Website performance is an essential element of user experience. Over 25% of customers leave websites that take too long to load, and 46% do not revisit. They are also less likely to purchase. Furthermore, Google now considers website user experience as a critical factor for ranking websites.
Therefore, poor website performance results in high bounce rates, low traffic, and overall low conversion rates. So, new website owners must treat this as a priority.
However, website performance stems from several issues. And, the best way to find which ones are an issue is through a site audit. A site audit shows you how your website is currently performing and areas that you should improve.
How to Measure Your Website’s PerformanceThere are several ways to do a website audit, meant to check overall website performance. Here, website audit tools come in handy, like Page speed insights by Google.
The results show you how your website performs in terms of speed, load times, etc. It thus guides you on key areas you should work on.
Other tools include Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, among others.
Below are some easy steps you can take to ensure that your website is at its most optimal performance based on your audit results.
Eight Easy Steps to Improve Your Website Performance
1. Check Your Hosting
The nature of your hosting plans and providers influences your website's performance. There are several types of hosting, each with its pros and cons.
Shared hosting: Under shared hosting, your website exists on the same server as other websites. As a result of using the same server, activities by other users may significantly affect your site as well. For instance, if a user does heavy work that overloads the server, the other websites sharing it will slow down or even crash.
Dedicated hosting: With this type, your site has specific RAM, CPU cores, SSD space, etc., assigned to it. That way, only your activities impact your server speed and performance.
Shared hosting is relatively cheaper than dedicated hosting. However, it is not a reliable option and may cost you more when potential leads constantly bounce off your website.
Hosting providers known for better web performance include Bluehost, Kinsta, among others.
Tip: Experts recommend using WordPress -friendly hosting for easy synchronization with the server.
2. Minimise Plugins
Many users often fall into the trap of downloading several plugins to improve their websites. However, the more plugins you have, the slower your site will be. This is because each plugin comes with its unique data and needs resources to process it. So, you should only install the plugins that you need.
A great practice is always to check and delete plugins you no longer need. Also, get rid of those that load too many scripts. You can always run performance tests to check which plugins could be slowing down your site.
Additionally, some people choose to install multipurpose plugins. These are plugins that conduct more than one function, like Jetpack. However, often, several of their features are useless to you. If such is the case, it's still better to get a less popular option with specific functionality.
Pro tip: Choose more popular plugins (with more downloads) and those with the highest ratings and reviews.
3. Optimise Media
Images, videos and graphics are one of the biggest factors when improving website performance. Much as we'd like high-quality media on our sites, adding high data items is not the way. You should reduce your image sizes as much as is necessary to reduce load times.
For example, it is pointless to load a 5MB picture for a small logo at the bottom of your page. Almost nobody will see it, and yet it takes up a lot of bandwidth.
So, try to keep your images small. Do not just adjust the parameter because the page would still need to load the full picture. Instead, completely resize it, preferably in PNG format, so that there isn’t much data loss in the process.
As a rule of thumb, never upload videos right on your website. It takes up a lot of data and kills site performance. Videos can take up about 50MB of space or more, which isn’t ideal, especially on shared servers. It slows down your site and takes longer to load for the watcher.
Rather, you can use a video hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo, etc. By embedding the video right from these platforms, it uses up less space. This helps your page and video load faster.
4. Use Website caching
Whenever users try to access pages, the system sends a bunch of requests to the database. It can be a tedious process for the site, causing it to function much slower. Caching helps to create copies of such requests to keep showing to users instead.
This technique keeps the servers from loading the pages over and over again, making them faster.
Caching functionalities depends on the hosting you are on. Some hosting providers and platforms offer their own caching solutions. Alternatively, you can install a cache plugin.
However, if you have one inbuilt, use it instead of a plugin, which may slow down your site further instead.
5. Minimise Tracking scripts
Many users like to track several things on their websites, from customer behaviour to traffic. As a result, they install several widgets like social sharing buttons, Hotjar, etc. Yet, too many of these could slow down your site immensely since they run many scripts.
So, keep tracking to a minimum and only for essential metrics to improve your website’s performance.
6. Reduce the Fonts
Too many fonts on your website slow it down. Try to keep it to 2 or 3 maximum. Each font you use sends a unique request to your database, which requires processing. So, the less you use, the better your site performance since your system is not overloaded with data processing tasks.
Furthermore, it is now common practice for many new website owners to download and use custom fonts. However, this can affect the site's performance. It is always best to work with pre-loaded system fonts like Helvetica, Georgia, Calibri, etc., unless a custom third-party font is vital.
7. Regularly Update
Regular updates significantly improve website performance. Updates come with improved code, new technologies, etc. These often help the servers operate optimally, thus improving site performance.
An un-updated website will often run slower and have high-security risks. This is because the different themes, plugins, etc., operate on outdated code and systems. So, it is highly recommended to check and update your website and all its tools from time to time.
8. Use Lazy Loading
Lazy loading involves the use of programs to limit the complete loading of non-essential material. When a user opens the page, they only clearly view what is on their immediate screen. Resources like videos and images remain blurred until they are directly on the user's screen view.
Using lazy loading techniques helps improve website performance by reducing the initial load time and resources. The page only loads essential items, thus reducing the data used at a time.
There are several lazy loading plugins available. So, you need to find the most suitable one for your website.
Improving website performance is critical for your business since it greatly affects user experience. So, you must ensure it is optimal at all times. Constantly measure your site's performance, then use the pro tips mentioned above to make the needed adjustments.
If it is too much for you to handle by yourself, note that FunnelBud also offers website design and management services. We can help you create a website that performs well, converts leads and is easy to update. Contact us today.