Many marketers and website managers have no idea how to make their website faster, even though they may be responsible for its content and general upkeep. That brand-spankin’ new website might have that fresh site smell now, but it only takes a few months of lackluster care to spoil your visitors’ website experience.
In this article, we’ll share some things our web developers would like you to know. These include some simple, easy ways to keep your website optimized for page speed, and increase the likelihood of getting a higher Google performance rating.
Lighten the load.
One major way you can increase page speed is to reduce loading time. The speed that meaningful content first appears when a user goes to your site dramatically affects whether they’ll stick around. The average user will give a website 4-5 seconds before they click away. By reducing load times by just one second, you can increase visitor retention by as much as 30%.
Bigger isn’t always better.
Numerous factors affect the total page size and download time of a web page. One of the easiest to manage and control is the size of images and graphics.
To reduce image size, compress them with a photo editing tool like Pixlr or Photoshop. There are also free, accessible online tools available like Compressor or Squoosh. Small file sizes, make images download faster. Mobile smartphone users will also benefit from not consuming as much bandwidth on their data plan.
The right size for the right webpage
Next, make sure your images are the correct size in pixels. When you use an image that’s too large, the image resizes with HTML. This HTML resizing, unfortunately, creates a performance penalty on your website.
Get the dimensions of each graphic, and crop them to the size in pixels they will be displayed on your website, and use that to determine its file type:
- JPG for photographs;
- PNG for images with flat colors or transparency;
- GIF for animations and simple line drawings.
If your graphics are more complex than this, then it’s best to create an SVG vector version from scratch because they can be much smaller while maintaining quality on retina screens. However, support for SVG files on your website may be limited, so be sure to check with your web developer for recommendations.
Use a fast web host and a CDN for your website.
An optimized website is useless if the webserver powering the website is slow and unresponsive or has no CDN to reduce latency for your webpages downloaded across the globe.
Speedy web hosting is like a souped-up engine in a car. It helps your website combat poor optimization and enhances the visitor’s overall experience. Google’s search engine algorithms give websites bonus points for being fast and user-friendly as an added benefit. This SEO boost ultimately helps your website’s rankings in search.
CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) increase the speed of websites by storing your website’s content in multiple servers across the world. CDN-cached content resides closer to your visitors than the default web host or origin web server. When visitors download content from your website, it travels from a CDN server to your PC instead of traveling from the primary web host. This shortened connection reduces latency and speeds up the data from server to end-user. Using a CDN can significantly reduce page download times.
At iDiz, we understand that the infrastructure of web hosting needs to be secure and fast. It’s a game-changer. So we use secure, highly optimized web hosting backed by Google Cloud and host our sites with a CDN baked in.
Trim the fat.
Web page weight is the general size of your web page. Any extra megabytes your web page downloads like images, fonts, and other website options add to web page weight.
Speeding up mobile web pages is an essential task for all advertisers, particularly considering that quick website download times are crucial to a viable mobile marketing approach. In a Google study, 40% of users will typically leave a web page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. Faster page load times provide better user experiences, and it’s also the best way to perk up the usability of your mobile website.
One major wrongdoer has a considerable influence, and that’s carousels / image sliders.
Sliders are the silent web page killer.
Image sliders or carousels seem like a great way to add a lot of content in a small space. Marketers love them because they can pack numerous promotions in a small area and satisfy every department begging for attention inside their corporation.
But they have cause plenty of problems:
“Many sliders have 4-5 large images in a rotation that can take up an entire phone screen or header. In addition, slider carousels typically use jQuery, which loads all of your pictures simultaneously. This slows down page speed and potentially creates end-user frustration resulting in website abandonment. Research studies have discovered that a one-second hold-up in web page action can lead to a 7% decrease in conversions. If a carousel adds simply two more seconds in load time, its material would need to improve conversion rates by 14% to keep modifications equal.”– Metric Theory
The bottom line is that sliders not only slow things down on your website but also add unneeded page weight and bloat. And, they rarely convert to sales – especially after the first or second slide. A great alternative is to use a static hero image or banner that features one promotion or concept combined with a strong call to action button or link.
Remove unneeded third-party services.
Third-party services are sometimes unavoidable, but removing third-party services or dependencies from your website can simplify the number of resources your website has to gather from outside your website. Simplify or reduce the number of 3rd party services, and your page speed will thank you. Below are some common and easy things to “Marie Kondo” the heck out of your website.
- Remove unneeded social media widgets.
- Stop hosting videos on your site and switch to YouTube or Vimeo instead.
Even better, host them on a video CDN and serve them up remotely without ads.
- Cut out any unused or unnecessary services, such as contact forms or Google Analytics code
- Remove any Chatbots
- Remove any Livechat widgets.
- Remove any unneeded CRM tracking scripts.
- Remove any Heat Tracking scripts.
- Reduce the number of extensions in your CMS
- Remove unnecessary galleries or photo carousels
Some final thoughts.
A fast website is a valuable one. Time is money for not only your company, but also for your customer. The best ways to improve page speed and decrease webpage load times are by reducing image sizes, resizing images to the correct dimensions, avoiding sliders and carousels, and reducing 3rd party plugins and dependencies. From there is’t a deep dive into the coding world. If you would like help with any of these tasks or optimizing your site in general, schedule an appointment with a website specialist at iDiz Inc for a performance audit today!
Other resources from iDiz
- Website Design for Credit Unions & other purpose-driven companies
- Why Credit Union Websites are Weird
- Five trends in credit union websites that you need to know
- No More Crappy Websites
- The Better Website Kit
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