After you got your website up and running, tested it and ran basic on page search engine optimization it’s time to step it up. In this tutorial I’ll explain why it’s important that your website is fast and how you can make it faster. In fact this lesson doesn’t start here but when you choose your server and host. Let’s get into it!
Website speed is a term describing your website’s loading time. The time a visitor has to wait until the page is loaded and usable.
Why your website speed is important
Why is this important? First of all visitors don’t want to wait. Time is rare nowadays and the web is one of the fastest medium we interact with. You definitely don’t want to stand out as a big fat deceleration issue!
Even more Google likes fast websites. As a rule of dumb remember, Google likes what visitors like.
How To Make Your Website Faster
The good thing is there are several ways to make your website faster and shove off a couple of milliseconds to seconds.
When your website loads it may or may not process a couple of more complex processes like php calls. It will process all files and functions associated in your website. If you are using a powerful content management system this can get quite resource consuming. To make life for your poor website easier you can use a cache. When you set up a cache the more complex processes will be processed and saved into a static file. On further website loads the static file will be loaded instead of each complex process triggered. Neat!
I recommend W3 Total Cache if you use WordPress. I’ll cover the setup, tips and tricks in my next post.
So we now saved our complex process outputs into static files. However as you can imagine, we got a lot of files now. To even more speed up your website Minify allows to combine these files and even shorten the content of the files (by merging and deleting). Even more speed! Perfect!
Last but not least another mighty weapon can be done manually: Reduce your image sizes! This can be quite time consuming however. I suggest using a tool like Gimp (it’s free!). You can make your image smaller to reduce its file size. If that’s not an option you can also compress it more. This is done right after you clicked on “save”, entered your file name and went on to the next step. JPEG quality is selected on a slider between 0 and 100 quality percentage. PNG files are compressed by a 0-9 compression level. After saving check the file size. I recommend not creating pages that need more than 2mb to load (even better get below 1mb!).
Benchmarks: What Are Good Loading Times
Load times depend on many different factors. I’ll end this post with a picture of this website’s benchmark. My next post will cover W3 Total Cache. Afterwards we’ll move on to different website speed test tools. Stay tuned!