Improving your website speed directly results in a better website user experience, improved SEO, and increased conversion rate. So good on you for taking the first step to find out what you can do to increase your website's performance.
Website speed is a highly important ranking factor for SEO. It’s one of the factors Google’s algorithm uses to rank pages, so having a slow website could cost you a top spot in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Your website speed also affects the time Google has allocated to crawl your site, so a slow website will result in less pages being crawled on your website and will therefore negatively affect your website's ranking.
User experience is also affected by website speed, with slow websites and pages causing high bounce rates, as well as negatively affecting your conversion rate. Because website visitors are used to websites loading quickly, if your page or items on the page take too long to load, visitors will leave and head straight to one of your competitors, quickly resulting in a loss of business for you.
If you're dealing with a website performance issue, there's no need to sweat it because it can easily be resolved. I've listed the top 5 tactics to improve your website speed that we’ve personally used with our clients to make their websites perform more than ten times faster.
1. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A Content Delivery Network is a global network of data centres that caches content close to users so the content can be delivered faster and more reliably. Instead of delivering content from your server to the user, your webpage content will instead be cached at a data centre that's geographically closer to them, reducing travel time and resulting in a faster website experience.
Look for a content delivery network with a large number of data centres in different cities and countries. A good option is Cloudflare’s CDN, which spans over 200 cities across 90 countries. This reduces latency as assets are delivered as close to your website visitors as possible.
2. Load Balancing
Load balancing directs traffic away from slow and unhealthy servers, to the most available and responsive servers. Your website is constantly serving thousands of requests from users to ensure they’re receiving the correct content in a timely manner. Using load balancing ensures your website has multiple servers to choose from, and that it’s utilizing the fastest and most responsive servers. This means that none of your servers are overworked, and that your website is performing at a better speed and availability.
3. Smart Routing
Smart routing routes your website visitors through the least congested and most reliable paths through a network, resulting in faster page loading times and increased reliability. It does this in real time when a request is served, which ensures your website is performing at optimal speed.
4. Image Optimization
Large images will slow down your website and webpages, however reducing image file sizes can create a bad user experience if the images become low quality. Thankfully tools exist to optimize images for your website that resize your images automatically, detect the visitor’s screen size and connection and ensure that your website’s images are delivered optimally for your browser window, as well as stripping the metadata and removing redundant bytes from images. Contact us to find out about our image optimization tool that does this and more.
5. Prioritizing HTTP/2
Enhanced HTTP/2 prioritization optimizes the order resources are loaded on a page, no matter what browser your visitors are using. In the past, browsers have decided how and when content is loaded, however today we have tools that allow us to override the way a visitor’s browser loads by default with an improved loading schedule. This results in a much faster website experience.
We’ve used these exact 5 techniques to improve our clients websites, making them more than ten times faster than they were before. Reach out to us at [email protected] to find out how we can apply these same techniques with your website to make it perform faster than ever, or check out our Managed Website Performance & Reliability page.