How to speed your website up and improve conversion rate

September 9, 2017

Speed makes a big difference for you and your visitors every web user is only willing to wait oh so long before moving on to the next website. Here are some of the best ideas to help you speed your website up and keep your visitors returning.

1. Use a great CMS

What is a CMS?

web content management system (WCMS) is a software system that provides website a easy out the box solution for building website’s with little to no coding experience.

The best CMS systems are WordPress and Drupal.


2. Add Compression

Pages that are too large can slow your website down. Adding compression such as Gzip will reduce the download time of your website thus speeding it up.


3.  Reduce the amount of external scripts

Visitors have to wait on your website to load if you’re using external links they will have to wait on those as well. Try removing some external links to help improve the speed.


4. Enable browser caching

Browser caching stops your returning visitors from having to re-download the websites scripts and resources all over again. You can enable browser caching via the htaccess using FTP or you can get your developer to install it for you.

Here is a great code you can paste into your htaccess file to do this.

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 day"
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/javascript "access 1 week"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access 2 minutes"

5.  Disable Image Hotlinking

This is when someone can use your site files and place it on their website. This can cause delays in your server and your bandwidth to be used up very quickly. You can do this from your Cpanel or get your host to do this for you.


6. Minify Scripts

There are plenty of plugins that will help you minify your website scripts this will help combining scripts into one thus making your page load up faster. W3 Total Cache is one of the best and well known plugins that come with this option and a multitude of other options to help speed your site up.

7. Optimize Images

Optimizing and compressing your images can help reduce the download time for your website. You can do this manually by re-sizing your images or using a lossy compression tool to reduce the image file size.


8. Reduce the amount of plugins / extensions

Using too many plugins can take up too much memory and will place a large load on your server. Disable plugins you’re no longer using or consider useless this will speed your site up instantly.


9. Limit the amount of redirects

Too many re-directs can send a ton of requests to your visitors browser and decrease the load speed of the web page.


10.  Fix any broken links

This doesn’t actually slow your website down, but it can slow down the user experience. No one likes to visit a website that has links to broken pages and interrupts the browsing experience.


11. Load Ad Networks Code Asynchronously As well as Analytics

There are various methods to use when adding analytics or ad code to your website. The most recommended method is Asynchronously. This method allows you to load up all of your content without having to wait for an iframe or any other type of ad script from loading before the content is shown. Google has this option available on majority of their tools such as Adsense and Google Analytics.


12. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

What is a CDN?

A content delivery network (CDN) is a distributed network of proxy servers. The goal is to distribute service to visitors to provide high availability and high performance.

Some are free such as Cloudflare and Incapsula which offer premium services as well.


13. Upgrade Your Hosting

Sometimes your host simply isn’t doing the job. You may be using a lower level hosting service. If you have a lot of traffic, upgrading your server can help resolve slow speeds or simply switching host’s.

3 of the fastest hosting according to Hosting Facts:

A2 Hosting: Best Load Time

HostGator Cloud: Best Host Overall 

InMotion: Best Business Hosting

I can personally vouch for A2 Hosting. They host one of my biggest website’s and their customer service has been amazing.


14. Update your WordPress Theme

Some themes are not well taken care of and could not of been updated for well over 2 years+. These WordPress Themes will slow your site down and possibly cause issue’s with your site load speed. Ditch the bad theme and get one that’s updated frequently this will help you avoid bad themes.


15.  Enable Gzip Compression

Gzip is a file format software which is used for file compression and decompression. This can be enabled by your host to help compress your files on your server to reduce the size of the files your users have to download.


16.  Optimize Your Database

Using PHP as the primary coding language on your website usually means you will require Mysql which is where your database information is stored. Deleting unnecessary tables and data that’s stored in your database can help speed your website up and require less memory from your server.

17. Combine Background Images into Sprites

Taking your images and placing them inside of a sprite will help reduce the amount of image files your users have to download. Using css you can specify the position of your image and use it as the background to your button, logo etc..

18.  Test Your Website Speed

Use a site like Pingdom to test the speed of your site and get tips on how to improve it. There are other great speed test tools such as GTMetrix and Google Pagespeed.


19. Install Google PageSpeed on Your Server

Google will adjust your code for you and make necessary changes to speed your site up. Speak to your host provider on how to get this installed on your website.

20. Use a PHP Accelerator

Speed up your PHP processes by installing extensions such as eAcceleratorionCube PHP Accelerator and Turck MMCache.

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