We all know that feeling when waiting for one-second online seems 10 times longer than a one-second wait in real life. When we visit a website, we know what we want and frustratingly waiting for the webpage to load is only going to make us annoyed. A short delay can translate to significant drops in page views, customer satisfaction, and drop conversions, and this is definitely not good for business. This drop in numbers can mean a drop in earnings as well, thereby affecting organic search rankings. When a website loads, it basically downloads the codes that constitute your website such as the HTML, stylesheets, images, and scripts. In order to ensure that your website’s loading time is at top speed, read on to find out how you can reduce your page’s loading speed.
1. Optimize Your Images
Due to the large file sizes, images are easily the most common bandwidth hogs online. If you want to optimize your images to help them load faster, the first step is to scale them down to an appropriate size. A common mistake by webmasters is utilizing large images and then scaling them down with CSS; but what they do not realize is that the website will still use the original sizes when the images are being downloaded, thereby translating to a longer waiting time. As such, you should always make the necessary adjustments before uploading your images onto your site. Another way is to compress your images using various free online tools, where you can size them down without compromising on their quality. By making the necessary adjustments, your site can significantly cut down on loading speed.
2. Browser Caching
Enabling browser caching on your website allows your site to store certain data onto your user’s computer, thereby allowing them to download the content faster every time they click on your site. By storing the data, they no longer have to download the exact same content every time they click your site and this leads to faster loading time. You can also alter the duration of the stored data based on your browser configuration and server-side cache settings, and tweak it to your preference. If you are unsure of how to set up the browsing caching on your server, you can either engage help from your hosting company or read up on the various resources online, like Apache Caching, Nginx Cahching as well as IIS Caching.
Apart from compressing your images, you also have to enable compression for your entire site to significantly reduce your page’s size — think of it this way, it is just like putting your website into a zip file! Compression is said to effectively reduce up to 70% of your HTML and CSS files, thereby increasing the loading speed of your site. Since the compression process is a server setting, how you incorporate it onto your website will vary based on your webserver and its settings. Some of the more frequently used web servers include Apache, IIS, and Nginx. If yours does not fall under these web servers, you can give your hosting company a call to see if compressing can work for your website as well.
4. Optimize Your CSS
Optimizing your CSS is one of the crucial steps to reducing loading time since the CSS files are the first to load when viewers click on your website. Hence, if your CSS takes a long time to load, web users will wait a long time as well. Consider whether or not all of your CSS files are necessary, and delete those irrelevant or outdated ones. Every bit of excess CSS files will amount to more waiting time when loading your site. After getting rid of the superfluous ones, start minimizing them. Blank spaces on your CSS files will add up to more space, even though they are empty. Get rid of those extra spaces to ensure that your CSS files are reduced to the minimum.
Firstly, you can check to see if your CMS minimizes your CSS by default, or if there is an option for it. Some web servers do require an extra plug in to minimize them. In addition, you can also use free online services to minimize your files immediately, to get the reduced stylesheet version. Though it may seem like these extra steps are quite time-consuming and not worth your time, you will be surprised to see how much space you can free up and how much faster it takes to load your site altogether.
5. Keep Your Scripts At The Bottom
- Async tags allow the scripts to load concurrently as the rest of the page loads, but this method is more prone to online mishaps and the files can load out of order. This happens because the smaller files load first, and it may cause the website to load in a messy sequence
- Defer attributes only load the scripts after the whole page is loaded; it is a more secure alternative. However, if your scripts start loading too late after the content, the site may be broken.
As websites strive to enhance the online experience for web users, pages and files will inevitably grow, translating to longer loading times. Hence, by practicing these tips and actively reducing and minimizing file sizes, you will be able to help your website remain competitive. Alternatively, if you are still clueless about where to start, fret not for you can hire professionals like Onpage rocks – technical SEO agency who will get everything done for you efficiently and ensure that your site is of top-notch quality!