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In today’s age, people are used to near-instant gratification. If a website takes more than a few seconds to load, they’re likely to click away in frustration. 

A few seconds of delay can differentiate between a satisfied and a frustrated customer. You could lose valuable traffic and revenue if your website takes too long to load. But don’t despair – you can take several simple steps to speed things up.

We have put together this list of the five most effective ways to boost your site’s load time. So whether you’re looking to improve your SEO or keep your visitors happy, read on for some helpful tips.

Importance of Website Load Time

You know that they say: time is money. And when it comes to your website, that couldn’t be more true. In today’s world, users expect sites to load quickly and smoothly. If they don’t, they’re likely to move on to another site that will give them the experience they want.

According to a study by Akamai, half of the web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less. And if it takes longer than three seconds, they will likely abandon the site altogether. That’s a pretty significant statistic that you can’t afford to ignore.

Moreover, 64% of shoppers dissatisfied with an online store’s experience and loading time will take their business elsewhere. So you are losing out on potential customers and risking future business from those who may have referred your site to others.

Mobile speed is also something you should pay attention to. Mobile devices are increasingly replacing desktop web browsing and can be even more demanding when it comes to loading times. Users expect the same fast loading speeds they experience on desktop and get frustrated if your site takes too long to load. 

Google also factors mobile speed into its ranking algorithm. That means if your website loads too slowly, you could lose out on potential search engine visibility, leading to fewer visitors and a decrease in revenue. 

1. Minimize HTTP Requests

If you’re looking to give your website a speed boost, reduce the number of HTTP requests it needs to make. 

Every time you visit a website, your browser makes an HTTP request to fetch the page that was displayed in front of it. They take up around 80% of a webpage’s load time. 

Reducing the number of requests your web pages make helps it load faster, especially on mobile devices with slower data connections. 

How to Reduce HTTP requests?

If you want to reduce HTTP requests and boost your site load time, there are a few easy steps you can take. 

  • Combine CSS/JS Files

As any web developers know, HTTP requests are the bane of fast load times. Every time a browser has to retrieve a new file, it imposes a delay in the page-loading process. 

Combining CSS and Javascript files into larger, single files can be a helpful optimization technique. While combining all your CSS or JS into one massive file may be difficult, doing so can pay off in terms of faster page loads and website performance.

  • Use Queries to Only Load What’s Needed

By using conditional statements to load content, you can ensure only the necessary files are loaded. This not only improves page speed but also saves bandwidth and prevents unnecessary clutter on your pages. 

For example, you could use media queries to only serve specific CSS files on certain devices (mobile or desktop) as needed. 

  • Reduce the Number of Images You Use

Images are often one of the heaviest components on a page. By reducing their number, you can drastically reduce the overall size of your page. 

Not only will this improve your site’s performance, but it can also improve the user experience by removing unnecessary or distracting images. 

If some of your pages are particularly image-heavy, try removing some smaller or less essential images. This should help reduce HTTP requests and page size, resulting in a faster and smoother experience for your users.

  • CSS Sprites 

CSS sprites are an excellent way to reduce HTTP requests and speed up your website. Combining images into one sprite sheet can reduce the number of requests your browser has to make, speeding up page loading time. 

Plus, using CSS background-image and background-position, you can position the right image into view for each page area, making it easy to use the same image multiple times on a single page. 

2. Utilizing CDNs 

CDNs are a collection of web servers that are geographically dispersed, which allows for more efficient content delivery to users. 

They’re typically used for static content or files that don’t need to be touched once uploaded.

When a user tries to access your site, the server closest to them in network proximity will be selected. This results in a quicker response time and fewer network issues. 

Larger companies usually have their own CDNs, while medium-sized businesses will use CDN providers such as WP-Rocket or Cloudflare. This approach has been proven to reduce server response time and increase website speed.

Browser Caching

Browser caching is a way of storing certain web page resources locally on a user’s computer so they don’t have to be downloaded each time the page is accessed. This can significantly reduce the website’s loading time, especially for users who revisit your site frequently.

Keep these things in mind if you consider implementing browser caching on your site. 

  • Ensure your cached resources are updated regularly, so users can always access the latest version of your site. 
  • Have a good caching strategy in place so that only the resources that need to be cached are stored locally.
  • Understand how different browsers handle caching, so you can tailor your strategy accordingly.

4. Compress Images

Image compression is a process of encoding images to consume less disk space. Compressing an image can reduce the file size without affecting its quality. 

For image compression, there are two main types: lossy and lossless

  • Lossy compression techniques allow you to achieve greater compression ratios than lossless methods but at the expense of some information. In other words, you sacrifice quality for the sake of smaller file sizes. 
  • Lossless compression, on the other hand, preserves all the data in the image, resulting in larger files but also allowing you to retain all the original detail.

For website owners, image compression is an important tool for reducing page load times. By compressing images, you can lessen the amount of data that needs to be transferred from your server to the visitor’s browser. 

This reduces the time it takes for a page to load fully, making for a better user experience. In addition, search engines like Google consider the page load time of a webiste as a ranking factor.

Website conversion rates drop significantly if a page takes more than two seconds to load, so compressing images can help have a good page load time. You can monitor your bounce rate(in Google Analytics) to check the impact of image compression on your website’s performance.

5. Lazy Load Images

The principle is simple: defer loading images until they are needed instead of loading them all upfront. When a user visits a web page, only the images visible on the screen are loaded. 

As the user scrolls down, more images are loaded than needed. This can significantly reduce page load time and site speed, especially on pages with many images.

Lazy Load Images is particularly effective on mobile devices, where bandwidth and data usage can be limited. By loading only the needed images, Lazy Load Images can help reduce data usage and improve the page load time of a website on slow or patchy connections. 

Conclusion 

Fast-loading websites boost your site load time and keep your visitors happy and engaged. Luckily, you can do a few simple things to speed up your website. Following the tips in this blog post can significantly improve your web page load time. 

Remember, every little bit counts when shaving seconds off your load time. So don’t get discouraged if you don’t see an immediate difference after implementing these fixes. With a little patience and perseverance, you’ll be well on your way to a lightning-fast website in no time.

Bio: Oran Yehiel (CPA, MBA) is the founder of StartupGeek.com which helps startup founders make the right moves through unbiased advice, pro info, and helpful tools. He writes about venture capital, marketing & sales, accounting & tax, software tools, entrepreneurship, HR and more at StartupGeek.com

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