A colleague of mine often refers to the “Sesame Street Generation”. The main identifying factor of this group is a short attention span. We’re not as bad as millennials who don’t necessarily remember life before cell phones and high speed Internet, but we are accustomed to absorbing information in 30-second clips. So why should marketers care about website speed? Simple. Speed Matters.
Assuming that you can bring in 7% more conversions for every second you can shave off your website’s load time, you should be asking yourself two questions.
- How fast does my website load?
- What am I doing to make it faster?
At the risk of getting a bit technical (anyone who knows me will know that it doesn’t come easy!) I’d like to share a few key tips that can speed up your website.
5 Simple Ways to Speed Up Your Website
- Resize All Images
Large images slow down page load times and force users to wait. To avoid this issue, always resize your images before uploading them to your CMS – Content Management System. Some popular image editing software includes:
- Reduce HTTP Requests
Everyone who visits your website has to download all the components of the page on which they land – CSS stylesheets, images, scripts, etc. Each download represents an HTTP request to your web server. The more requests needed to render the page, the longer it takes for the page to appear. So before uploading an image, ask yourself first if plain text can do the job just as well.
Always upload images to your own server. Including images from an external server will unnecessarily slow down your loading times.
Like images, scripts are another component users have to download. The more scripts you have, the slower your website.
Plugins are great and I’m not advocating for getting rid of them all together. Just use them sparingly and mindfully.
- Monitor for Malware
Malware can be difficult to detect. Most of us don’t have time (or know-how) to go digging through our website’s code to scan for suspicious lines. Slow loading times may, however, be an indicator of an unwelcome guest. Faster load times aren’t the only reason you should be monitoring for malware but it can’t definitely have a negative impact on site speed.
Run your website through tools like Sucuri to periodically scan your files for malicious code. Sucuri even offers a plugin for Wordpress that can scan your site automatically – just don’t forget what we said about plugins and site speed!
- Cache Your Site
It’s true, this post has warned you against too many plugins more than once. In this instance, however, you need one. While you should keep your plugins to a minimum, website caching will make for much happier website visitors. Consider plugins such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.
These plugins store a version of your site’s html so data can be quickly delivered to the users browser. This means, when a new user comes, they’ll see your website – not a white screen waiting to load.
*Special thanks to The Theme Foundry for all their helpful tips.