No one likes to be kept waiting especially Google, and as such if you are trying to cater to clients or customers a top priority needs to be ensuring that you don’t keep them waiting any longer than they absolutely have to. That’s true whether you’re talking about service in person or online. Your site load time also impacts your ranking in Google search results specially since the latest algorithm updates.
Back in the day when the average person had 56k dial up modems it was painfully obvious that certain website elements would slow sites down to a crawl but now that many people are so used to broadband speeds that they take high speed internet for granted. But not all of your visitors will have quick connections so it’s worth taking the time to make sure that your site is optimized to load as quickly as possible.
Lets look at three ways you can speed up your website, by optimizing images, cutting down on multimedia and turning off unnecessary plugins.
Keep Image Sizes Small
Adding images to your page is a good way to make it look more interesting and help it convey ideas without using too many words but it’s worth remembering that images also add to the size of the page. Text is always going to be smaller than an image but not all images are equally large. By making a few changes to an image you can shrink it significantly without the quality degradation.
The prime example of this are images from a camera. The latest cameras take large and very detailed photos, even the camera in your cellphone is probably taking photos that are over a megabyte. That size might be great if you want to be able to blow it up and print it out but if you upload a photo that large onto your site it will probably slow down significantly.
To change the size of your photo files you can use photo editing software like Photoshop or you can use one of the many free programs online designed for this purpose. Here are three you might want to test out to see which works best for you. Taking a few minutes to resize your images before uploading them will dramatically speed up your website so don’t ignore this step.
Avoid Flashy But Unnecessary Elements
Many people looking to build their first site have lofty ideas about what they would like to see. A basic, utilitarian website can feel like it isn’t enough, while things like video, animation and music feel exciting and fancy. The problem is that anything flashier than basic coding and images can dramatically increase the size of web pages, making them load much slower.
If possible you should avoid using anything too fancy and data intensive, and if you do use something special make sure it is optimized properly. Video and sound files are a bit like images in that they can be very large or very small and sometimes the quality difference isn’t all that noticeable.
Remove Or Turn Off Unused Plugins
Plugins are powerful tools for adding new features and functionality to your website but for every advantage there is going to be some sort of trade off. In this case you need to understand that every plugin you add is likely to add more loading time since users will need to load the plugin in addition to the content on the page.
This issue is one of the easiest to address because even if you never touched the plugin section of your site’s control panel you still have plugins downloaded and running. This is because certain plugins come standard and need to be manually turned off.
Take the time to look at the plugins running on your site. Turn off the plugins you think you don’t need and consider deleting the plugins you know you definitely don’t need. Be careful here, if you aren’t careful you may accidentally delete a plugin that’s essential to your site. This is why you should simply turn off plugins first so you can make sure that your site can work properly without the plugin in question.
Creating The Best User Experience
There are many other things you can do to speed up your website that are more technical but for the average person these three steps will speed up your page or at least make sure that you don’t unthinkingly slow down your site. By simply thinking about the sort of data that has to be transferred every time a page loads you can make decisions about the cost/benefit ratio of everything you add to your site.
Taking the time to make sure that the elements of your page are as compact as possible can take some time and thought but it’s worth it when you remember why you’re doing it. It’s all about creating the best experience for the people who come to your site. If people are stuck watching a page load for minutes then they are going to get upset or even leave, and neither of those is good for you.
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