It’s tough to make a good digital impression on potential customers when your website isn’t performing up to par with your competitors. If the website’s loading speed is too slow, if it’s difficult to navigate, or if it’s not responsive enough, then there’s a good chance that your visitors will immediately opt to check out other online stores that offer better shopping experiences.
The good news is that your website’s speed and performance can be fixed. These qualities can be improved so that the website can be more visible, more functional, and more likely to convert visitors into paying customers. Check out these six tips on how to optimize your website’s speed and performance.
Test Your Website Performance First
No matter if you’re planning to tinker with your website’s speed and performance yourself or if you intend to hand over this task to a web design services provider, you need to know what needs fixing first. This can be done by carrying out a website performance test that measures loading time. There are many free tools that you can use to carry out this specific test, such as WebPageTest, Pingdom, and Google’s very own PageSpeed Insights. In addition to quantifying your website’s loading speed, these tools can also help you determine why your online store is slowing down and what you can do to improve its loading speed.
After carrying out a test, you’ll have an easier time determining which of the following steps should be carried out so that your website can be up to speed.
Use a Content Delivery Network
Even in the digital age, distance is still a key factor in determining how quickly you can access content, and data traffic can still impact how fast your website will load once a user tries to access it. Using a content delivery network (CDN) gives you the means to work around these issues. A CDN refers to a group of distributed servers that keeps cached content in proximity to users. This service keeps a copy of your website and its contents in a server near the website’s visitors. This way, there’s no need to get the data from centrally located servers and risk having digital traffic jams negatively impact the experience of your website’s visitors and users.
Explore Better Hosting Options
The type of hosting service you use can also have an impact on your website’s performance. Shared hosting is the cheapest option, though it’s not exactly the fastest choice because it involves sharing resources with other websites. On the other end of the speed and budget spectrum is using a dedicated server to host your website. If you want a little bit of both, though, you can always go with a virtual private server (VPS). This option makes use of an isolated virtual server set in a shared physical server. Using a VPS allows you to configure the specifics of your virtual server without affecting the other users of the shared physical server.
Optimize the Images on Your Site
Large, high-definition images can certainly impress website users, but these elements can also hold back your website’s loading speed. It’s important to maintain a perfect balance between your online store’s visual elements and its performance. You can do this by optimizing images. This can mean reducing the size and resolution of the images on your website or compressing the images so that they can load without lagging. The process of optimizing images is time-consuming, but it can do wonders for the loading speed of your website and the experience of its users.
Do Away with Unnecessary Plugins
Plugins give your website the capability to support features from third-party providers, which is great if you want to offer your customers and website users a greater degree of functionality. However, having too many plugins can also take its toll on your website speed. If this is the case, then it’s high time for a plugin spring cleaning. Evaluate how visitors use the plugins on your website, then let go of the ones that don’t get a lot of use or offer redundant services.
Improving your website loading speed requires more than dropping unnecessary elements or choosing better hosting options. It’s also important to set particular goals for your website speed. For instance, many users expect a site to load in 3 seconds or under. If your website fails to keep up with this standard, then you might need to implement more changes to see bigger improvements. But if it’s well below the 3-second mark, then you might not need to make compromises in terms of image size, for example.
If you require further assistance in improving your website speed and performance, SearchWorks offers web design services that can meet your needs. Get in touch with us today so we can find a solution that will enable your business to attain and maintain its competitive edge.