The Need For Speed: 4 Website Performance Tips

[This article was written by Michael Zhou.]

Have you heard of user experience? It is trending and you should definitely know what it is. Providing a powerful user experience is vital to the growth and success of your business, especially if you are solely an online business.

If a website serves up a poor user experience, you can be sure the user will abandon that website and visit a competitor site, never to return. This is a pretty clear call to action when it comes to making users happy.

How do you provide an exceptional customer experience? There are several key factors, but one is in many ways more important than the others. Well, at least initially. Site speed and page load time is the first impression your website makes.

Users Want Websites To Load Lightning Fast

If your site loads slowly, you will lose a user before they even see your content. In fact, around 47 percent of users want a website to load in less than two seconds, according to Neil Patel.

“Unfortunately, website visitors tend to care more about speed than all the bells and whistles we want to add to our websites,” Patel explained. “Additionally, page loading time is becoming a more important factor when it comes to search engine rankings.”

To help you maximize site speed performance and provide a powerful user experience, here are four website speed tips.

  1. Ensure Your Hosting Service Is Performing

Your hosting service can impact your site speed and page load time. This may not seem like a factor you can control, but it most certainly is, and should be. New websites normally opt for affordable shared server hosting plans to keep costs low. This is not a problem, until site speed and performance issues pop up.

If your shared hosting service begins to serve up a poor user experience, it may be time for an upgrade. The reason is that you are sharing a server with potentially hundreds of websites on a single server. This is what causes speed issues, especially if you’re sharing server space with a highly trafficked website.

First, check your site speed using Pingdom or Google Analytics and identify where you’re losing speed and identify the why. Once you decide it may be a server issue, switch up the type of hosting service you have to a virtual private server (VPS), dedicated web hosting, or cloud hosting.

  1. Optimize Visual Content For Speed

Consumers want more visual content, and if you are meeting consumer demand, you may be slowing down your website inadvertently. The large and clunky files that you’re uploading to your site pages via images and videos can really grind a site and/or page to a halt.

To satisfy user demands for more visual content, but also keep your site lightning fast, you’ll need to employ a few visual content optimization hacks. For example, instead of uploading a video file to your site, upload in on YouTube and then embed the video using the YouTube code.

When it comes to images, you want to optimize and compress them. There are loads of WordPress plugins that can help you do this. For instance, you can use Smush, a plugin that compresses images to keep pages loading quickly, thus providing a powerful user experience.

  1. Step Up Your Cache Game

Your website’s cache is important for keeping site speed a number one priority. The cache can also improve user experience greatly, since returning visitors will get access to the site in less than a second since they are in the cache. This is especially important for ecommerce websites and member sites.

The cache essentially uploads and stores parts of your site onto a previous visitor’s computer drive. It is accessed after they send a request (search) to access your website again. Since the information is already on their computer, it connects super fast.

  1. Get Your CSS and JavaScript In Order

CSS and JavaScript files can have a significant impact on your website’s performance, especially when it comes to speed. The files that get added to your site via WordPress add-ons, like plugins, can build out and make your CSS and JavaScript clunky.

If you want to ensure fast loading pages, investigate your CSS and JavaScript files and see how you can minimize them and potentially put all files into one file. You can also use WordPress plugins like Autoptimize to minify your CSS files.

Are You Feeling The Need For Speed?

A low site speed and page load time provides a quality user experience to potential customers, and is a ranking signal for Google. There are a number of ways to optimize a WordPress website for speed and other performance factors. The above speed tips serve as your quick guide to get started. What site speed or performance hack is your favorite? We want to hear about it!

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