A beginner’s guide to improving your website speed

Find out how to improve website speed for your pages to help increase sales and retain your users.

Do you ever feel like your website could and should really be faster? Maybe the images take a long time to load in, or the content first appears on the screen as if it is crawling down the page, revealing the content sentence by sentence.

We have all been there, clicked on a site which takes forever to load and consider clicking off it. In fact, 70% of consumers surveyed admitted that page speed impacts their buying decision.

This means your slow website could be losing you a significant amount of income.  If this isn’t enough to persuade you to look at speeding up your site, then maybe this will. Google’s bots also use website speed as part of your ranking, so a slow website could knock you down a few places.

In this post we will show you how to improve website speed, so you can avoid any loss of income due to page performance.

How to improve website page speed

Compress images in next gen formats

A common issue for websites is the image load speed times.  Have you been on a site where the text has loaded first and the images slowly appear on the screen? This is most likely occurring because the images haven’t been compressed.

Most people have heard of JPEG, GIF and PNG, but there are now “next gen” image formats which are faster and more suitable for websites. These are:

  • JPEG 2000
  • JPEG XR
  • WebP

It is recommended by Google to use these formats for images to speed up page loading times. This is a quick and easy tip on how to improve website speed and can make a big difference.

The size and format of your images could be having a big impact on your page speed!

Minify your CSS

Your CSS is the coding used to tell your website everything it needs to do and how to do it. If you have ever seen your CSS you will see it is pages of code made up of letters, numbers, and punctuation which, unless you are a developer can be difficult to understand.

However, these pages could also be a one of the sources for your slower pages. Ask your tech team or developers to compress your CSS by removing any unnecessary bits for the live website whilst also keeping a copy of the original coding to work on.

Consider using a Content Distribution Network

A CDP (or Content Distribution Network) are a network of servers. Their purpose is to distribute the load of delivering content to users.

This essentially means copies of your site are stored at various geographical data centres. By uploading your site to one of these it means that users will have faster and more reliable access to your site, especially international clients trying to visit your pages from thousands of miles away.

Avoid using too many redirects

Each time you add a redirect to a page the waiting time for your page to load increases. So try and keep redirects to a minimum to improve website speed.

Check your browser caching rules

Browser caching enables the pages to load up faster for users who have previously visited the site. This is great to improve existing users’ experiences, however not always so good for new visitors. The reason for this is that if you have too many caching logs on your site it will slow down your overall website speed and performance.

Make sure you check the expiration date for your caching rules, so you aren’t caching user data for longer than you need to.

After all, you don’t need to keep the cached logs for a user who accessed your site once, two years ago and has never returned. We recommend setting it to no longer than a year at the most. However, if you’re frequently changing your website content, we recommend a much shorter cache time.  

Check server response time

If you have done all the above and are still finding issues with your website speed, then check your server response time. This is made up of several factors including how much traffic your site is experiencing, the resources each page uses, the hosting solution you use as well as the software your server is using.

Get your developers to check to see where the problem areas are, look out for bottleneck performance issues to diagnose which factor or factors are not working efficiently. This can be a great diagnosis tip on how to improve website speed. The optimal server response time is under 200ms, so use this as your benchmark.

There are many pieces of advice you can find on how to improve website speed, these are just a few of the more common ones,

However, if you are looking at improving your website, whether it is to speed it up, making it more dynamic, optimising it for mobile or simply give it a refresh we can help. Our team of developers and designers are skilled at helping you achieve all your goals.

We can help you create a professional, smooth running website which runs faster to help improve your rankings and user experience.