How To Make Your Website Faster

by Oct 20, 2017SEO, Web Design & Development

Why You Need A Fast Website

This blog post will show you how to make your website faster. You don’t need much technical experience at all to implement these three quick and easy speed optimisation strategies. But firstly, you might be thinking, “Why do I need a fast website?” Two reasons. User experience and search engine optimisation.

User Experience

People these days have low attention spans and expect things to happen instantly. As a business owner, you want to make sure your website is meeting these expectations.
Here are some fast stats from Kissmetrics.com:

47% of people expect your site to load in less than 2 seconds. 40% will abandon it entirely if it takes longer than 3 seconds.

So essentially, if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load you are losing 40% of potential customers from your website! Here is a more optimistic way of looking at it: If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, then speeding it up could result in a 40% increase in customers from your website!

Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about tweaking your website to make it rank higher in search engines like Google and Bing. These search engines want to show their users websites that are not only relevant to their search but also preference sites that have a desirable user experience. As we mentioned earlier, if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 40% of users will abandon it and go to another site. This tells search engines that people don’t like your site and they will penalise you by dropping you in the rankings, possibly even to the dreaded 2nd page of search results!

How To Find Out How Fast Your Website Is

Before you implement any of these speed optimisation strategies, you need to know how fast your site currently is to determine whether the techniques are effective or not. Don’t know how fast your website is? Put down the stopwatch, here are some awesome free tools to determine your site’s load speed:

Google PageSpeed Insights

The first tool I’d recommend using is Google PageSpeed Insights. It will tell you how well your site’s speed is performing and how to fix any issues as well. Plus, Google is the world’s largest search engine so using a tool created by Google is probably a good place to start.
This free tool is super easy to use. All you have to do is enter the URL of your website and then it will analyse your site’s speed for both desktop and mobile devices. Once this is done, it will give you a score out of 100. There are three types of scores you can get: Green – 85-100 – Good Yellow – 65-84 – Needs Work Red – 0-64 – Poor If your website isn’t in the green for both desktop and mobile devices then your site is too slow! If it isn’t 100/100 for both, there is still room for improvement. The best thing about this tool is it will tell you what exactly is slowing down your website and how to fix it.

Pingdom Website Speed Test

Another great tool I like to use is the Pingdom Website Speed Test. Just enter your site’s URL, select a location to test from and click ‘START TEST’.
There are currently three available locations to test from:

  1. Melbourne, Australia
  2. San Jose, California, USA
  3. Stockholm, Sweden

For the most accurate result choose the location closest to your website’s audience. Since my audience is primarily Australian, I usually choose to test from Melbourne. However, for my clients in the US, I would use the San Jose option.

GTmetrix

If you aren’t a fan of the first two tools, check out GTmetrix. Similarly to Google Page Speed Insights and the Pingdom Website Speed Test, all you have to do is enter the URL of your website and let it do its magic. After a few moments, it will give you a number of different scores including a PageSpeed Score as well as the total page size of your site’s homepage and the time it took to fully load the website.
Additionally, it will break down in much more detail where your site is performing well in terms of speed, and where it needs improving. This tool is great for those with a bit of technical experience in web design and development. If you’re a beginner I’d recommend the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.

3 Easy Ways To Make Your Website Faster

1. Compress Images

With websites I’ve built in the past, I’ve noticed that large image file sizes are one of the things that seem to slow down sites the most. The larger the file size, the longer it takes to load. But the problem is…if you reduce the file size, the image quality also reduces as a result. There are a few free online tools however that will reduce your image’s file size without reducing the image quality.

Tiny PNG

I’ve tried loads of image optimisation tools but my personal favourite is definitely TinyPNGThis free online tool will significantly reduce the file size of your PNG or JPG images and you won’t be able to tell the difference! In this image example, I uploaded an image into the tool which was originally 753.8 KB. After a few seconds, the file was ready to download and only 174.1 KB. That’s a reduction of 77% and will result in some serious speed gains!

2. Remove Unnecessary Plugins

If your website is built with WordPress, the world’s leading content management system, then this strategy will work for you. If you aren’t using WordPress then you should be! (That’s a tip in itself!) When building a website with WordPress, it can be tempting to add loads of cool plugins to your site. After all, there are thousands of free plugins to choose from and some do awesome things to your site. But the more plugins you have, the slower your site will be. Therefore, you need to limit the use of plugins down to only the essential ones. Chances are you may even have two plugins installed that carry out the same task! Deleting one of them will speed up your site.

How To Delete A WordPress Plugin

Deleting a WordPress plugin is super quick and easy to do. Just follow these 2 steps:
Step 1
Head over to your WordPress dashboard and click on “Plugins” and then “Installed Plugins”. This will bring up a list of all of the plugins you have installed on your website. Scroll to the plugin you want to delete and then click “deactivate”.
Step 2
Once you have deactivated the plugin, you can then delete it by clicking on the red “delete” option. That’s it!

3. Upgrade To A Better Web Host

Another thing that may be slowing your website down is your web host. Faster hosting does often become more expensive but can be worth it if it means a faster site and more conversions/sales!

HostGator

At Mouse Potato Media we can set up your web hosting for you. We primarily use HostGator to host our clients’ websites which is one of the fastest and most reliable hosting companies in terms of uptime (99.9%). It is also a very affordable web hosting option. If you want to use HostGator for your web hosting make sure to use the coupon code ‘MOUSEPOTATO’ at checkout for up to 60% off and $4.99 on select domain names! For more options on web hosting, check out this helpful article by Start Blogging Online about the Fastest Hosting Companies (2017). As you can see, HostGator is listed as the best web hosting company of 2017.

Need Help Speeding Your Website Up?

You may have no interest in web design and just want someone to take the hard work off your hands. Leave it to a Mouse Potato! We’ll optimise your site to load faster than the speed of light (maybe not that fast).  But investing in a faster website is a great idea because like we mentioned earlier…faster sites = more conversionsYou’ve probably got customers out there desperate to give you money but if your website is too slow, then they’re going to find someone else to help them. If you need help, get in touch and we’ll make sure that your site is the Usain Bolt of your industry!