Top 5 Principles to Improve Your Sites Loading Time
In the internet world, one of the most frustrating things end users may and can experience, is a website that takes an age to load.
When it comes to business, those additional seconds it takes for your site to load, could be the difference between a sale and a customer lost.
You may not realise this, but for every fraction of a second it takes for your site load, that increases the chance of your would-be customer from leaving your website entirely in search of a faster site. This is the case, even if your product is the best in the industry.
The good thing is that, it’s not so difficult for you to enhance your sites loading time, taking off fractions and even seconds, from your customers waiting time.
The things that are causing your site to take an age to load, does differ, depending on the website, that said, below are a number of principles, that you should be cognizant of and should take into consideration when attempting to enhance your sites speed, improving its rankings in the search engine and its revenue stream.
Reduce Server Response Time
Your sites loading time is affected by its DNS lookup time.
DNS basically stands for domain name system. It’s a server that houses a database which contains host names and their IP addresses.
When an end user types your sites URL into their web browser, the DNS server takes control, by converting that URL name, into an actual IP address.
An IP address is a long sequence of numbers. With a DNS server, it essentially eliminates the need for people to remember these numbers when surfing the web.
However, if this step, in the process, takes too long, then you may want to consider using a different DNS provider to improve site speed.
A slow DNS will make your website take longer than it should to load up. By using a fast and efficient DNS, you’ll make your site faster and overall more responsive.
Remove HTTP Requests
At the beginning of every site URL is a HTTP or HTTPS, depending on whether it has a SSL certificate or not. HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol, its job is to handle data transfer from the site to the web browser you’re accessing it on. The more HTTP requests, the longer it will take for the website to load. This is because these data requests have differing times, they take to complete. These requests ultimately stack on top of each other, which means, your sites load time will increase with each new request.
So what really is an HTTP request? Basically, it’s everything, it’s every video, text, style sheet, image, and every one of them has its own individual request. So, with each request your sites load time will increase. With HTTPS, this can be even longer.
This means, if you want your site to load faster, you want to minimize the number of HTTP or HTTPS requests your site receives. The fewer requests, the quicker your site will load up, so consider that, when creating your site.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A content delivery network is basically dedicated web servers all over the world that are designed to provide content to the end user. When you have a website that is hosted on a single server, all end user requests are sent to a single machine. It’s for this reason, request time can increase, with each request. In additional to that, a site can take longer, the farther away the end user is, from the web server. When you use CDN, requests for data is redirected to a server that is close to you. The end result, is a site that delivers content at a much quicker rate. This service can be pretty expensive, but it is very effective, so definitely worth the money.
Optimize Your Site Images
Everybody loves a nice looking image. When it comes to an eCommerce site, the success of it can be determined by its illustrations. When you have a lot of graphics, images and photos on your product pages, it increases visitor engagement. The downside to this is that it makes your site slower to load.
The best solution to this issue, without having to sacrifice images or the quality of these images is to use some kind of compression. The time it takes to compress your images, may be quite long, but in the long run, it’s definitely worth it. Another way that you can decrease the size of your images is by using HTML responsive images, which essentially adjusts the size of your images, based on the display properties of your visitors.
Reduce the Amount of Plugins
Every website out there, uses one or two plugins, at the very least. These plugins are designed to add additional features to the site. However, the downside to plugins is that, the more of them you have, the more resources that are required to run them all. The end result is a website that runs much slower and may also have one or two security problems.
I recommend that you do some spring cleaning, and look through all the plugins you have installed on your website, and remove all those that you deem unnecessary. The first thing you may want to do is run a performance test, so that you can better determine which plugins are slowing down your site. A plugin can and typically does adversely affect the speed of your site, but it’s the plugin’s quality that is another thing you should be conscious of, as poorly made plugin’s can have a much worse effect on your site.
Stay away from plugins that use a lot of scripts. The best solution is to ensure your plugins are always up-to-date and to remove any and all plugins that you don’t really need.