What is website optimisation and why is it important?
Website optimisation is the process of speeding up your website to make it load faster to give your visitors a more responsive experience.
This is particularly important in today’s world with people being increasingly busy and often having shorter attention spans and search engines increasingly finding ways to give higher rankings to faster websites.
We delve into why it’s worth taking the time to optimise your site and practical steps you can take to make your site super fast.
Site speed refers to how quickly your website loads in either a browser (Firefox, Google Chrome), or by a search engine spider (Google Search) when it crawls your website to read and index the content.
A slow website can create a bad user experience, resulting in poor search engine rankings and therefore lower overall traffic. Additionally, studies show the speed of your pages can significantly affect your “Bounce Rate”. Bounce Rate refers to the percentage of visitors that abandon a webpage before doing anything, such as clicking a link or filling out a form.
Increasingly search engine bots, which are the digital spiders that crawl your website automatically to process what will show in the search results, don’t only prioritise by the actual content, but also by user experience factors such as the way the content is laid out, the location of the servers the website is hosted on and the loading speed of the website, including the size of images, text and the speed of the underlying web server.
Testing Your Websites Speed
First up, let’s test your website’s speed, fortunately there are a bunch of tools you can use to measure both your site’s speed and performance.
Simply enter your web address and they will request your website as if they were a regular visitor. These tools not only give you a speed rating but also highlight some of the issues causing your site to load slowly. By identifying some of these issues we can now work on speeding up your site.
Speeding up Your Website
These tips are intended for use with WordPress sites, however many of the things mentioned are good practices for any type of website.
One of the most significant factors in your website’s speed is hosting. There are many options when it comes to hosting, but there are some simple tips that can drastically improve your websites performance for example, choosing a host that is geographically close to you, for example, don’t host your website in America if your customers are in Australia. And don’t use a shared hosting solution, as your website’s performance can be impacted by others. Dedicated or managed hosting solutions are the best for ensuring you have reliable performance, all the time.
If you are looking for a fast and reliable Australian web hosting provider Snapfrozen can help! View our Business Plans Here.
- Update WordPress, themes and plugins
WordPress, themes and plugins are constantly updating to increase security and performance, by having the latest updates installed you can ensure your site is secure and performing to its full potential. It’s also important to note that outdated plugins and themes can cause all sorts of problems such as things not displaying correctly or conflicts with other plugins, which all affect your site’s speed.
- Optimise images for speed
Images are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to performance, while it’s simple to upload and add images to your site, they are often too large. This unfortunately results in slow loading pages, the smaller the image the faster they will load. This is where compression comes in, you can reduce the size of your images by using compression tools such as https://www.iloveimg.com/ or resize and crop images with GIMP or Photoshop.
You can also use a plugin which will automatically reduce the images on your website, such as Smush or Optimole.
Everytime someone clicks your website it has to be generated and loaded on the server then sent to your web browser. By using a plugin like WP-Super Cache, it will store sections of your site and serve them when needed instead of having to generate the site from scratch every time someone visits. We also like the commercial plugin WP-Rocket which optimises both mobile and desktop. Be aware that many tools only optimise for the desktop browsers.
- Using a CDN
By using a CDN such as Cloudflare or Google Cloud CDN, it will store your website’s static files (like images) at different locations around the world and deliver them to users at the closest location.
If you are an existing customer with Snapfrozen, we are CloudFlare enterprise partners so CloudFlare comes fully integrated into your cPanel. If you need assistance with setting things up, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
- Don’t directly upload video and audio to your site
Try to refrain from uploading videos and audio directly onto your website’s server. Not only will it take up massive amounts of storage space but it will drastically affect your bandwidth and slow down your site. Uploading your videos and audio to sites like Youtube, Vimeo and Soundcloud will enable you to embed them into your site and only load them when a user decides to watch or listen.
- Clean up your site
Lastly, it’s a good idea to go through your website and remove any unneeded clutter such as old pages, images or plugins. Imagine your website as your computer, the more things you have on your desktop and the more applications you have installed the slower it’s going to run so over time this accumulates and gets worse. The lighter and cleaner your site is, the faster it will load.
Don’t forget we are here to help! If you have a site with us, our experienced developers are fully trained with WordPress, PHP, and Linux with extensive knowledge on how to get your site performing as fast as possible.