Built for speed.
Your website must be built for speed. Must load quick, must perform quick, must be snappier than your visitors expect.
Why is this? Well a website built for speed performs very well. And I’m not talking about it’s speedy and loads quickly (although it would).
I’m talking about lower bounce rates and not as many frustrated visitors. One of the largest causes of high bounce rates is a slow loading website.
So what makes a website optimized for…
not an advertisement – just a cool creative we made 😉
Well a lot of things can make a website load a lot quicker. The first thing to look at is the technology the website is built on. A lot of platforms out there are built specifically to load quickly. However, not all are made equal.
A great majority of websites out there are built on WordPress. And WordPress has come a long way from the blog based platform it solely once was. In fact, WordPress has been optimized to be able to work very quickly.
However, like all things, it can get bogged down, quickly.
Choosing a host.
All websites must live somewhere. These website domiciles are called hosts. And web hosts are a dime a dozen. Choosing a great host is, unfortunately, a lot hard than it needs to be.
Some of the best options would be to go with a cloud based service like Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS). These options, however powerful, are very advanced and require more than a layman’s understanding.
However, a great hosting company we can’t recommend enough is Siteground. They are very newby friendly and offer out of this world support.
They run circles around their competition as they offer very competitively priced options for their hosting and bundle in a lot of fantastic extra services like site migration, hardware based caching, security features, and a whole lot more. Give them a peek, you’ll thank me.
Creating a website built for speed.
When creating a WordPress website most people immediately look for a template that they like. And here’s where the first problem comes into play.
The vast majority of free templates out there have not been properly optimized for speed. And depending on a myriad of factors, you may be in fact tanking your load speeds.
So, doing some research will help with your load speeds here. If you’re going it alone instead of hiring a web developer, then pay the little extra for a highly rated and optimized theme and learn how to use it. You and your users will thank me. After all you want your website built for speed.
Once your website is up and running you may want to look into some caching technology. Now, this comes in a billion forms. There are hardware based caching tools, software caching tools and more.
We recommend a combination of both, however, for beginners we recommend getting a caching plugin. A good one we like is Autoptimize. It’s a freemium plugin that does a really great job at caching one’s website resulting in vastly increased speeds.
Oh, before we get too far, you can always check your website’s loading speeds and get insight using Google’s Page Speed Insights.
But back to the speed stuff, below is a comparison between our website (ragingrocket.com) with caching and without caching.
Autoptimize caching (on/off) Page speed insights results.
As you can see, Autoptimize gives us a significant 56 point boost in our page speed optimizations. A quick point of reference, you may not see your full potential optimizations right away, some times it takes a little time to take full affect.
Another great area for improvement is with image optimizations. We highly recommend the Shortpixel image compression plugin.
Shortpixel works by compressing your raw images into smaller more internet friendly images. It can do this by using various compression algorithms including Lossy, Glossy, and Lossless.
Lossy is a compression method that reduces some quality of the original photo while keeping it very close to the original quality of the image. Lossy offers the highest rate of compression.
Glossy compression lowers the image quality but to an almost undetectable level. This also doesn’t compress the image as much as lossy, but you can still obtain 30-75% smaller file sizes depending on the type of image being converted.
And finally, Lossless compression is a zero reduction in image quality compression method but still provides some level of file size reduction.
We typically use Lossy compression for our images, but sometimes opt for Glossy when we want a near perfect match of quality. Shortpixel can also convert and serve your images in a next-gen format called Webp which is a file type created by Google. Webp is an extremely efficient format and is widely recommended by almost all web developers as it’s the preferred image format for most static website images. They load quick, are very small files, and work really well.
Content delivery network.
Another great tool to use is a CDN. CDN stands for, your guessed it, content delivery network. CDNs are widely used to serve your website to more people, faster, and more efficiently.
We use Cloudflare CDN as it offers a free tier that is extremely useful in serving websites quickly and efficiently.
Cloudflare also adds additional benefits like an almost instant DNS service, DDoS attack mitigation, advanced SSL tools, and other various services that are extremely handy.
And that’s all in their free tier. Their paid tiers offer more, of course, but for most website’s their free tier is sufficient.
Wrapping it up.
I will of course be offering more tips and tricks on increasing your website’s loading speeds, but for now this article should offer a sufficient head start. Following the guidelines mentioned above you’ll have a site that loads faster, annoys less people, and provides a lot more value to your visitors.