What to Do to Improve Website Speed

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If you want to improve website speed, there are a couple of steps to be taken. First, you need to measure your website speed – otherwise how do you know it’s slow?

Measure Load Times

In order to measure load times, you need a good tool. The choice here is quite rich. Pingdom Page Load Time tool and Google Analytics Site Speed reports give a good idea of your site’s general performance. WebPageTest is a more advanced tool because it allows to test your site in different browsers and spot slow areas on your site.

These tests could take some time for a large site but since they give you detailed data about which parts are slow, just be patient. Good tools report not only the average site speed but elements, such as first byte, user time, time to fully load, percentage of images, htmls, JavaScript files, etc., which is useful later when you start fixing the problematic areas.

Move to a Faster Server

One of the obvious reasons a site is slow is that the server you are hosting it on is slow. The reasons here could be numerous – from a web hosting provider that lacks the capacity to offer fast servers, to the type of your hosting account.

The easier solution here is to upgrade your account. For instance, if you have a large site with many pages and frequent database reads/writes and you are still using a shared account, then no provider to Earth can offer the speed you need. In this case, if you are happy with the provider per se, your solution is to upgrade from a shared account to VPS (Virtual Private Server) or even to a dedicated server. The costs for VPS or a dedicated server a month are much higher than what you are paying for your shared account but if your site is making you money (or at least has the potential to), the problem with website speed is literally killing your business.

On the other hand, if your web hosting provider is not good even if you upgrade your account, this won’t solve your problem. The only thing you can do is migrate your sites to a good web hosting provider. Here is a list of some of the best web hosting providers for you to choose from.

Optimize Your Site’s Code and Images

Your server might be fast but if your site itself is slow, you will still experience speed issues. If your code and images are not optimized for fast loading, you won’t see speed improvements till you fix them. This task could take a very, very long time, especially if your code and images are bloated but you’ve got to do it.

For images, you can use compression and/or smaller sizes. This will speed loading big time. For HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and other Web languages there are tons of tricks (and tools) how to optimize your code.

Website speed is not a factor with huge importance for search engine rankings, though it does count. The bigger problem with slow sites is that they are not user–friendly, which in turn kills conversions. If you don’t want to lose money because of the speed issues of your site, take the time to fix them – it will pay in the long run.

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