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10 Ways To Improve Your Website's Speed

Your customers are demanding faster and smoother browsing experiences than ever before. By making only a few tweaks to your website’s performance can improve user experiences, increase engagement, lower bounce rates and most importantly, boost your bottom line.

Not only are people demanding faster experiences, but search engines are penalising slow websites by ranking them lower down the search results and rewarding faster sites with higher rankings. The following steps are the basics anyone can carry out to improve the speed of their website starting today.

1. Choose a Reputable Web Hosting Company - RNS IT & Data Solutions!

The calibre of your hosting company can play a notable role in the speed of your website. Low quality hardware, poor architecture and overloading servers can all slow down your site.

Along with assessing the technology a hosting company uses, evaluate what type of website you require and determine what features are required to meet your demands.

2. Based in Australia? Go with Australian Hosting

If the majority of your traffic is Australian based, choosing a hosting provider that has local data centres will mean files have less distance to travel from the data centre to the person’s computer. Local data centres also give you the additional benefit of having your private business information stored within the legal limits of Australia.

3. Minify HTML, CSS and Javascript

When you minify your HTML, CSS and JavaScript code, you are reducing all unnecessary white space and comments from the files. While these are useful for developers working on the site, it’s unnecessary information that the browser will have to interpret. Without white space and comments, browser can process files faster, resulting in quicker page loading times.

Another consideration to take into account is the placement of your CSS and JavaScript files within your HTML pages. Having your styles load first by placing them at the top of your page will allow the viewer to see the content and styles first before your JavaScript files are loaded; which should be placed at the bottom of your HTML pages.

4. Use an Effective Caching Plugin

Caching enables you to temporarily store files on the computers of people viewing your website. This allows the files to be reused when they’re needed without a request to the server taking place. Without caching, every request for a file must go from the browser, all the way to the server and back again. The power of caching can be seen when someone visits a page on your website that they have already been to in the past; the browser will be able to execute the files needed right away as they’ll already be stored on the user’s computer

5. Reduce Image Sizes and Use Appropriate Formats

Images can be a massive drain on your website’s speed.  If you have taken images from a digital camera or from the web, it is often the case that they are larger than they need to be. Reducing the size of images may not have any noticeable effect on their quality but allows them to load significantly faster on the page.

Choosing the correct format can also speed up loading times, for example, JPEG’s are smaller in size but can reduce the quality of images so they might not be suitable for backgrounds and graphics with transparency while PNG’s can be more suitable for images with text in them, that require crisp lines.

6. Cut Down on HTTP Requests

When someone visits your website, their web browser requests files from the server. For every file that makes up your website, the browser needs to make a separate HTTP request. Combining multiple files into one, using CSS image sprites and minimising the amount of plugins on your website will reduce the number of HTTP requests and therefore speed up this part of the loading process.

7. Clean Out and Optimise Your Database

Many databases are full of unnecessary data that is creating a drag on your loading times. Content such as trashed posts, spam comments and old user accounts reduces the response times when requesting information from the database. Follow the gold rule that if you no longer need that data, delete it.

Optimising your databases tables can be a simple exercise when using phpMyAdmin, which you have access to with all RNS IT & Data Solutions accounts. Simply check which table you would like optimising and select “Optimize table”. This will remove any white space in your database and improve querying times.

8. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN is a network of servers around the world that caches static content such as images, videos CSS files and JavaScript. CDN’s allow your websites to run faster by reducing the distance data has to travel between browsers and servers as well as providing a number of additional benefits such as mitigating website attacks and improving performance.

RNS IT & Data Solutions partner with Cloudflare + Railgun to ensure your web pages load fast no matter where in the world it’s being viewed from.

9. Remove Unneeded or Slow Plugins

Not all plugins are created equal and even fewer were built with performance in mind. What might function great, may in fact severely be slowing down your website. There are a range of free tools available to uncover which plugins are slowing down your website and to compare plugins before you install them. Remember to also delete any plugins you are no longer using as these too are an unnecessary drag on performance.

10. Reduce the Number of Website Redirects

Redirects result in an additional HTTP request between the browser and the server, delaying the response time of that page. The rule of thumb is that redirects should only occur in those cases that are absolutely essential. Other ways of reducing redirects is to no longer link to pages where you know a redirect occurs, never require more than one redirect and check links for legacy redirects.