The Internet marketing landscape is evolving rapidly. Gone are the days when people waited patiently for the website to load, so that they can make a purchase.
Today if you have a webpage that takes forever to load, then your potential customers are likely to move on. On an average, viewers opt for websites that load within 3 seconds. By taking longer than 3 seconds your website can lose business. Thus it is important to ensure that you have a fast loading website. Here are 10 ways in which you can have a website that loads fast.
1. Optimize Images
Around 61% of the weight of the website comes from all the images that are present in the design of your website. The number and the size of images, plays a major role in how fast or slow your website loads.
If you want to have a website, like Amazon or other shopping websites where there are images of hundreds of products, you might have a slow website. But there are ways that can help you have a large number of images while cutting down on the loading time. You can use different image formats, like JPEG, XR, and reduce the size of the image files.
Reducing just the resolution of the image is not enough. The smaller the size of the file, the faster it will load. There are various tools like Adaptive Image that can help you optimize the images files.
2. Curb Animation
Even though animations on your webpage seem to grab more attention, they take a lot of time to load. If you allow the animations to play in a continuous loop then they consume bandwidth and slow down the response time of the page. By setting a fixed number of repetitions you can reduce the lag. At the same time, it is a very good idea to keep all animations to a minimum on your website.
3. Combine Images into CSS Sprites
The server has to make a large number of round trips to retrieve all the image files on your webpage. This can take a long time for your images to load on your page. The use of CSS sprites cuts down the requirement for the round trips.
A CSS sprite allows you to combine multiple images into a single image, and selectively displays only parts of that image by making use of the CSS background-position property. The sprites combine all the background images into a single image. So the server only has to retrieve a singular image. Websites like Amazon have adopted this technology and benefitted immensely.
The CSS background-position and background-image properties ensure that the right segments of the images are displayed. You can use the services of CSS sprite providers, like SpriteMe.
4. Use CDN
A CDN (Content delivery network) is a network of servers located all around the world. The function of the CDN is to reduce the size of static content and to transport it to a server closer to the physical location of the user. By doing so the time taken for the static data to be transferred is reduced. The location of the static data plays a role in the response time of the website. Big websites like eBay are using their own CDN but smaller websites can opt for CDN service providers.
5. Optimize Plug-ins
The functionality of your website can be greatly increased by using plug-ins, but the plug-ins can end up slowing your webpage. Plug-ins tends to increase the work load of the websites which results in the slow loading of the site. Even though some plug-ins are a necessity, it is important to remove a few. When removing plug-ins look for outdated ones as well as ones that offer duplicate functionality.
6. Use Cache
Users may stop visiting your website if it seems to load at a snail’s pace during every visit. This can be avoided by using caches. The caches are static resources saved to the user’s device when they visit your website once. After the caches have been stored, the subsequent visits allow the site to load faster. Stored resources allow the device to load the site faster.
7. Allow Compression
Compressing the resources can easily reduce the bytes that need to be sent over a network. This means that by using GZIP compression algorithm you can cut down the resources that are being transferred. Web servers, like IIS, use this algorithm on JS (Java Script), HTML and CSS. To be able to do this, you need to first have consistency across the CSS and HTML codes on your site. Get rid of line breaks and extra spaces to minify CSS and JS.
8. Facilitate Keep-alive Response headers
HTTP requests close after sending a file. The whole process takes place in a matter of nanoseconds but when there are a number of HTTP requests from a single website it can take some time for all the files to be sent.
If multiple files are sent before the HTTP request closes then the processing time is reduced. Since the connection is kept open, while the server retrieves all the resources, the loading time is reduced significantly.
9. Make use of Expires Headers
Like caches, certain files can be saved to the user’s device once they visit the website. Generally these file headers come with an expiration period.
Usually the files expire within 24 hours of the visit. But during those 24 hours, whenever the users visit the website, the pre-saved files cut down the time that it takes to load the page. It is up to you to configure the expires header. You can easily configure the headers in such a way that they never expire. If you do so, then the files will be saved on the user’s device unless they remove it. As long as the files are stored to the device the user can get faster access to the site.
10. Change Hosting Package or Provider
Few simple steps can make your website load faster. Even after taking those measures, if you see that your website is taking forever to load then you might need to change the website hosting package or provider that you have subscribed to.
Most small businesses opt for shared hosting. But shared hosting might slow down the site. This is because the server space is being shared by a large number of sites. Dedicated hosting can allow you to get a dedicated server that serves only your site. This can be a little expensive but is immensely beneficial.
These measures are sure to give you a website that loads in a matter of seconds. With the help of your fast website you can easily grab the attention of more potential customers. EyeForWeb is a web design company which regularly posts Information Technology related content for its readers.