Seven Tips and Tricks for Creating a Faster Website

Carl Taylor | October 19, 2020

Is your website’s performance losing you, customers? Find out how to speed up your site and ensure that prospects stick around, instead of bouncing to the competition.

Did you know how your website speed affects a user’s behavior?

It’s a subject that many major online companies have researched extensively. Take Amazon as an example. They conducted a study that found that a website loses 1% of its users for every 100-millisecond delay.

Let’s say that your website takes seven seconds to load. That doesn’t seem like a long time when you read it. However, computing platform provider Section’s research says that seven seconds leads to a 32.3% bounce rate.

That’s a third of your potential customers gone before they ever make it onto your website.

The message?

If your website takes a long time to load, you’re losing potential customers. Today, your users expect your site to appear for them in a couple of seconds. The longer they sit there, staring at nothing, the higher the chance that they will bounce away into the arms of a competitor.

You need to do everything you can to ensure that doesn’t happen. A focus on improving your website’s speed means you keep more customers. Plus, it leads to your website performing better in the search results.

So how do you make it happen?

What can you do to boost your website’s loading speeds?

These are the tips and tricks that you can use today to create a faster website.

Tip #1 – Install Cloudflare

Cloudflare is a Content Delivery Network and security platform. The company maintains data centers all over the world that ensures your website content gets delivered to users faster. According to the company’s data, the platform can halve your loading speeds when used properly.

That can make a huge difference to your retention rates.

For example, let’s say that your site takes four seconds to load. Section’s research tells us that this means an average bounce rate of 17.1%. But if you can halve that to two seconds, your bounce rate drops to 9.6%.

That’s a huge difference.

Improved site speed isn’t the only benefit that Cloudflare offers. (We’ve gone into detail about the platform in this article .) However, it’s one of the most prominent and the platform itself isn’t difficult to set up.

And if you like, you can make it even easier by sending a task to our Concierge Service. Our specialists can set up Cloudflare for your website and ensure that you get the most out of the platform. Just get in touch and we’ll take it from there.

Tip #2 – Minimise Redirects

Many websites use redirects to send users from one URL to another. For example, let’s say that you’ve updated the URLs for some of your products. You may choose to redirect from the previous URL to the new one. This creates an extra HTTP request, which ultimately leads to slower load times. You’re essentially directing your users down a side road, rather than directing them down a straight path to their desired URL.

If you update the URL of a page, that update should get reflected across the entire website. Creating redirects may be an easier solution. However, it creates additional complexity that slows your website down.

Aim to minimize redirects wherever possible. Ideally, no link on your website should take the user through more than one redirect before they land on the content that they want.

Tip #3 – Optimise Your Images

You’ve spent hours taking perfect photos of every product in your store. You’re proud of the resulting pictures and their high quality. And sure, the uncompressed version of the image file may take up a few megabytes. But that’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make for a gorgeous image.

Unfortunately, it’s also a sacrifice that bogs down your site!

As great as high-quality image files look, they can also take a long time to load. For example, let’s say that you have three 10 MB images on a page. That means your user needs to load 30 MB, plus the rest of the page. If they only have a 10 Mbps connection, the images alone add three seconds to the loading time!

The key thing to remember here is that not everybody who accesses your website has a fast internet connection. Some may live in areas where such connections simply aren’t available. In the US alone, about one million people still use dial-up connections.

The goal with your images is to strike a balance between quality and download speed. Compression is the key here. There are several image compression tools available on the web, such as JPEG-Optimizer.

However, if you want a more professional compression service, Automation Agency can help. Our design experts can both create and compress the images that you use on your website. With our help, you’ll strike the perfect balance between quality and image loading speed. Send us a task today to find out more.

Tip #4 – Follow KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

In the 1960s, a Lockheed engineer named Kelly Johnson came up with the design principle of Keep it Simple, Stupid. To explain the principle, he talked about how anything the company designed had to be easy to repair. His idea was that an engineer with simple tools should be able to conduct maintenance on any of Lockheed’s products.

Ultimately, his message focused on the danger of overcomplicating something. As impressive as added bells and whistles can be on a product, that product can end up bogged down in tech. This makes it less usable and accessible.

How does this apply to website speeds?

Let’s assume that you have a WordPress website. There are hundreds of plugins that you could install into the basic WordPress CMS. However, each of those plugins adds code to your website that could slow it down.

You could install dozens of plugins, thinking you might need them in the future. But in doing that, you’re overcomplicating the website and its code. Instead, it’s best to choose only the plugins that prove essential for running your site. This way you simplify and ensure optimal performance.

The KISS principle applies to other areas of design, too. For example, why overload a page with images when one would do the job just as effectively?

Apply this principle to every aspect of your website. If you’re not keeping it as simple as possible, you’re likely creating complexity that will slow your website down.

Tip #5 – Choose the Right Hosting Option

When you first created your website, you likely didn’t put too much thought into hosting options. As long as your provider kept the site running, you didn’t need too much more from them. After all, you only had a small site with very few visitors.

However, as your business scales, that website gets placed under increased demand. If your hosting isn’t up to the task, your users will see massive amounts of a slowdown.

That’s why it’s so important to check your hosting regularly.

Typically, you have three options when it comes to hosting:

  1. Shared – This is the cheapest option. However, it also means that you’re sharing resources with all of the other sites hosted on the same server. A traffic spike for one of those sites could lead to a slowdown in yours.
  2. VPS – This is still a form of shared hosting. But with VPS, you get a portion of a server’s resources allocated directly to your website. This means that no other site on the server can access those resources. However, there are limitations to the number of resources that a provider can reserve for your website.
  3. Dedicated – This means you have your own server, dedicated solely to your website. You’ll get the fastest speed possible out of a dedicated server. However, you’ll also absorb higher costs and be responsible for maintenance.

The right choice for you depends both on your needs and your budget. The best idea is to keep an eye on your site loading speeds. If you see that they’re consistently slower than they should be, it may be time to move up a level in hosting.

Tip #6 – Use Caching to Your Advantage

Right now, your website may have to connect to your database every time it needs to serve a piece of static content. This means that it has to keep making requests, which slow the website down. Those requests also place higher burdens on your server, which can lead to slower load times as well.

A caching service can help here.

With a caching service, you create a cache of all of the static content that your website has. The site can then draw from this cache instead of making a request to your servers. WordPress has several plugins that allow you to do this. Furthermore, the Cloudflare service we mentioned earlier also uses caching to improve site speeds.

Tip #7 – Keep Your Databases Clean

When we talk about clean databases, we often focus on CRMs. Keeping your customer data clean improves your marketing campaigns.

However, your website also runs on a database. And failure to keep that database clean can slow the site down.

Let’s say you’ve had a WordPress website for five years. During that time, you’ve installed and replaced several plugins. Some of the assets, such as images, that you used five years ago aren’t getting used anymore. You’ve also made several updates during this time.

The problem comes if you’ve allowed all of those outdated assets and plugins to sit in the database that lies behind your website. Even something as simple as an old line of JavaScript can cause a slowdown.

Revisit your database regularly and clear out the clutter. A lighter database delivers content faster. Plus, you’ll find you spend less time and money on creating backups for your website.

It’s Time to Speed Up

The simple fact is that slow websites lose customers. Every extra second added to your load times results in potential customers bouncing away.

That’s why it’s so important to optimize your website performance.

With these tips, you can speed things up, giving you the chance to convert more people. But perhaps you want a more dedicated service? If that’s the case, Automation Agency can help. Our development team can help you to optimize and leverage platforms that improve your site’s speed.

This lowers bounce rates and ensures your users get to where they need to go.

To gain access to our team, you need to become a member of our Concierge Service. Find out more about what we have to offer and how to sign up. And if you’re still not sure, check out our demo to see Automation Agency in action.

About the author 

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.

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