Having a website is an essential component of a successful modern business, but one of the most common mistakes companies make is failing to optimise their website to make it work as fast as possible. A sluggish site is a hassle for repeat visitors and can cause you to lose customers and subscribers.

Why site speed is important

When a visitor arrives at your site for the first time, the first few seconds are vital for convincing them to hang around. Even just a 2-second delay in page responsiveness can lead to a reduction in user satisfaction, loss of revenue and fewer clicks. If your site loads too slowly, most people will leave before you get the chance to show them what you have to offer. If you are running PPC campaigns, this can drain your budget as people click on your ads, find a site that runs too slowly and quickly leave, wasting the clicks for your ads.

Google now factors site speed into its ranking algorithm. So the speed of your site will have an impact on your SEO, and a slow site will result in low search engine rankings as well as the loss of visitors. Here are a few ways you can fix these issues.

Have a strong framework or theme

In some cases, older frameworks can be rather lightweight and speedy. They keep the core content simple and don’t dress it up with lots of features that are barely used but which encumber a website. With a solid framework that doesn’t rely heavily on excessive plugins, you can avoid the bloat and keep things moving along. Keeping your CSS minimised is another important component of a smooth, fluent framework – excessive CSS rules can slow everything on your website down to a crawl.

Use effective caching

Good caching can drastically reduce loading time for websites, and there are plenty of plugins available if you’re running a WordPress site. The best plugins are easy to install and intuitive to use, and they will help your site load faster as elements get cached.

Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

All the top blogs are using this tool, and if you are looking to benefit from online marketing then a CDN is essential. A CDN takes all your site’s static files and allows visitors to download them quickly, meaning your site will operate much faster for them, particularly on repeat visits.

Optimise images

There are plenty of image optimisation tools around that will dramatically reduce the file size of an image without lowering the quality. There are even tools that will automate this process, so you only have to think about uploading them. With smaller file sizes for images, your website will run smoothly and quickly.

Choose a good host

If speed is important to you, we would always recommend our Premium Hosting. This is a solution built for speed and uses specific software called LiteSpeed to help you deliver that. We limit the number of sites on each server to 30 to ensure we deliver the best performance. For larger sites you may want to consider our Managed Dedicated Servers.

Disable hotlinking

Hotlinking enables other to ‘steal’ your bandwidth by including direct links to your images on your site from their articles, making your server load intolerably high. As more people ‘scrape’ your posts this way, it can take a real toll on loading times. So disable hotlinking from your site to avoid this happening.

Limit the number of post revisions stored

If you are blogging, your software will automatically save drafts of your post as you work. Once the post is published, those drafts are unnecessary, so set your post revision history to a minimum so that you have something to fall back on if you run into issues, but don’t clutter your backend with tons of unneeded draft posts.

There are many things you can do to optimise the speed of your website, and they are really worth doing to get the best results from your online hub. Don’t ignore the need to optimise your site speed – it is a crucial factor of good SEO and customer retention that you can’t afford to overlook.