When a customer
visits your website, you have three seconds to engage them before they leave
your website and you risk losing them forever. Today’s consumers expect brands
and businesses to keep up with their fast-paced lifestyle. Loading speed is no
longer a luxury but a necessity as consumer expectations have shifted the way
we all interact and purchase online.
Here are a few
simple tips to give your site a turbo boost:
1. Choose a good host
While there are a lot of cheap offers out there, hosting is one of those things where you generally get what you pay for. Find a host that understands the needs of your business, optimises for the software you use and provides service at the application level. A good host should also be a partner in building your business online, not just the bare minimum of keeping the lights on.
2. Enable caching
When a request for a
page on your site comes in, the page is sent to the server to be “compiled,” or
generated based on the code that exists on that page. This doesn’t cause much
strain for the server, as it’s pretty easy to serve just one page. Now imagine
if that server has to build multiple pages per second, things will get a lot
Caching serves to
help out with the heavy lifting the server does by storing a copied “snapshot”
of each page request that comes into the server. When a page request comes to
the server, it first asks whether the page is in cache. If not, it’s sent to
the server to be built and then served, and on its way back it also stores a
copy of that page within the caching layer. This way, the next time a request
for that page comes in, it can be served from the caching layer, instead of
having to be built like new from the server itself. There are a number of
plugins available for WordPress that can help with this form of caching like WP
Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.
3. Optimise your images and other media
Images are great for
engaging your site visitors. But they can also slow down your site quite
considerably if they aren’t optimised.
helps reduce file size without a major loss of quality, meaning that when it’s
done right the image won’t look any different to the original file.
A WordPress plugin
that does this automatically is WP Smush.it. It can both reduce file size for
existing media and anything new that is uploaded to your site.
4. Keep core technology up to date
The basic technology
and software installed on your server is another main driver of load speed. Do
you know if yours is running the latest version of PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor?
If not, it’s worth finding out.
A quality host will
take care of this for you and let you know when they are making updates to
their architecture. That doesn’t mean you can’t stay up to date on your own but
to ensure your site stays secure you must stay diligent with your updating.
Speed isn’t everything
Speed is an important factor in running a website and, therefore, your business. It is a key determinant for bounce rate, conversions, customer satisfaction and search rankings. 53 per cent of users will abandon a mobile site if it takes three seconds or more to load.
At the same time, it
is also pivotal to remember that speed isn’t everything. You should never
remove important or necessary site elements just to save a few milliseconds.
Mark Randall, Australia/New Zealand Country
Manager, WP Engine