Why website performance matter

In this day age when our websites might be the only form of marketing, it is crucial that a website owner ensure that his website is accessible in record time. Many studies done on website speed show that a customer will generally leave a website that takes anything longer than 35 seconds to load. Google did a DoubleClick study that found websites loading in under 5 seconds had a 70% longer sessions, 35% lower bounce rates, and 25% higher ad viewability than sites taking nearly four times longer at 19 seconds. While some users may display patience and wait for a 10-second load, others may still jump ship for a website that loads even faster. Slower websites  affects how many people visit the site, complete the desired action or buy anything sold on it.

So, how can one speed up their website?

Test your speed

To get an idea of how your site's performance, check out the Speed Scorecard tool. You can also get a deeper view of your site speed for desktop and mobile and what you can do to improve your website by using the Google PageSpeed Insights. Besides going to google "website speed test", installing the Google PageSpeed on your server could be very beneficial. The PageSpeed module is an open-source server module that automatically optimizes your website speed, modifies your server and files and follows website performance best practices provided by Google. You can also optimize your database regularly. Some of the plugins you may install have a heavy reliance on the database as a means to save data. As you continue to use your CMS, the data stored within the database is increased which results in slowing down the website. These plugins include those that save things such as logs, statistics, and user data. Therefore, a working solution would be the cleaning of your database regularly. Although this method is usually ignored, it can boost your website speed immensely.

Removing add-ons, plugins & caching

Removing add-ons and plugins that aren't needed is one great way to speed up your website. In one case study plugins had proven to contribute to over 80℅ of the website's load time. Also, not only was the number of plugins a factor but also the quality of the plugins as well. Although plugins may be beneficial in the improvement of your website functionality, it is in your best interest to avoid using plugins if possible. But if it is of great importance that you use plugins, then avoid using plugins that add extra database questions and perform multiple distant requests. Also, enabling cache is very effective. Caching involves accumulating a version of your website on their browser while your website is updated. According to research, a full cache can reduce loading speed by almost half its original time.

Content Delivery Network & Hosting

Using a content delivery network can also be beneficial in speeding up a website. Loading your website is generally faster for people in your country because that's where your server is hosted. On the other hand, loading your website for people in other countries or even in other continents can be slower. Therefore, to ensure fast website loading for people in other countries a CDN would a great. A Content Delivery Network finds servers in different locations of the world and distributes your website to them. In this way, a customer would be able to access your website through a server in their continent and not yours which ensures faster loading.

Moreover, you can get a better web host to quicken your website speed. In an article about web hosts, one man showed the difference between two website owners. One website owner hosted his website on a reliable dedicated server, on the other hand, the other owner hosted on a cheaper server. As a result, one client had a response speed 35 times quicker than his opponent. Therefore, if you try different avenues of speeding up your website and they still don't work, changing your host might just do the trick!

Minimizing additional material

Remove social sharing buttons on your website. Although some believe these sharing buttons will boost website traffic, it could confuse your readers which on the contrary, slows down website traffic. Because most of these share buttons use JavaScript they may be problematic when it comes to performance. In many instances, there have been social media site outages which significantly impacts the website speed. A way to counter this is by limiting or completely taking out the sharing buttons so that when there's an outage on a social media site, the website is not affected. Another great solution to speeding up your website is by enabling expires headers.

Server Requests

The response time of a server contributes immensely on how fast the site works, the requests your server receives, the more time it takes for the website to load. Expired headers control when a customer can request certain files from your server. This tool is set up to work hand in hand with the customers' browser cache. Therefore, if the expires header has been set up to release files once in a week and the customer has the file in the cache, they will not be able to request another up until a week has passed. Not only is this way effective because it reduces how frequent a file is requested but also because it reduces the load on the server as visitors will not be able to request the same file over and over again. As a result, your website will work much efficiently.

The effect of themes

When people look for ways to speed up their websites they often look for complex ways such as changing a host but an alternative many neglect is changing their theme. Themes can have a massive impact on the speed of your website. Themes are so important that once has to look over aesthetics when using one and consider performance. This is because regardless of what configuration or steps you take to evolve your website, all is in vain if you have a poor theme.

Working to speed up your website is very beneficial if you want your website to work efficiently and experience good traffic. By trying out the suggestions above you can be sure to better your website. These suggestions vary from little action such as changing your theme to completely altering your host. Therefore, there is no limit to what extent you can go to try and better your website. As the internet space develops and evolves, there may be glitches and faults within your system. Sometimes you might need to change elements to your website that were efficient before. But as discussed in the above suggestions you can always improve, enhance and improve your website!

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