Website speed can make or break a brand’s online presence – a slow loading site can lead to visitors leaving the site within seconds, never to come back.
No online strategy can be complete without working on methods to improve your website speed.
There are numerous reasons why your website isn’t loading quickly, and we have solutions that can help. We list the top ways to improve website speed in 2020 so you can create a website improvement project plan.
Table of Contents
Database Clean Up
When your website speed isn’t up to scratch, your first port of call should be cleaning up your database, no matter what programming languages you use.
Depending on how old your website is, you may have numerous files and assets that are no longer in use—or even multiple versions of these assets that clog up the system.
Look at this as spring cleaning – if you haven’t used an asset in over six months, you probably don’t need it.
You should be ruthless in your clean-up process, because those old files that you think you might need, are slowing your site down.
The cleaner your database becomes the less your server needs to crawl through to load your website.
Cache Your Site
Caching is a technical process and should be done by a developer who knows what they’re doing—because the effect it has on website speed is unparalleled.
Essentially, caching saves versions of popular pages on users’ devices so that a new version of the page doesn’t have to be loaded every time someone visits the page.
This ensures that the user has a seamless experience visiting your site without an extra burden on your website to reload every element on the page.
If your business doesn’t have a caching plugin, now is the time to add one to your site and improve your speed.
In general, the fewer elements your website has to load, the faster the load time.
As tempting as it is to create a site that includes numerous elements on a page, that won’t help the user experience.
Think of the end-user when you consider adding new elements to your site – do you really need so many images to load directly on the page?
Most website themes offer an excellent selection of minimalist themes that are attractive without including too many cumbersome elements. Or you can create custom web design that is minimalist and loads faster.
It is impossible to create a website now without using a variety of images – from header photos to timeline infographics, images are crucial to retaining visitor attention on your website.
But images can also slow down the speed of your website. Fortunately, there are a few methods you can employ to ensure your images retain their quality without impacting website speed.
Smaller Image Files
The size of an image file has a massive impact on how quickly your website loads – the bigger the file size, the slower the load time of the image, and often the whole page.
Your website theme should have the image dimensions for your site – ensure your images are sized correctly and the file sizes themselves aren’t more than a few hundred KB.
You can use optimization plugins that will compress the images for you, or use third-party software. These will ensure that your images do not lose quality even in small sizes.
The concern with losing quality when decreasing image file sizes can be rectified by using the right kind of image types.
There are a few types of images – JPG, PNG, GIF – and each have qualities that make them useful for improving website speed.
JPG and GIF files are often smaller in size but don’t have the resolution that PNG files do, though PNGs tend to be heavier files.
However, JPG files should suffice for your website – if you have a high-res image, it shouldn’t be too badly impacted by decreasing the file size.
Use an image optimization plugin to keep the quality of your images as well as improve your website speed.
Video has become a core component of marketing and design – it is highly probable that the marketing manager wants a few videos included on the brand website.
And that is completely fine – most brands are following the same strategy. But if your video is slowing down your website, you need to rethink your video strategy.
Unlike images, you cannot upload very small file sizes for videos – at least, not without losing resolution.
However, there is a way to improve landing page speed without losing video resolution—instead of uploading videos directly onto your server, embed them from a link.
Most brands have YouTube channels now – upload HD versions of your video on YouTube and embed the link on your site.
This way, the video quality, and website speed will be efficient.
Content Delivery Networks
A content delivery network (CDN) could be the key to ensuring your load speed is faster without having to make massive changes to the backend of your website.
The CDN is particularly effective for brand websites that appeal to a global audience – if your server is housed at one end of the world, the load time for someone far away will be slow.
A CDN will help with that problem – it is essentially a group of web servers located around the world.
When a user visits your membership website, the closest geographically-located server will fire up the site – ensuring that the load time is faster.
If you have a global audience, investing in a CDN might be what you need to do to ensure faster load time.
Lazy loading, or asynchronous loading, could be the answer to your website speed problems, especially if you can’t decrease the elements on your pages.
With lazy loading, elements are loaded as and when they are needed.
For example, when a user first visits a page, they will see the top half of the page load completely.
As they scroll down, those new elements will begin to load, but not a moment before then.
This is a massive help when you have numerous elements to load on a page but don’t want to sacrifice website speed.
Employ a lazy loading plugin as soon as possible to improve site speed.
Your host server can have a massive impact on your website speed. Not all servers offer the speed you need to draw your audience in and get conversions.
If your site speed isn’t improving even after following the above suggestions, you should be looking at changing your host server.
Website migrations are not an easy process – changing servers takes effort, and means shutting your site down while you check that everything has transferred to the new server.
But if the end result is a website that loads faster and keeps your visitors engaged, it is well worth the effort.
Consider your options for changing your host server – there are inexpensive servers that could still deliver high-quality service.
The above ways of improving site speed can all help to improve the user experience of any visitor who clicks on your website.
Some of the methods we have described will need monetary investment, while others require labor and time.
But following the suggestions in this article can massively improve the user experience, thus retaining more visitors on your site and boosting eventual purchase numbers.
Featured image source: Freepik