The loading time of your website definitely is one of the most important things to keep your visitors happy about and with a fast website, your users will enjoy exploring your content. Websites that are loading very slowly or have pages which take tens of seconds to display the content are putting themselves in serious risk of a high bounce rate and decreasing traffic on the long run.
High bounce rates imply, that visitors enter your website but leave quickly – never likely to come back again. Having a high bounce rate is something you should avoid. In this article we gather helpful tips to speed up your website without the need of changing your host or spend more money.
- Pick the right hosting plan
- Create a simple lightweight website
- Take advantage of caching
- Compress website resources with Gzip
- Cleanup and minify your code
1. Pick the right hosting plan
While you do not want to spend extra money on hosting, you can also get a reliable hosting plan for a decent budget. These days, with competition in mind, many hosting companies offer excellent service to normal sized websites at completely reasonable prices.
Hosting companies like for example SiteGround, Bluehost, GoDaddy or Hostgator will give you access to a top notch, well supported site platform that makes use of fast servers, thus giving you excellent load times for your WordPress website. Hosting plans are already available at very low monthly prices that can cost as little as just a few dollars per month or even less.
However, keep in mind that your chosen hosting plan should reflect the size of your website. Running a very popular website with lots of traffic on a low-priced shared hosting environment will eventually result in performance issues or even server outages.
2. Create a simple lightweight website
Another way of speeding up your website is by keeping it lightweight. Avoid loading all sorts of unnecessary scipts, plugins or extensions because each of these elements may slow down your WordPress website. By only implementing on your website what you really need, you will dramatically decrease the loading time of your website.
If you are not able to avoid using many scripts or stylesheets on your website, another option is to combine them. Instead of having everything packed into a large number of files, combine them into less files and ensure that only the resources are loading on your website, that are really needed.
In case you are loading lots of images on your website, this may heavily increase the loading time of your website as well. To reduce the impact of images on the performance of your website, you could look into image optimization and lazy load WordPress plugins.
3. Take advantage of caching
Caching is a great way of speeding up your website. You can add what's called Expires or Cache Control headers to your server and sites. This will tell the visitor's browser to store website elements (e.g. images, stylesheets, etc.) inside its cache for the length of time that has been defined. Browser cached elements are quickly available and this means that your site will load much faster! To easily implement caching on your WordPress website, you can make use of caching plugins.
4. Compress website resources with Gzip
HTTP requests for data files sent between your visitor's browser and your site's server are one of the main causes of website loading time latency. In addition to enabling caching for your website, you can also enable data compression through your website CMS or hosting provider to make loading your website faster. Gzip is one of the most popular compression methods available today and this can heavily speed up your website as well.
Most professional hosting providers make use of Gzip compression on their servers and if this is the case, then you should definitely feel this feature at work. However, if it is not enabled, either speak to your host and ask to have Gzip enabled or, if your site is running WordPress, you can download plugins that can enable Gzip compression for you.
5. Cleanup and minify your code
Removing or optimize extensive code, HTML comments, empty sections, empty elements, non-functional trash code and CDATA sections in your code usually will result in a more functional, faster loading website with smaller page size and lower network latency. It's recommended to compress your website HTML code as much as possible and keep your overall code clean.
Online tools like code minifying tools can help you accomplish this for your site. Again, if you run WordPress websites, you can also simply look for the available code optimizing plugins. For WordPress, an excellent example is Autoptimize.