After Jonathan commented on “When It Comes to Websites, We Have Major Attention Issues” on LinkedIn, I invited him to make recommendations on speeding up our websites. EF
Guest post by Jonathan Nesmith
One second. Does it really matter when it comes to page loading speeds? What if I told you your conversions could increase with just a little effort? And, it barely takes any technical knowledge!
Portent’s recent study on this topic (reported by Ian Laurie) confirms the financial benefits of site speed. After recently creating my own website, I discovered a few ways to pull those load times down. And, I want to share them with you.
To start, you need to see how fast your website is at this very moment. It can be tricky to determine what the right number should be, but here’s a tool I used:
This site enables you to compare website loading speeds on a split screen. You can compare two different sites or use the “Race” option to compare several websites collectively.
Why not compare your results with those of your major competitors? I did this while building my website and it works like a charm! Make sure you go into the settings on the top menu bar and select “Serial.” I also suggest repeating the test several times to get your average.
So, what do you do if your website’s loading speed is a little behind what it should be? Cut the size of your pages!
Here are easy tips based on what I’ve learned along my web-design journey.
3 Tips to Improve Your Website’s Loading Speed
1. Compress Your Images
The goal when downsizing images should be keeping quality exactly the same. (Otherwise known as lossless compression). My favorite tool that gets super close to doing that is JPEG Mini.
I recommend running every image through a compressor like JPEG Mini before you use it on your website. Every kilobyte you save in size really counts.
2. Less Blog Posts Per Page
If you have 20 blog posts on a summary page, split it into two pages with 10 posts on each. Better yet, split it into 4 pages with 5 posts on each!
All website content has to load and it takes time. However, splitting it up like that means there’s much less loading time per page. I did this myself and was thoroughly impressed with the results.
3. Simplicity is King
A minimal website truly performs well. For example, while working on my own site, I decided to avoid using too many images, keep CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) changes to a minimum, and not have blog previews on every single page. The less formatting there is, the quicker a site will load.
Also, avoid Flash if you can! Aside from the fact that not everyone can view it, Flash fattens pages quicker than HTML can. Use it only if you must.
If your business model centers around traffic to your website, every millisecond really counts, so trim the excess! A little bit of change can lead to more conversions.
Do you have any other suggestions to boost page speeds? Feel free to share them!
Editor’s note: Since this post was first published, the Which Loads Faster website is no longer available. There are some free WordPress plug-ins that compress images as you upload them.
Jonathan Nesmith is a recent accounting graduate focused on providing online bookkeeping services for small businesses. For tips on saving time and money, follow @Bookinessence on Twitter.
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