How to speed up website to improve conversion and engagement

How to speed up website should be the primary concern for business websites. It affects your conversion rate, bounce ratio and overall user experience of your website. We heard a lot from our clients and prospects saying they have professional looking but very slow loading website. It is causing major hit on engagement ratio and raise in bounce ratio.

 

how to speed up website - loading time affects

Consider Kissmatrick’s detailed research on page load time and it’s effects. Report says 47% of users expect a website load in 2 seconds. 1 second delay on loading website would cost you 7% reduction in conversation!

Why website speed is so important? Is it just for SEO purpose? Well, not entirely, but it defiantly helps in SEO. It has everything to do with better user experience and your business online. Research found 2 seconds loading time for website ideal for 47% of visitors. If your website takes 3+ seconds to load 57% of visitors will abandon your website.
You may be doing much of on-page, social marketing, and off page SEO work to bring more visitors to your website. But slow loading website itself is capable of wasting your efforts. It’s always a good practice to fine tune your website. We have compilation of DIY points that you can apply all by yourself to speed-up your website.
We have six tips that you can use to improve website speed.

How to speed up website? Here are the six points answering your question.

Six Points

 

1. Image Optimization

2. Minify resources

3. Use of CDN

4. Caching

5. Page Speed (Linux based hosting)

6. Gzip for compression

how to speed up website - google-speed-test

How to speed up website will be result oriented article. So we would request you to first run the speed test on your existing website and note down the results.


1. Image Optimization


General practice: If possible limit your image width to 600px, maintain the aspect ratio for height. We emphasis more on image optimization for how to speed up website.

Use Photoshop if possible as it gives extra edge over image customization like cropping, re-sizing and optimization. It will help you save hundreds of kbs from image size.
File – Save for Web – Select Jpeg/png – adjust quality (size deciding factor) – Save.

No worries if you don’t have Photoshop for this purpose. We will show you some freemium tools that help you do the optimization task.
how to speed up website - image-optimizer-software

Image optimizer is good free software to look at. The only catch is the demo versions sometime skip some files that you drag for conversion. The outcome and compression is excellent. At least good for a free tool!

On our trial run on an image with 1024×768 with 229kb of size. After conversion we were able to shrink the size to 29.5kb maintaining 1024×768 dimensions. It’s 10th of the actual size! Impressive isn’t it?
faststone-how-to-improve-website-speed

FSResizer is another free to use tool. It has all the features of image optimizer software plus some additional good features. Additional features are like file type conversion jpeg->png, jpeg->gif, png->jpeg etc. It allows image resizing as well.

 

If you are not fan of free desktop applications, you can have look at some free online services like JPEG MINI and Tiny PNG.


2. Minify Resources:


When possible minify css, js and html resources. What minify does is, remove white spaces, and new lines from the file. It saves few bytes of kb in some cases. It makes resources loading faster. I would also suggest if possible create single css file from your different css files which you would not modify frequently. Minify that file as well. This will help you save many HTTP request calls for css files. I personally have deployed this rule first out of six how to speed up website points on my website.

We have compiled some online free sources that help you minify your resources for free.

You may use below mentioned minify tool to minify your CSS, JS and static HTML page. You always have a way to un-minify html page and get back the original page.

how to speed up website - resource-minify

You can use WillPeavy.com.It’s actually capable of minifying html, css and js all.


3. CDN


how to speed up website - cdn

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network or Content Distribution network. If your website has plenty of static resources like images, css and js files. It would be good idea to host them with CDN providers.

Why CDN?

Reason one, suppose your website has plenty of images, css and js to make it look beautiful and interactive experience. Normally web browsers have tendency to allow limited number of simultaneous requests (4-5 requests) for resources to single domain. More requests to single domain need wait in queue until previous requests served.

Second one, suppose your hosting server located in San Francisco and the visitor is from India. There are likely to have many network devices (network hops) between visitor and your website server. This in return increases waiting time for resource delivery. And slow down the website loading speed.

Hosting static content with CDN would significantly resolve these issues. Once you host your content with CDN provider. They mirror your content to distinct data centers. Now any time user request for your website, CDN provider will map the nearest data center to serve static content. This results into fewer network hops and increase loading speed. Additionally they offer multiple domain names to access resources. Meaning simultaneously more resources can be requests same CDN hosting via different URL. It decreases the waiting time and improves overall performance. That is the reason why I suggest CDN hosting when possible in how to speed up website guide.

You can also create cookie less domain to serve your static content if you don’t want to use CDN service at all. This might not be the best way or alternate to CDN but bit better than serving from your original root website domain.

 

Private CDN providers:

You can look for Maxcdn and Amazon S3 cloudfront for CDN hosting. Both offers free trial. Especially amazon offers free service 1 year (via Amazon S3 cloud).

 

Public CDN services:

Your website may not be static resources intensive. Possibilities are you are using common resources like Bootstrap and jQuery. If possible use trusted CDN provider for such resources. Some of trusted public CDN providers are

  • Google hosted libraries
  • Microsoft CDN
  • jQuery CDN
  • Max CDN

4. Caching


how to improve website speed - browser-cache

Caching has good impact on your website loading time. Let’s talk about the client caching first. It particularly helps your website load way faster for the users who have visited your website sometimes back.

There are many resources that might not change frequently. Cache those resources in client browser by providing expiry time. When users open your website the browser will look for the cached resources and load them without asking your server or CDN for resources.

Caching static resources that might not change frequently would help your website load way faster. Do follow this point of how to speed up website tutorial and see the results on further requests on your website.

How to enable client caching?

Linux hosting:

## EXPIRES CACHING ##
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/html "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access 1 month"
</IfModule>
## EXPIRES CACHING ##

Windows hosting:

Add following line to your website’s web.config file. cacheControlMaxAge in 365 says number of days browser should cache resources.


<staticContent>
<clientCache cacheControlMode="UseMaxAge" cacheControlMaxAge="365.00:00:00"/>
</staticContent>

The other method is to cache resource on server itself. If you are using data-driven application or CMS like WordPress then database caching would improve performance. What it does? It simply per-fetches the data for pages and makes cache copies of pages. When anyone asks for these pages, your webserver might not need to ask database for data. Instead the perfected cached copy will be served.


5. Page Speed


how to speed up website - google-page-speed

It’s a Google made module for Apache web-servers. If you are on Linux hosting you may get advantage of it. In Google’s word its: Apache module for rewriting web pages to reduce latency and bandwidth. In other worlds it is a kind of filter that optimizes the output and reduces number of requests client browser need to make. Thus it improves the speed.

If you are on cPanel based Linux hosting, chances are you may have PageSpeed plugin. Google specified standards for caching and faster delivery of content. Enabling it will automatically activate and applies to your entire website.

how to speed up website - page-speed-cpanel

Here is how you can enable page speed plugin for your website on Linux based cPanel hosting. Linux + cPanel user should checkout this option on how to speed up your website, it’s free and you can always turn off if you don’t want to use it.


6. GZip compression


Almost every web-server support compression of content before final delivery. And every modern browsers supports UN-compressing those content. But these compression are effective and may help you save few extra kilobytes. This in turn helps your website load faster and lower the transfer time.

To Enabling Gzip on Linux hosting, add following lines to your .htaccess file residing at the root of your website hosting. Enabling compression result into small chunks of response which travel faster on network and server response quickly. You may never go wrong with this change as all major mobile browsers support compressed response parsing. So to follow how to speed up website guide point 6, add following code to your .htaccss:


<ifModule mod_gzip.c>
mod_gzip_on Yes
mod_gzip_dechunk Yes
mod_gzip_item_include file .(html?|txt|css|js|php|pl)$
mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-javascript.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.*
</ifModule>

To enable Gzip on Windows hosting, add following lines to your web.config file residing at the root of your website.


<system.webServer>
<httpCompression directory="%SystemDrive%inetpubtempIIS Temporary Compressed Files">
<scheme name="gzip" dll="%Windir%system32inetsrvgzip.dll"/>
<dynamicTypes>
<add mimeType="text/*" enabled="true"/>
<add mimeType="message/*" enabled="true"/>
<add mimeType="application/javascript" enabled="true"/>
<add mimeType="*/*" enabled="false"/>
</dynamicTypes>
<staticTypes>
<add mimeType="text/*" enabled="true"/>
<add mimeType="message/*" enabled="true"/>
<add mimeType="application/javascript" enabled="true"/>
<add mimeType="*/*" enabled="false"/>
</staticTypes>
</httpCompression>
<urlCompression doStaticCompression="true" doDynamicCompression="true"/>
</system.webServer>

 

Conclusion

Website loading speed would help you improve user-experience, increase conversions, reduce bounce ratio and helps in SEO as well. Following the mentioned six point will help you improve your speed. I have improve my own website speed from 6.2 sec to almost 2.30 sec by following how to speed up website above steps. Hope it will help you improve your site speed as well.

Post by Darshan Joshi

Darshan has a deep interest in Web technologies. He loves to empower MSME with his custom web development services. He is a firm believer of a true end to end solution. He offers a solution from website design, content creation, website development, website deployment, digital marketing, to brand building.

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