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WANT TO SPEED UP YOUR WEBSITE & BOOST RETENTION?

THEN THESE 20+ TIPS WILL MAKE YOUR WEB PAGE FAST AGAIN!

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SITE'S PAGE LOAD TIME

How to improve Page Speed?

Website loading speed is paramount to the success of your business and optimal customer satisfaction.

When was the last time you paid attention to your website page speed? If the answer is never, or maybe once every couple of months, then you haven't optimized your website for search engines and your users yet.

No matter how much you SEO optimize your website, if your site speed is slower than a snail, then you've missed a spot, and an important one.

If you're not happy with your existing website slow speed and want to make your site fast again, then our 20 + tips to speed up your website are just for you. Enjoy!

All the hard work of making sure all your on-page techniques and make your content one of a kind will be in vain if you don't run a website load test to see whether your site's page load time follows Google's recommended page speed, or risk loosing ranking, or your customers to your competition.

By implementing the below tips to speed up your site, you'll see your page load time improve.

So grab your favorite drink, sit back and enjoy these 20+ tips to speed up your web pages.

PAGE SPEED - WHAT IS IT?

Many website owners get confused between page speed and website speed.

Page speed test, or page load time is an analysis of how slow or fast your web page is. When testing your website for any speed issue, you're actually gauging the speed of your web page, be it your landing page or any other internal pages, and not your site as a whole.

I've always been obsessed with page speed and if I have a choice between making BuzFind more prettier with bells and whistles to make someone say 'Wow' when they land on any page, but have every page suffer from the slow page load time syndrom, then I would whole hardheartedly choose great content and a fast web page load over unnecessary and speed hogging features.

WHY YOU MUST IMPROVE YOUR SITE'S PAGE LOAD TIME

When was the last time you visited your favorite website and waited at least a minute for the page to load?

Probably never!

If I am wrong about such statement, then I can tell you that you're probably the only one here who doesn't care about how long it takes for a page to load. But even if you don't care, you should if you have a business website, or a personal blog and cares about your readers being frustrated of the slow page load.

Your slow page will make them unhappy and might force them to go somewhere else — To your competition.

If your web page takes over 3 seconds to load, on a desktop or a laptop connected wirelessly, then I can guarantee you that it will take even longer to load on a mobile device resulting in readers or customers leaving your site as fast, or faster than you could count to 1.

Make the Internet and your readers happy by making sure that every page of your website loads within 3 seconds or less not only on their desktop or laptop, but also on their mobile device like smartphones.

WEB PAGE SPEED IS NOT THE SAME ON PHONES & TABLETS AS IT'S ON WI-FI

The Wi-Fi  (LTE  'Long Term Evolution') - A very technical process for high-speed data for mobile devices like phones and tablets with cellular capabilities) hardware (antenna) of a desktop, laptop are usually are more sophisticated than of a smart device (using 4G), so it is important that your web page speed caters for smart device users also.

"Unless you're alone in the middle of nowhere, you're competing for the same Wi-Fi or LTE bandwidth used by other people and their devices. Network congestion plays a major role in how fast Wi-Fi and LTE devices perform. Multiple Wi-Fi networks within range of one another operating at the same frequency cause data speeds to drop. Microwaves and baby monitors located between the phone and the wireless access point cause speed-reducing interference as well. Additionally, LTE cellular towers can handle only so much data at once, so download speeds plummet when hundreds or thousands of people simultaneously use the Internet on the same tower." http://itstillworks.com/vs-wifi-speed-5317627.html

SPEED UP YOUR WEBSITE FOR MOBILE USERS' SAKE

Each year, people spending their time using their mobile device increases by many folds. But unfortunately, many websites still haven't designed their web page to account for the load time speed on mobile devices.

For the sake of your mobile users, SEO and your business, you must think of page speed for mobile users to be as important as of your desktop users, if not more important because mobile page speed is part of mobile SEO best practices.

According to Statista (https://www.statista.com/topics/779/mobile-internet/), and as of August 2017, there are 3.5 billion of mobile users Worldwide and if you're not going to target global users, then think of the ones in your country, or local area.

PERFORMING A WEB SPEED TEST

Before you start optimizing your website speed, you first need to take a look under the hood of your website and find out how slow or fast your page is by performing a web page speed test.

There are great free speed test tools you could use to gauge your website speed and find out where your site stands in regards of page load time.

I regularly check my site speed but I not only perform a test on https://buzfind.com, but also on every page.

My favorite speed test tools are (not in any order of preference):

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE SPEED

Whenever someone contacts us and asks us to improve their SEO, the first thing I perform is an SEO audit of their website.

Once I have the site audit report in front of me, I first look at the following:

  • Current website page speed
  • The hosting company
  • The platform used to design the website
  • What other elements (plugins, modules, component, and so on) are being used on every page, and how they are being used

KNOWING YOUR CURRENT WEBSITE PAGE SPEED

You need to know your current website page speed in order to gauge the page load time and find out the cause(s) of your slow web page. Then take the necessary action(s) to improve your page speed and make your mobile users happy.

1. Hosting company

Before I start talking about hosting, let me recommend something, that I am sure web hosting companies won't like.

You might think the matter of where to purchase the domain name from is off topic and you might even think that it doesn't affect website speed, but in a way, it does and if you bare with me for a moment, you'll come to understand why choosing where to buy your domain name is an important step and worth mentioning.

Never purchase your domain through your hosting - Again, this one is off topic but worth mentioning just in case you become unhappy with your host because of the poor hardware/software setup (and support) negatively affecting your site speed, and decide to get a divorce.

If you're unhappy with your existing hosting company and decide you want a divorce, it will be much easier to pack your website up and move on to a better home if your registrar is different than your hosting company because having your domain name with a separate registrar will be much easier and faster to move on, than moving to another host where you also purchased the domain from.

now back to hosting and page speed...

I said this before and I am going to say it again: Your hosting company can make or brake your SEO campaign — Due to slow page speed

To save money, many business owners look at the cheapest hosting package (and the cheapest SEO packages posible) they could get their hands on forgetting, or not being aware that they'll end up paying more for that decision, down the road.

Which hosting company you choose will affect your page speed, and...

Your bottom dollar.

You might think your hosting company's poor hardware setup and software configuration will not affect your ranking and decide to stay faithful for many years to come, then don't be surprised if the ones you should be faithful to and care about (your readers/customers) divorce you and look for a better relationship from someone that cares about them.

If you care about your customers leaving you for someone else, then you MUST put them first and remove anything that makes them, and search engines, unhappy.

Before you choose that hosting company, you have to research the company and look at what kind of hardware and software setup they have, read the reviews and any hosting complaints mentioned by existing or ex-customers in forums, gauge their support and response time.

When choosing a hosting company to host your website, you'll need to look at:

2. Uptime/Downtime

I am not going into details about Uptime/Downtime here but I do want to let you know that, when search engine spiders (or bots) come and visit your website/web page and see that it is inaccessible, they'll move on to the next website...

You got it, your competition.

So do your research, read reviews/comments, and find out if there are uptime/downtime complaints filled or mentioned by previous or existing customers before you signup.

3. Page Speed As A Ranking Signal

No one likes a slow web page, including search engine spiders. Google did state, in 2010 that page speed (page load time) is one of their 200+ ranking factors.

No matter how small you think speed is as a ranking factor, you'll still need to pay attention to it because your visitors and competitions do.

Again, the poor page speed could be due to old hardware setup, like the use of old mechanical hard drives, vs SSD (Solid State Drives) that have no moving parts, therefore, will give you an improved web page speed.

So check what type hardware setup and software configuration the hosting company you're thinking of moving to, offers before you move in.

Below is BuzFind SEO latest GTMetrix Performance Report

GTMetrix Latest Performance Report for BuzFind SEO

Below is Pingdom latest performance report for BuzFind.com

BuzFind SEO Pingdom speed test result image

Below is Google PageSpeed Insight result for BuzFind.com

PageSpeed Insights Result BuzFind image

As you can see from the above image, BuzFind.com is facing two issues affecting its speed;

  • Reduce server response time - I'll need to speak to my hosting company and work out the issue
  • Leverage browser caching - This is due to Google Analytics (analytics.js) not having set an Expiry date or a maximum date in the HTTP headers for static resources. This can be resolved by hosting the 'analytics.js' file locally on the root domain and setup a Cron Job to keep the file updated regularly

Below is BuzFind.com test result with Google's 'test my site with Google' - Mobile Speed Test

test your mobile website speed with Google image

Below is BuzFind.com test result from WebPagetest.com

WebPagetest test result buzfind com

As you can see from the above image, BuzFind.com is having a 'First Byte Time' issue. Again, I'll need to speak with my hosting company and work out the problem.

Beside the above mentioned problems (not due to the design and implementation of technical SEO), I can say honestly that BuzFind.com's speed is pretty good. Still, I MUST improve its speed performance even further.

Read a detailed article about 'Time To First Byte'

4. Type of hosting package and Page Speed

Shared hosting is not the same as hosting your website on a dedicated server where the latter will be (should be) much faster than shared hosting.

When deciding which hosting company will have the pleasure of giving your website a home, contact your hosting company and ask them how many website their typical shared hosting package will host.

Note - The more websites being hosted on a server, the more resources will be shared which will result in in slower page speed.

If SEO and your online business are important to you, then I recommend going with a dedicated hosting package. However, if by any chance you afford a dedicated server, then choose the next best hosting package — A server that is setup specifically to host a small amount of websites.

5. Improve Page Speed Through CDN

Location, Location, and more location.

To provide the best and fastest experience for a user, search engines will look at the location of the person performing a search and looking for a product to buy or a service they need, then asses the location of a website (including other factors) then decide which websites to place in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

By having a CDN (Content Delivery Network - A system of distributed servers that help deliver content to the searcher based on their location and of the content delivery server), your website will have a chance of being listed in that SERP because of the existence of a CDN close to the searcher.

6. Design Platform & Site Speed

Depending on what your site is about and its purpose, it's imperative that you use the right tool, for the right purpose.

There are a lot of good website design platform you could use such as an open-source CMS (Content Management System) like Joomla, WordPress, Magento, Drupal and choosing the right CMS for the right job is extremely important to having a fast page.

But unfortunately, many small business owners will outsource the design of their business website to someone, or a company that only knows and is familiar with one particular CMS, and WordPress is one of such great open source CMS.

But is WordPress the right choice for your website?

Let me explain...

WordPress is a great content management system you could use to design a website for your business, however, WordPress might not be the right tool to use for your business.

For example...

WordPress can be used for an eCommerce website, but is it the right tool?

For me, it is not, even though it can be used for an eCommerce website with the right extension installed.

WordPress is a good candidate for a blog, a newspaper, magazine type of website, or to give your small business a professional online presence. But it was not meant for an eCommerce website because, as mentioned earlier, you'll need to have an eCommerce extension (and probably many more) installed to have your site function as an eCommerce website.

Remember - The more extensions are installed on your WordPress, the slower your website, or web page will be.

The same things goes for Joomla. Your can have an eCommerce site based on Joomla! CMS and it can do a good job with an eCommerce component and some plugins installed...

However, your Joomla website speed will be facing the same page speed issues as WordPress.

From my experience, I believe to alway use the right tool for the right task, therefore, here are my recommendations:

  • Use Joomla for the purpose of having a professional online presence
  • Use WordPress if you want to have a blog, newspaper, or magazine type of website
  • Use Magento for your eCommerce website
  • Drupal is an open-source (since 2001) software (originated as a bulletin board), which include a content management platform and a development framework, and can be used to create your blog, corporate or personal website, a portal, eCommerce and social networking website, and much more.

The above mentioned open-source CMSs have quite a large community and developers offering extensions, paid and free plugins, widgets, components, modules and such, to help you design your website and implement more features tailored to your business type and needs.

Note - The more extensions are installed, the slower the page becomes. So install with speed in mind.

WARNING - Do not use proprietary site builders like Squarespace, Wix or you'll be limiting yourself on how much you could do to improve your site speed like moving your JavasScript and CSS files to the bottom of the page (while making sure CSS is above your JS files) for optimal speed.

Also, I do not recommend the use of any other site builders available in your cPanel.

7. Think Of Page Speed Before You Upload That Image

Images are important parts of your website design, but not always. depending on the type of your website, images can add some pizzazz to your website, make it more pleasant to look at and make your visitor more comfortable.

However, you just can't add images willy nilly without thinking about your readers and their experience viewing a particular page.

I've read some recommendations where they advise you to put your images on another website/domain such as Amazon S3 or other image based websites, to help speed up image loading and improve your website performance and this is not true because you'll be adding HTTP calls for each image.

Unless you are using Amazon S3 as a CDN, you'll be better off reducing your image file size before you upload it.

The following are my recommendations about the use of images:

  • Use images only when and where they are needed
  • Optimize every image for optimal page speed before uploading
  • Include image dimensions (width & height) in your HTML and make it responsive through CSS

8. Poorly Designed Template/Theme Will Affect Your Site Speed

Many website owners will either look for a free template/theme or purchased a professional template/theme with a lot of bells and whistles not knowing that those features will render a web page slow.

If a template is using an image for a background, menu, modules, then I recommend removing them and use CSS to introduce some colors instead.

There are a lot of good and fast templates for Joomla, themes for WordPress that are not only responsive and use HTML5 and CSS3, but also fast.

9. Too Many Extensions & Plugins Will Affect Your Website Speed

Again, the more modules, widgets, and plugins you install, the slower your web page will be.

So only use exactly what you need and what could improve your site, and not what you want.

Also, instead of just disabling a plugin or a module if you installed them and changed your mind about using them, then just don't disable them, instead, uninstall them all together.

MORE TIPS TO INCREASE PAGE SPEED & MAKE YOUR WEBSITE EVEN FASTER

To improve every page load time of your website and make it fast again, I am going to recommend the following easy to implement yourself page speed optimization tips.

10. Improve Resource Download Parallelization

Disable the lookahead downloader in IE8 (for users who haven't upgraded to Microsoft latest browser) to improve page speed by specifying a character set in a meta tag.

11. Avoid Bad Requests like 404 and 410

It is normal for a website owner to make some changes here and there and possible change the page(s) URL, or maybe delete the page all together for some reason or another.

When a URL is changed or a page is removed and don't take proper steps to redirect the old page to a new page, or redirect to a page with similar content or talks about the same topic as the one you are removing, then your readers/visitors might receive a 404 error page.

This will not per say improve your site speed, however, it would more professional and tells your reader that you care about their time.

12. Avoid Any CSS @import

If you have some external style sheets (CSS) and use CSS @import, know that those external CSS are not downloaded in parallel, thus, adding additional unecessary time to the page load due to the required round trips performed by your readers' browser.

For example, if you have a style sheet 'A' with the '@import' rule to import style sheet 'B', then your readers' browser will first download, parse and execute CSS 'A' only to realize that it also must download CSS 'B'

13. Avoid Using document.write

If you are using document.write to fetch external resources, then know that this will add to the page load time significantly especially if document.write is referenced early in your HTML markup

14. Page Redirects

Before you publish your site, take the time to go over your pages and make sure you are happy with the page URL before publishing the page.

A Redirect, like 301 redirects, which are useful for SEO when redirecting a page URL to a new one with the hope of keeping the link juice, will add time for the page to fully load.

If the old URL is still listed in search engine result pages (SERPs), then the 301 redirect is kind of a detour to users browser, therefore increasing the time to the page load.

For the sake of speed and user experience, 301 redirects should be avoided.

15. Plugins

For security reasons and the unmanageable consumption of CPU/GPU and RAM of the mobile device, most mobile devices do not support plugins.

Plus the more plugins your page/site has, the slower your website or page will become.

So only use a few and the MUST HAVE plugins.

16. Modules

Some Joomla users might thing having multiple modules on a page has no effect on page speed. If your website is a Joomla! based site and are including modules inside your article by using {loadposition} or {loadmodule} features of Joomla CMS (content Management System) and think you are not adding page load time to your page, then think again, especially if the module has a large image.

Remember, the less features, plugins and modules your website has the faster your page load will be.

Note to CMS users:

If your website was designed using a CMS such as Joomla, WordPress, and so on, then I recommend you only use the plugins/modules/extension you must have. If you changed your mind about using an extension, don't just disable it, uninstall it altogether for the sake of page speed and your users.

17. Combine Images Using CSS Sprite

Reduce unecessary round trip, which will result in increase page load time, by not only optimizing your images for speed (reducing the file size of each image), but by also combining them into as fewer files as possible using CSS Sprite.

18. Minify your JavaScript

My first recommendations about using JavaScript is NOT to embed them within your page content.

If you take the time and look at any of your JavaScript files, you'll see some comments within the code, and a lot of white space.

To improve your website speed, it is recommend you minify every JavaScript files by removing those comments and white spaces.

If you're not sure how to do that, then I can recommend JavaScript Minifier.

19. Combine All Your JavaScript Files Into a Single .JS file

Now that you have minified all your 10+ JavaScript files, you'll need to combine them into one single JavaScript file to improve your site's page load time.

Of course, you still have to refactor your other code (make changes to your document to include the path and file name of the newly combined JavaScript file)

20. Defer Loading of JavaScripts

Almost all websites use JavaScript for some reason or another and your site is among them, then to speed up execution and rendering time of the page, you should defer the load of all your JavaScript files/function to the end of the document.

21. Minify Your CSS Files

Your CSS files (including in the template/theme you're using) might also contain comments and white spaces and removing them will improve your web page speed. One free online tool I recommend just for that is CSS Minifier.

22. Combine Your CSS Files

Many will recommend that you split up your CSS and create one style sheet for the landing page for example, one for your product page, and that you should only load the CSS file needed for a specific page.

But here is the problem with this approach...

  • By splitting up your CSS into several CSS files, you are adding the amount of HTTP requests to your page load
  • Most of websites follow a standard layout by having their logo, possibly a contact phone number and maybe a search box on top, and use similar content in the footer and copyright area of the website. So are you going to load a CSS specifically for the above mentioned areas and another CSS for the page content?

If you keep your single CSS file minified and uncluttered, you'll be better off having one single CSS file.

Remember, the more CSS files your site has, even if they were minified, the slower your page speed will be. By combining all your .CSS files into a single one, you'll improve site speed not only from combining them, but also from minifiying your CSS files.

By doing so, you'll be doubling your speed reward by minifying and combining your CSS files.

23. Moving Your CSS and JavaScript to the End of your Document

Now that you have your JavaScript and CSS minified and combined into a single file respectively, your next step is to move them to the bottom of your documents. However, they have to be listed in a specific order in the bottom of your HTML document to help speed up your website:

  1. Yhe minified and combined CSS file first
  2. Your minified and combined JavaScript file second

24. Minify Your HTML

To improve your site speed even further, you can also minify your HTML file by removing all empty spaces from the start or the end of each line, and removing empty lines. If you think minifying your HTML is not worth the hassle, then let me remind you that your competitor is doing everything to improve their website speed, and get found above you in search engines.

Remember, every ms counts and when you add them up, they will shave a lot of seconds from your page download time.

25. Enable GZIP Compression

Your website might have some quite large files, and some medium or small sized files. To increase the speed of which they are transferred from the server to the browser, I recommend you enable GZIP compression to reduce page size and improve site speed.

If you're using an open-source CMS like Joomla or WordPress, there is an option where you can enable the GZIP feature of the CMS you are using.

Remember to either contact your hosting support and make sure GZIP compression is also enabled on the server side.

26. Got Flash?

Flash might make your site look pretty and cute, but it will affect your website speed. Plus, there are other ways to animate an element on your page using CSS3. If you believe you must use Flash, then only use it very sparingly.

Speeding up your website is just like performing SEO - It's a never ending story. You might never be able to achieve a PageSped score of 100% (A) and a YSlow score of 100% (another A), but as long as you continue trying to improve your site speed, you'll make your customers and visitors happy, and if they are happy, your business will be a happy business.

GTMetrix performance result for '20 + Tips to Speed Up Your Website'

Speed up your Website GTMetrix Performance Report image

That is it for now — However, I'll be adding more page speed tips. So come again, and come back often.

Is your website slow and want to improve your page speed? BuzFind website speed optimization services will improve your page speed load time, boost conversion and increase your business revenue.

GOT A SLOW WEBSITE?
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Al

BuzFind SEO Company

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