s around $29 a month, but I’m sure you could find other quality web hosts for maybe a slight smidge under that number. And trust me, the additional cost is well worth it.

Minify your CSS and JavaScript

This is something I mentioned in the WordPress video on Wednesday, but it’s so worth mentioning again. Make sure to have your CSS and JavaScript files minified.

Now, this is probably something you’re going to need a developer to do, unless you know how to do it. But it is worth knowing about and inquiring about, especially if you’re inside the website creation process right now.

What does that mean? Well, minifying files is getting rid of, you know, the line breaks and the spaces inside of those files. Each of those are technically characters that take up space in the file. And if the file is long enough, they can really take up some storage space.

As a developer, I have Gulp processes that do the minifying for me. And if you’re a developer, you should have those as well. It’s only best for your clients.

And if you’re one of those clients, make sure you talk to your developer about making sure those files are minified. It might seem like a small thing, but it can make a pretty big difference, especially if those files are big.

Defer JavaScript to the Bottom of the Page

This is another developer-related thing, but I think it’s worth mentioning and asking your developer about it.

But you should be moving as much of your Javascript to the bottom of the page as possible. JavaScript is code that has to be run, and if it’s up in the head section of your website, where it has been for many of the years, that code has to be run before the rest of the page renders. And that kills page load time. And the most important part of any webpage is getting things shown, not the functionality that Javascript provides.

So move it to the bottom of the page. It will still be run once the page is loaded. But it won’t block any of the rendering which is critical.

Check Google PageSpeed Insights

Finally, as I talked about on Monday, make sure that you’re using Google PageSpeed Insights to periodically check for your page speed and to see where you can make some improvements.

Things can change on your website without knowing, especially if you use a content management system like Drupal or WordPress. So go in every few weeks, run some tests and see where you can be making improvements.

Website speed, like a lot of things to do with websites, is an ongoing process.

Up Next

So that’s it for today. What questions do you have about speeding up your website? Have you tried to do it before? Have you run into any problems? Be sure to leave your answers and questions down in the comments section below.

Next week we’ll start to talk about digital marketing, heat maps and then for WordPress, what SEO plugins are the best.

To see those videos and other videos on ecommerce, digital marketing, web design and other website related topics, be sure to hit the subscribe button and to ring the bell for notifications.

Until next time, I wish you and your business the best of luck!

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