Having a slow website can hurt your brand, reduce your Google rankings and kill your conversions. Find out how to make your website speed faster.
Find out your website’s speed
Before we begin, find out how fast or slow your site is by visiting the Pingdom site speed tool.
Now, let’s begin.
While you can spend days or weeks obsessing over website speed, I’ve found there are four things that will have the most dramatic impact. Here they are.
1. Server response time
Cheap, shared hosts are good when you are getting started, but once your business grows, a managed host is better. In my case, the day I migrated from my old host to WPEngine, my site speed improved by 54%.
2. Plugins or add ons
A plugin is a tool that extends the functionality of WordPress, for example, a plugin can add a contact form to your website. The best practice is to have less than 20 additional plugins. The less external pieces you add to your site, the faster it will load.
It’s also good to avoid features on your site that are meant for you rather than your customers, like backlink checkers, backups or analytics. These can be particularly resources intensive and if they don’t help customers, it’s better to handle them off site.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business websites section.
3. Site size
The total kilobyte size of your website will have a big impact on its speed. If it’s over about 1mb then there’s a good chance it can be improved. The size is influenced by many things, but often the biggest culprit is images.
The Pingdom tool can check your site’s size and it allows you to sort their recommendations by file size, so you can narrow down troublesome images.
4. External scripts
Scripts contain a list of instructions located within your website code that are invisible to your web visitor’s eye. The scripts dictate how your website behaves in response to particular click requests.
It’s common these days to have services on your site that are delivered from other places. Examples could be a video that comes from YouTube, a Facebook ‘like’ button or opt in forms hosted by your email provider. The more external scripts your site has, the slower it will run.
Creating a faster site is just about making a compromise on some of the above features, or culling the ones that run particularly slow. Depending on how your site is built, you may also be able to shrink and/or combine them.
Do you want some further site speed tips? Post your website address within the next few months and I’ll reply with some improvement suggestions. Or care to share your website speed?