Three of Jordan's tips and tricks to speed up your website

Website speed, or pagespeed, is often overlooked by many as a critical component of any successful site. Speed is a factor that is becoming more and more relevant as the online world moves forward.

Research shows that potential customers and clients are more likely to leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load fully. Not to mention that Google has recently made page speed a direct ranking factor. As a result, there are many ways that page speed can indirectly affect your rankings through bounce rate and dwell time. So, I’ve put together a quick-start cheat sheet to help you improve your website’s speed.

Let’s get into it! 

1. Get rid of unnecessary files, sections and elements.

One thing that I see time and time again is websites that are bloated and overloaded. Imagine 20+ plugins, half of which can provide the same functionality as each other, unpublished pages, posts, images and more. The best way to think about this is that if you have a bag that you are carrying up a hill, you want to ensure it is as light as possible before you begin your journey; otherwise, you are going to make it up that hill a lot slower than you would like. This is an excellent analogy for your website because when you overload your site with unneeded files, it will make your website a lot harder to load.

If you are in the process of building your website, you may try a bunch of different themes, plugins and images. Everyone does it; it’s how we figure out what works and what doesn’t. Once you have finished building your website and you’ve pushed it live, the key is to get rid of all the different themes, plugins, and images you are not currently using. Go through all of your other files and physically delete them. Overlooking this step can hurt your site in the long run.

2. Optimise, optimise, optimise!

Website optimisation is a vast and important topic when it comes to successful web development. In today’s world, effective optimisation is more prevalent than ever. I like breaking down my optimisation into a few different categories – code files, cache and images. 

Starting with code files, this is everything from HTML to Javascript. Finding ways to minify and inline these files effectively is critical to improving the speed of your website. There are many plugins out there that help you achieve this – one of my favourites is WP-Optimize (WordPress); however, remember that the effectiveness of a plugin is heavily dependent on your server configuration and a few other factors. 

Caching is another essential component of web optimisation. In basic terms, when someone visits your site, the cache will store a version of your site (for some time) so that when that visitor returns, your site is served a lot faster to them. 

Properly optimising images often goes unnoticed for many people and can cause some of the biggest headaches for page speed. You need to consider two factors when looking to place pictures and videos on your website, file size and image quality. For example, you can find the most incredible image to display on your Hero Slider, but if that image will slow your site down, even a small amount, is it worth it? That’s why I recommend you always focus on image formats and image quality. The goal here is to get the best quality for the lowest size buck. 

My go-to for image optimisation is ShortPixel (WordPress) – it’s a great plugin that helps you lower your image file size while maintaining the best quality. As you can see, there is little to no difference in the image quality between the images, yet the file size is drastically smaller for the optimised image. When you consider that you might have 50 images on a website, optimising can offer hefty size savings site-wide. 

To take this a step further, I like to implement WebP conversion of all of my images. WebP is an image compression format developed by Google that utilises lossy and lossless compression. Employing WebP formatting for website images ensures an even smaller file size while maintaining maximum image quality.

3. Choosing the right hosting for your website

There’s a lot to be said for choosing the right hosting provider for your website. There are many hosts to choose from in today’s market, often making it difficult and overwhelming to make a decision. Sometimes it’s not always best to go with the most expensive, nor the cheapest. Unfortunately, with web hosting, there are a few other factors that come into play. 

First of all, if you are a local business, I recommend finding a host that is the closest to you geographically or has servers based close to where the majority of your audience and clientele is going to be. If you have your website hosted in a data centre in the UK and your main business is in Wellington, you will most likely not have a speedy website. 

The next thing I would do is look at my situation. Do you want to host a multitude of websites? Is your website large in size? Or are you just wanting to throw up a simple five pager on the internet? Depending on your situation, you need to ensure that you find a host to meet your needs. Find a host that provides data centres close to where your business is focussed, and then follow that up by reading the reviews of each hosting company. 

We provide WordPress hosting on Sydney-based servers, offering excellent uptime, great customer support and relatively low-cost hosting fees. We also can provide scaled-up hosting, allowing for higher demand applications.

If you’re struggling to figure out how to optimise your website to speed it up, get in touch with us today!