by Perry Bernard for Forge Online.
Don’t really care if your website is loading as fast as possible for your clients and leads? You should!
Load speed is a factor for rank in Google and is also a major factor that influences how satisfied a user feels with the experience of surfing your website. Plus, if the user can’t view your website within seconds of trying to load the first page, you might miss out on that visit entirely. If this is something you’ve ignored until now, I’d recommend you consider these 4 top tips and take action:
1. Hosting Location:
Your website really should be hosted in the same country that it serves, and while global internet service speed is improving, there are still some issues that can vary a lot throughout any particular day.
Do you operate a .nz website to service New Zealand? There are lots of excellent hosting companies you can trust to serve your website content to locals. If you have your hosting services overseas because of a cost factor, think twice. The money you save in hosting charges are possibly affecting your business profitability. Saved $20 per month on hosting – lost $2000 per month worth of business due to a slow website served all the way from the USA or wherever.
To fix this problem, talk to a web developer or Search Engine Optimisation specialist to get help moving your website. They should also be able to recommend some great hosting providers. Here’s one we recommend.
2. Server Speed:
There are many different levels of hosting server resources that might be available from a hosting provider. A common one is where your website is hosted on the same server as many other websites, and these are usually the cheapest too. It also means your website only gets to use a small portion of the server resources: CPU, RAM, disk space, bandwidth and so on, and these can all affect your website’s speed. When traffic and server load is especially high, like during daytime business hours, speed can be at its slowest. You can often resolve server speed issues by renting dedicated resources from the same hosting provider. The hosting cost typically goes up, but the speed of your website can significantly improve.
3. Images and Videos:
For websites that have all of their hosting speed issues under control, the next most likely drag on load speed is probably going to be about the content, especially images and videos. All of the images you load into your website should be optimised for ideal dimensions, kilobyte file size, visual resolution and file type. It’s more complicated than most business owners can manage themselves and might require that you use Adobe Photoshop or similar program to re-sample images. For a great guide on how to optimise images, visit here, or discuss this with your designer and explain that the images need to be optimised for web. The same applies to videos. These typically don’t need to be ultra-high resolution for most applications, and hosting your videos on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo means you can save on storage space within your own website and rely on the powerful platforms that these two providers supply.
4. Website Functions:
If you use several functions on your website or on individual pages, consider carefully if you really need them. Display functions like large slide shows introduce more code into the page so take longer to load. They also tend to highlight issues with Images from point 3. You might also have animations, scrollers, dynamic content or other functional features slowing the page down from loading. A lot of the time this is on a page by page basis, so one page may load fast while functionally heavy pages load slowly. Check all of your pages, not just the home page. To resolve these you are likely to need support from a web developer and explain that you want to speed up the service of your pages. There are often plenty of solutions available including browser caching, pre-loading and compression. When a website is being designed and built, usually these optimisation features are not included because appearance and function are normally the priority and can be at the cost of some of the performance features. A compromise is needed between design and performance and a page that is slowed down by a code-heavy function usually isn’t a fault with the design or build process.