Having a website that loads quickly is important to keep your customers on your site. Here are some simple tips to improve your website speed that can help you get started straight away!
Simple tips to improve your website speed
Optimise your images.
What does this mean?
All files have a size. Some files are big and can take up to a couple of MB, others are smaller and only need a couple of KB. Images are files that usually only need a maximum of 200 KB, especially if you are putting it on your website. Any larger, and it is better to optimise these images. To ‘optimise’ your images means to reduce the file size of these images so that they fall under 200 KB while keeping their picture clarity.
How do I do this?
Optimising your images is a simple process! There are many tools that you can use to optimise your images including Photoshop, Pixlr Editor and Canva. Pixlr Editor and Canva also have free versions! Once you open your image on one of these platforms, you will have the option of saving or downloading your image. When you save these images, ensure you save it as a .jpg or .jpeg as this helps compress the file size.
Tip: A great way to minimise the file size of your images is to decrease the dimensions of the image. Some images can be 3000px by 3000px which is generally not required for websites. Decreasing the width to 1500px and keeping the height proportionate to this change can help reduce your file size considerably in addition to saving it as a .jpg or a .jpeg. Also, keep in mind the size of your image, if you have a smaller image less than 1000px, you might even be able to make this a smaller image size. This is especially helpful when your image only takes up a small amount of space on your web page.
Something to watch out for!
Photos that are taken from your phone or a professional camera are usually 4MB to 6MB, and this is way too big for your website! In addition to slowing down the speed of your website, it can also take up a lot of space on your hosting. To minimise these issues, make sure you always check your images that you are moving from your phone or your camera.
Reduce your plugins
What are plugins?
Plugins are great tools to help build your website the way you want it. Think of them like smartphone apps, but for your website. Some incredible things plugins can do include:
- Let customers send messages or emails from your website to your business inbox (e.g. Formidable Forms)
- Check that you are optimising your website for search engines like Google (e.g. Yoast SEO)
- Present information neatly through tables that you can personalise for your brand (e.g. Ninja Tables)
- Build you online store, help you keep track of your online inventory and receive payments from customers (e.g. WooCommerce)
Why can plugins be an issue?
Like the apps on your phone, plugin take up space on your website. Thus, too many plugins can result in a slow website.
What do I need to do?
It is best to only keep the plugins you actually need to get your site looking and functioning its best. Disable and remove any plugins that you don’t want from the backend of your website.
Something to watch out for!
Some plugins can come with the theme that your website is built on. Thus, removing them can lose information about your website that the plugin had been storing. To minimise this risk, it is always best to do some research and have a strong understanding of what the plugin is used for. If you are sure that this plugin is not necessary, then you can disable or remove it. It is also good to do a backup of your site before making major changes so that if you run into an issue, you always have the latest version of your website that you can upload immediately.
Clean up your database
What is a database?
A database is where everything on your website lives. All the images you upload, pages you make and even your plugins live on your database.
What should I remove from my database?
Over time the files on your database can get very cluttered which contributes to your website slowing down. Take the time to go through your website and delete any page drafts, unused images, hidden pages or unused plugins. The less mess living in your database, the better!
There are also plugins that you can use to clean your database. These plugins help you remove page drafts, unused images, hidden pages and other unnecessary clutter in your database easily. Some database cleaning plugins can also be set to automatically clean your website every week or so. We recommend that you look at the plugin WP-Optimize to help with this process. This plugin is specifically made for WordPress websites.
Enable Browser Caching
What is a browser?
A browser is a tool that people use to search the web. Some common browsers include Google, Safari, Microsoft Edge etc.
What is browser caching?
Browser caching is allowing a browser to store information about your website. When browser caching is enabled, the browser customer/user is using stores your website’s files on their end. Since the customer’s browser does not need to re-download all your website’s content when they visit a second time, it loads quicker when the customer return to your site.
This makes browser caching great for when you know people will revisit your website.
How do I enable browser caching?
Browser caching can be done easily by using a plugin. The plugin WP-Optimise not only cleans your database, but also can be used for browser caching. Using the one plugin to do both these actions is also very useful as it helps minimise the space taken on your website.
Upgrade your website hosting plan
Why do I need to upgrade my hosting plan?
When a user or customer visits and uses your website, they along with other users are making requests to the website at the same time. Each activity, such as opening up a link or clicking a button, is counted as a request that the CPU needs to process. If your CPU is not great enough to process all these requests, your website slows down. To ensure that your website can process all these requests promptly, it is best to upgrade your hosting plan.
What is CPU?
A CPU is the brain of your website and is needed to process all the actions that are completed on your website. It is usually an inclusion that comes with your hosting package. Your CPU shows the extent to which your website can process multiple requests at the same time before slowing down in performance or speed. CPU generally starts at 100% and the higher this goes, it means your website can process more requests at once; crucial for websites that gain a lot of visitors.
Looking for professional help to speed up your website? Redsteps Web can help you out, contact us today and we can help improve your website speed!