No one likes a slow website. As an internet user, you have certainly encountered slow websites from time to time. What do you do when you land on a site that is taking forever to load? If you are like most other users, you quickly find the ‘back’ button in your browser. With so many websites to pick from, there is no reason to stick around on one that is too slow to use effectively.
Knowing how important it is to have a fast website, you need to take a careful look at your own site to make sure it is living up to the expectations of your users. If you find that your site is not running particularly fast at the moment, consider using the five steps below to speed things up.
Step #1 – Use a Content Delivery Network
One of the first things you should do to speed up the user experience on your site is to employ the use of a content delivery network, or CDN. A CDN will allow users to more-quickly access your pages thanks to a more efficient system of delivering files to their device.
Most CDN’s utilize a network of services in various locations around the world. By serving files from a location which is close to the end user, the experience of using the website will be improved.
Step #2 – Take Redirects Out of the Process
On the surface, a redirect seems like a handy tool – and it can be, in some situations. However, if you have too many redirects on your site, all you will do is slow down the overall user experience.
While you probably will not be able to eliminate all redirects from your site, you can work to reduce them to the greatest extent possible. Cutting your total number of redirects in half could potentially double the load time of your pages, which would be a huge impact on the way the user experiences your site.
Step #3 – Clean Up Your Site
No Matter if you have an ecommerce site, a blog or business website, something it’s as simple as cleaning up the broken links on your site can go a long way toward fixing load times.
There are a number of tools available that you can use to check the links on your site, so this doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. If you have any broken links on your site, those links will slow down your load time due to the bad requests.
This is a problem that is easily avoidable, as long as you are willing to regularly check on the validity of your links. When it comes to site speed, sometimes it is the simplest fixes that can make the biggest difference.
Step #4 – Optimize Your Images
It should go without saying that images are one of the biggest players in the load time game. Large, heavy images will take a long time to load as compared to the rest of the content on the page.
To improve on the load times of your images, be sure to optimize them by cutting out unnecessary elements. A number of pieces of software are available for this task, such as the Smush.it plugin for WordPress users.
You can also optimize your images in Adobe Photoshop if you regularly use that piece of software. Whatever method you choose, make sure the images which land on your site have been effectively optimized.
Step #5 – Clean Up Your Code
Code is the heart and soul of your website, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t speed things up by eliminating parts of the code which simply aren’t necessary. If you wrote the code yourself, go back through and eliminate things like comments and whitespaces which are only adding to load times.
If you used a website creator like WordPress to build your site, consider employing the use of special software to review your code and shrink it down to size. Simply eliminating a line or two of code is not going to dramatically change the performance of your site, but cleaning up the code throughout your site can wind up making a big difference.
As a website owner, your number one goal should be the satisfaction of your visitors. If you visitors enjoy their time on your site, they are far more likely to take a desired action such as making a purchase, sharing content, etc.
Serving your pages as quickly as possible is certainly one of the best things you can to with an eye on an improved user experience. With quick load times on your site, a big piece of the website operations puzzle will be checked off your list.
Author Bio: Jeremy Friedman started his professional career in web development in 1997, working on some of the earliest web-based software frameworks ever released to developers and completed his education at University of Delaware. Upon leaving a local development firm he helped start Greenwing Technology in 2009 to serve the small to medium size suppliers that need help integrating with the major procurement software providers.