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The Nerd Side Of Life

Easy Ways to Improve Your Website or App’s Page Speed

Having a fast website is becoming more and more important. Google recently announced that page speed is a ranking factor. So a slow site is not only going to cost you users but it’s going to cost you rankings. With the number of searches from mobile devices increasing, users aren’t always on fast wifi and at the mercy of wireless carriers, so having a website that’s light and loads fast is crucial to those mobile views. Sadly, with the proliferation of mobile searches there has been a decrease in attention spans, so having a fast site is going to capture users attention and drop those bounce rates down. 

Of course, having a site with all the bells and whistles, effects, tracking codes, etc has the potential to slow your page speed down. But don’t fret, there are some easy ways to increase page speed. While some site changes may need a developer to implement others are easier. While there isn’t going to be a single fix to improve speed, lots of little changes can add up and make your entire site faster. 

Compress Images

“If you have large images on your site they’re going to take a long time to load. This is a difficult balance if your site relies heavily on images or products or images are a large part of your branding. There are a few plugins that will help compress images and make them smaller and easier to load. ” – Heidi Streeter, Founder of Holiday St.

AMP

“Accelerated Mobile Pages are a great way to increase the speed of your site. AMP is a stripped down version of your site that lives on Google’s servers. As such it’s lightning fast. It loads quickly and likely will increase conversions on your site.” – Stephanie Venn-Watson, CEO of Seraphina Therapeutics

Pagespeed Insights

“Pagespeed insights is a tool from Google that will show you how fast your site is. It also gives a list of recommendations on what to fix as well as telling you what’s slowing your site down. You can’t fix your site if you don’t know what’s broken. Pagespeed insights let’s you know where to put your effort and what to do to get a blazing fast site.” – James Ville, Chief Product Officer at GunSkins

Reduce Redirects

“If you’ve moved content around your website, or recently gone through a site migration you probably have a number of redirects on your site. These 301s can slow load times. Users are being served a page then redirected to a new one. If your site has a lot of these it’s going to drive your page speed down. It’s good to audit these and see if any can be removed, if so take them down. These could be redirect chains, where a page was redirected but the new destination page was recently redirected. That’s a lot of hops and requests sent to the server. But be cautious not to remove valuable redirects.” – Daniel Tejada, Co- Founder of Straight Up Growth

Reduce Javascript

“Sometimes websites have a bunch of code on them that isn’t necessary, or could be loaded later. It’s hard to just remove all the javascript on the site, that’s what helps the site run and power any interesting animations. But, in some cases, you can move lines to the bottom of the page so they don’t load immediately. This is obviously not feasible for tracking codes and other necessities. But do a review and see what’s needed and can be cut. Obviously, you’re going to need a developer to do this and not every CMS will let you but, if you can, it’s going to provide the best improvement on page speed.” – Rob Bartlett, CEO of WTFast

Faster Servers

“You may have a great looking website but if you have a clunker under the hood it’s going to break down and cause issues. As your business grows don’t forget about upgrading your servers, they’re doing the heavy lifting in the background, and if they’re slow nobody is going to see your website.” – Jason Wong, CEO of Building Blocks

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Browser Caching

“Browser caching won’t speed up your site for new visitors but it’s great for returning visitors. This stores parts of your website on a user’s computer, so when they return to your site their browser can put together the webpage without having to make requests from the server. There are plugins that can enable this feature so you may or may not need a developer to set up browser caching. ” – Lance Herrington, Founder, CEO and Head of Design at UNICO NUTRITION

Use a CDN

“A Content Delivery Network or CDN helps speed up your website by storing copies of it on different servers around the globe. If you’re in LA and you visit the site you’ll hit the server in LA, rather than trying to view the site on the server in New York. ” – Shaunak Amin, CEO and Co-Founder of SnackMagic

Lazy Loading

“Lazy loading lets pictures and content that are not in the frame defer loading until viewed. If you have a gallery of images or products near the bottom of the page, they won’t load at the same time as content at the top of the page. There are a number of plugins that can add this functionality and they’re pretty easy to install and set up.” – Mehdi Marrakchi, CEO of Mob Hookah

Fewer Plugins

“It’s easy to install plugins on your site for all the features you need. Tracking, CTAs, testing, featured products, there’s a plugin for all of those. And while that’s well and good these can add up and add to the code on your site. When the browser is trying to render your site it’s going to slow down and it tries to make sense of all the plugins on your site. It’s good to do a sweep every so often and make sure you don’t have any unnecessary plugins slowing your site down.” – Ricky Nariani, President and Co-Founder of WANTD

Choose the Right CMS

“When you build your website you have a lot of options. Build your site on something that can scale and is built for speed. We recommend a headless CMS, you reduce the bloat of some out of the box solutions and can build a site that’s lean and has all the features you want.” – Andrew O’Conor, CEO of Merit Metrics

Minify CSS and JavaScript

Another effective page load time reduction tactic is to minify JavaScript and CSS files. Minification is a process that strips out all unnecessary characters, comments, and spaces in the code, and uses shorter variable and function names, thereby streamlining the code. The fewer bytes of data in your code, the easier and more efficient the page loading process.” Josh Hinds, Senior SEO Analyst at Terakeet

In this fast paced world the race race goes to the swift. The faster your website the faster you’ll get your message or products in front of your customers. Implementing a few or all of these tips will shave time off your page load, which combined, will add up to valuable seconds. After you make any change, check your site on Pagespeed Insights and track those gains. 

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