The page load speed of a website matters a lot for attracting and retaining customers. As much as 40 percent of users leave a webpage if it takes more than three seconds to load, according to a study by Akamai. Google even takes page load speed into account when ranking websites. Needless to say, higher the loading speed, higher the rankings. So here are the top tips to make your company web pages load faster:
1. Keep design content to a minimum
Videos, images plugins and widgets easily eat up bandwidth and slow down overall web page loading time, so it’s a good idea to keep these to a minimum as possible. Avoid using iFrames for videos which significantly increases loading time. Compress images using software like Photoshop so they do not add bulk to your webpage. (And use only jpegs.) Only use widgets and plugins if absolutely necessary. Keep in mind that your users will have varying internet connection speeds.
If you are using a theme for your site with a service like WordPress, keep it as simple as possible. Don’t opt for themes loaded with images, videos and plugins that will certainly slow down loading time. Minimalist is the way to go.
2. Optimize for different web browsers
Not all browsers are created equal. Each has an own code it can read expertly and quickly. However, some browsers may take up more time to read code specifically written for another browser. Therefore, optimize your web page code for all major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera) for faster loading.
3. Get a cache plugin
When a webpage stores information for offline use, it’s called caching. It allows a computer to remember certain parts of a website so everything need not be loaded from scratch every time. Thus, you can slow down loading time using a caching plugin like WP Super Cache offered by WordPress.
4. Mind those ads
Advertisements on your web page is sometimes a necessary evil. Too many of them, however, will hurt your loading time, along with SEO ratings and customer satisfaction. Don’t use pop-up ads on your site. If you must use ads, keep them to a minimum and sideline them so the main content of your site is not ignored.
5. Improve redirects
Additional HTTP requests for redirects slow down loading time. Therefore, keep these to a minimum. For redirects to mobile version of a webpage, use Google-recommended HTTP redirect and <link rel=”alternate”> markup.
6. Keep your server close to your target audience
The farther the server is from the intended audience, the longer the loading time. Keep your server as close as possible to the audience and use a Content Delivery Network for international audiences to maintain fast loading rates.
7. Make above-the-fold content easy to load
Above-the-fold content is the material a user sees without having to scroll down. Making this content load faster will reduce overall loading time and improve user retention. You can achieve this by eliminating bulky video, images, plugins and widgets in this area.
8. Go easy on social media buttons
Social media buttons are essential for SEO. But too many of these can slow down loading time. So you should consider your SEO needs against page load needs and keep these to a minimum.
9. Treat tracking codes like plugins
Tracking codes, like plugins, slow down loading time. So remove all gratuitous analytic programs on web pages and keep only those necessary. Also, move all tracking codes below the fold to enable faster loading.
10. Organize your database
You don’t have to delete anything in your database to improve loading time. Instead, index it, which makes returning data more efficient and less likely to weigh down page loading time.
11. Upgrade your server
You might want to upgrade to a powerful server considering the complexity of the code you are using to improve loading time. You might need a top-of-the-line server anyway as you update your website and more traffic is generated.
12. Clean up your code
Last but not least, you must clean up your code to make page loading speed as optimal as possible. Remove all out-of-date plugins, themes, old post revisions, and hide short codes that are no longer needed. A clean code can also improve your SEO rankings.
Improving web page loading speed to less than two seconds has proven to generate more traffic and boost conversion rates for online businesses. So don’t wait to follow the tips above.