There is nothing more annoying than waiting for a website to load. You would rather go ahead browsing other sites than staying on this particular one.
In other words, speed plays an essential role in your website’s user experience.
It does not matter how tempting your offers are if your website takes ages to load. Mind you; even just a one-second delay can cause a significant drop in conversions. This can also impact your audience’s loyalty to your brand.
If you want to boost your website’s performance, we have listed 14 factors you should focus on.
A report by Google has evaluated users’ behavior on mobile devices, and it showed that page loading time directly affects bounce rate. With a delay of 1-10 seconds, increase this metric to up to 123%.
This means that page loading speed is one of the critical elements Google used to rank websites. When we say “page loading speed,” we mean the time it takes for the browser to show the content of your website.
Meaning, a drop in page speed leads to higher bounce rates. To boost your website’s performance, you can do the following:
- Decreasing the volume of HTTP requests
- Optimizing your visual content
- Utilizing CSS sprites
- Choosing a good hosting service
Similarly, there are also many free tools out there that you can use to test your site speed. This includes Pingdom, Load Impact, and Web Page Analyzer.
As mentioned above, choosing a reliable web host is one of the best ways to ensure that your site performance is working optimally in terms of speed.
Choosing the right web hosting plan allows you to improve your site performance.
Although a cheap hosting plan might be great at the beginning, this seems like the right option. However, this may cost a lot in the long run.
Also, see to it that you pick a trusted web hosting provider that offers you several hosting plans. It’s crucial to have effective handling of website resources.
If you’re on a shared hosting ecosystem, upgrading to the cloud or a dedicated hosting plan can improve your website’s performance. For one, it allows you to maximize your resources.
Second, several small to mid-sized businesses have a reasonable amount of traffic that switched to VPS hosting. That’s because it provides a dedicated hosting service and is highly cost-effective.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re choosing a web hosting company, you should pick one that has an uptime rating of at least 99.5%. Although many companies say that they have 99.9% uptime, your site will only have issues when they’re updating the server your site is often hosted on.
If your host’s server is sluggish, no matter what kind of improvements you make to speed up your site or your loading times, your site will stay sluggish.
In the same way, an HTTP request can take up the majority of the entire page loading time. The number of HTTP requests may depend on the various elements that your web page has.
Therefore, a single element will demand an HTTP request to be downloaded on a browser. In other words, more page elements mean a higher number of HTTP requests. This also leads to longer page loading times.
But you need to make sure that you’re aren’t limiting the number of elements on your page. Once you take off all the features, your site may fall flat. That’s why it’s essential that you keep it simple and not make clutter on your site using any unnecessary designs.
You should also set a strict guideline on optimizing the number of elements you might need on your web page. Apart from that, you can streamline the number of scripts, placing them on the bottom of the page.
Similarly, you can start integrating multiple style sheets into a single one.
Server Response Time
Ideally, you should keep your server response time under 200 milliseconds. If you have a web server that takes more than that, then maybe it’s time that you take action.
Keep in mind that everything counts. Your web hosting server location plays a crucial role. Usually, a standard web application monitoring solution can provide you with the correct answer.
Apart from that, you might also want to invest your efforts in page speed analyzing tools, along with server-side caching.
When you add too many site elements like images, titles, texts, and likes, your conversion rate can decrease.
Also, the first couple of seconds that users stay on the page are vital since it is when the user decides whether they want to stay on your site or not.
At Sytian Ecommerce Developer Philippines, we know the importance of having a clear layout and visual aid.
Widgets and Plugins
If you use WordPress to manage your website, you might want to customize it using plugins and widgets. However, adding the same features might also slow down your page’s loading speed.
The more plugins or widgets you’re using on your site, the longer it takes for it to load. So make sure that you only use those that you genuinely need.
Second, you should also be using items that are from reputable sources and are constantly being updated.
File Types and Sizes
The bigger your files are, and the more files that should load on a page, the longer it will take to load on your browser.
Sure, speed improvements allow you to load bigger files in less time. But it is still vital that you take time to optimize these files as much as possible.
Similarly, you can also minify the code or optimize the format of your image and sizes to help keep them as lean as possible.
Although adding plugins can improve your site’s functionality, installing too many can cause a slowdown.
That’s because every plugin that you might have has different functions and features. These may also make plenty of database queries and might need many assets that can significantly slow down your site’s loading time.
When done correctly, there isn’t a lot of difference with your site’s loading time. But if you have plugins that inundate the server with HTTP requests, then that is when it can impact user experience.
Similarly, you can also use tools such as Pingdom and GTmetrix to know what’s going on when your site is loading. You’ll learn how many files were loaded, as well as how much time it takes for them to load.
That way, you’ll know whether a plugin is hogging your resources or not. As such, you can consider whether you need the functionality it provides and find a replacement for it.
There’s also no magic number for the maximum amount of plugins that you should have on your site. Usually, it will depend on your site and the particular plugins that you’re using.
Bad plugins can load more than ten files, while well-coded ones may only load to a minimum. This will also depend on the plugin developer.
One of the best solutions to this is to move the tracking code along with the scripting to a location that’s below the fold. That way, it won’t slow down your website with First Content Paint (FCP) of Google PageSpeed Insights.
Similarly, Google PageSpeed Insights allows you to analyze your site and even offer suggestions on how it can load much faster.
The thing is, not every site developer out there can write you with the most efficient codes. Some give you a site that has massive blocks of code that will only do minor functions. Similarly, poorly coded sites load a lot slower.
When you get unnecessary elements from the code like line breaks, extra spaces, and other formattings, then that’s when you can see an improvement in site speed.
If you want to improve your code, there are pretty handy tools to help you fix the issue.
If you aren’t comfortable working on codes, you can work closely with a site developer to improve your site. Similarly, make sure that the theme that you’re using for your site is well-coded, too.
A lot of users tend to compress or zip files when they send large folders and files. It’s also so much easier than compressing a file and sending it over via email. Not only that it’s smaller in size, but extracting it is so much easier.
The same thing is true for browsers. If you have prolonged text or rich content, it will take longer to be downloaded on the browser. If you want to minimize, then zip it.
For instance, do you know that you can reduce the memory of a 250 kb web page to just 35kb if you zip it? Less memory will lead to quicker download time and lesser page loading times.
You also need to know how you can integrate SEO with web design.
Sure, it is essential to incorporate visual content on your website. However, you should ensure to decrease the file size without compromising its quality. Otherwise, it can slow your website down.
Utilize website caching
There might be many users that access the page at one time servers work slowly. Thus, they will need a lot of time to deliver the web page to every user.
In a nutshell, caching is the process where the current version of your site is stored on the hosting.
Then, this version is presented when the site is updated. Meaning, the web page isn’t rendering over and over for every user. Cached web pages wouldn’t have to send database requests every time.
An approach to web caching will usually depend on the platform that your site is developed on. You can also set up caching under general settings using a dedicated server or a VPS. Meanwhile, if the server is shared, website caching isn’t available.
Find 404 Errors
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Error 404 means that a page no longer exists.
For you to correct a 404 error, you should be utilizing error detection tools and plugins.
Like we mentioned before, placing additional plugins on your site can usually hurt your site speed. Therefore, you might consider running the resource with external tools first to detect any errors.
After you’ve successfully detected all these 404 errors, you can access the traffic they generate. If deadlines aren’t bringing any visits and consume your server resource, you should consider leaving them as they are.
If traffic is still coming from these pages, you might consider setting redirects for external links. You can then fix the link addresses for internal ones.
Your site redirects also create additional HTTP requests, which can hurt your site performance. You can try to reduce or eliminate them.
You can do this by identifying all the possible redirects on your page using a site scan. Then, check if there’s any purpose, and only leave out the essential ones.
Over to You
Now more than ever, your website speed and performance play an essential role in your online identity. For one, user’s expectations are growing. Second, their patients are decreasing.
This means that people will go more impatient with every second it takes for your website to load. As such, it only makes sense to improve your website’s page speed and performance. Otherwise, your website visitors will hit the back button and bounce off in an instant.
Mind you, the more people leave your website without doing anything can hurt your search engine ranking. And this can be detrimental to your business and brand.
If you do not know where to start, we suggest referring to this post. Another way you can do that is to run your website on PageSpeed Insight to GTmetrix, and follow the suggestions listed on the result.
Kenneth Sytian is the Owner and CEO of Sytian Productions Ecommerce Website Designer Philippines. He has been designing websites and developing web apps for more than a decade. He is the driving force behind the company and influencer in the industry of web design and development in the Philippines.