In website development, success takes more than just stunning visuals.
You need to pay careful attention to every single component that constitutes the user experience or UX. This includes the visibility of your value propositions, the engagement factor of your content, and — most importantly — the loading speed of your pages.
According to statistics, 40% of online consumers won’t wait for a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
That’s nearly half of your prospective leads out the window.
The good news is, it’s definitely not difficult to give any website a boost in speed. With the right tools and strategies, you’ll probably be done with the necessary optimizations in a day or two.
Without further ado, here are 5 strategies that are guaranteed to make your website run buttery smooth.
1. Zero-in on Issues with PageSpeed Insights
You don’t need to be a veteran developer to understand that different websites have different needs.
When it comes to your website’s loading speed, there could be numerous factors at play. What you need to do is cut the guesswork by running a full analysis on Google PageSpeed Insights — a free-to-use performance optimization tool.
After you enter your URL, click the “Analyze” button and wait for the tool to finish its evaluation of your website’s performance on desktops and mobile devices.
You will then be able to view a list of all detected performance-related issues on your website, including “Optimization Suggestions” that will help you deal with them.
Keep in mind that you may need to get back to PageSpeed Insights later as you apply the recommended optimizations. For now, let’s focus on one of the most common issues that plague most newly-made sites.
2. Compress Your Images
The biggest culprit of a slow website is the heavy use of unoptimized, high-resolution images.
Sure, visual content is a great way to capture the audience’s attention and maintain their engagement. But if you pack too many images into one page without compressing them, they can slow your website down to a crawl.
It’s not rocket science: the bigger your image files are, the more bandwidth they require to load. That’s why you need an image optimization tool like Compressor.io to compress them before you upload them to your website.
To use Compressor.io, simply drag and drop your images into the main window or click the “Select File” button to manually upload them.
The main advantage of Compressor.io is that it’s capable of lossless image compression, which allows it to minimize an image without any noticeable effects on quality. Your images will still look sharp, but it’ll be up to 90% smaller and faster to load.
Apart from Compressor.io, there are also a number of extensions or plugins available to specific website platforms. WordPress users, for example, can use WP Smush, which has a built-in automatic optimization feature for all images you upload to your media library.
3. Minify Your Code
Just like images, your custom codes are also assets that must be optimized for a more efficient bandwidth usage.
This is especially true if you have plenty of interactive content, CSS personalizations, and custom widgets on your website.
All you need to do is select the right tool from the main menu, paste your code, and click the “Minify” button.
Although Minify Code should work most of the time without affecting the code’s functionality in any way, it’s still a good idea to create backups as a failsafe.
4. Utilize a Content Delivery Network
If you serve content to users all over the world, you can keep your website’s performance consistent with the help of a Content Delivery Network or CDN.
Remember, distance is a huge factor that affects latency, which is the delay experienced by users when accessing data from the internet.
A CDN significantly reduces latency by spreading the load of transferring data across multiple proxy servers. Whenever a user tries to access a CDN-backed website, the nearest proxy server is assigned to deliver content — essentially removing the problem of latency due to distance.
Here are a few things you need to remember when picking a CDN provider for your website:
To maximize the performance gains of leveraging a CDN, look for companies that offer extra optimization features like image compression, code minification, and TCP connection pre-pooling.
CDNs in, general, offer an extra layer of protection against Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attacks. Some CDN providers, however, take security to the next level with features like bad bot mitigation, web application firewalls, and backdoor protection.
Lastly, it’s important to look for a company that offers 24/7 support for that much-needed peace of mind. This will allow you to get direct answers to your questions as well as receive assistance during emergencies, particularly ongoing cyber-attacks.
5. Use Accelerated Mobile Pages
Regardless of your niche, you should never forget to optimize your website’s performance on mobile devices.
Remember, mobile devices now account for more internet traffic than desktops, not to mention that 53% of mobile internet users will abandon a website that takes over 3 seconds to load.
To speed up your mobile website, a solid strategy is to implement accelerated mobile pages or AMP — a Google initiative that pushes for better browsing experiences for mobile users.
Out of all the strategies outlined in this post, creating AMP pages is probably the most challenging and technically demanding. Fortunately, the AMP project has all the learning resources you’ll ever need in their quickstart guide.
You can then test your AMP pages’ validity with the Google AMP Test. Just enter your website’s URL and click “Run Test.”
Optimizing your website’s speed can be a tedious task, but it’s definitely a necessity if you want to reap its full ROI potential.
With the strategies above, the only thing standing between you and a zippy website is the question: when will you start?
Hopefully, you don’t wait too long before you apply the methods you’ve just learned.
If you have any other suggestions, feedback, or thoughts regarding the post above, feel free to comment about it below! Cheers!