Research has shown that almost half of all internet users will only wait for two seconds for a website to load. On top of that, 79% of consumers who experience trouble with a given website won’t return. 44% of them claim they would then advise others to avoid the site.

It should also be taken into consideration that page speed factors into Google’s ranking algorithm. Websites with slow loading speeds don’t rank as high as faster sites. Slow loading speeds may also mean the entire site wasn’t indexed which further hurts its ranking.

With so much at stake, you can’t afford to be unaware of your website’s speed. If it’s not where it should be, steps need to be immediately taken to improve its performance.

How Fast Does Your Website Load?

Using Google’s PageSpeed Insights, you can determine how fast your business website loads. It’s a suite of tools you can use to monitor and improve your site’s performance. If you’d prefer something less complex, there are simpler tools available like Web Page Test. The important thing is to ensure the site loads as quickly as possible.

How To Speed Up Your Website

If you’ve discovered that your website isn’t loading within 2-3 seconds, there are steps you can take to increase its speed.

Reduce File Sizes

Compressing your files helps with site speed as it reduces the size of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files that exceed 150 bytes in size. Applications like Gzip can help you compress files quickly and easily.

Also, optimize your images so they are as compact as possible without sacrificing image quality. CSS sprites can be used to create image templates that can combine many images into single large images for faster loading and fewer requests.

Optimize Your Code

Compression isn’t the only thing you can do with those CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files. Cleaning up your code, removing commas, spaces, and other unneeded characters, will reduce the file size and speed up your website. Take this opportunity to also remove any render-blocking JavaScript because when a browser encounters this it automatically stops and executes it which takes time.

Remove Redirects

If you have redirects on your website, it might be a good idea to eliminate them altogether. Redirects take up more time as the first page loads, queues the redirect, and then that page must load. Often this is the case when a standard site redirects to a mobile version of the site. For best results, develop a responsive site that looks good across all devices and saves time.

Control Browser Caching

Data is cached by our web browsers to save time. They cache images, JavaScript files, stylesheets, and more so when you return to the site, it doesn’t have to reload everything again. Using tools like YSlow, you can check and see if an expiration date is set for caching on your site. Depending on how frequently your site sees significant changes, set this for several months to a year so visitor browsers aren’t constantly reloading the entire site.

Content Distribution Networks

Content distribution networks (CDNs) are networks of servers used to distribute content in the most efficient manner. Stored copies of your site are retained at multiple data centers in different locations so when a request is made for your site, it can be delivered from the closest data center to reduce time.

Check Your Web Hosting

While transferring your website to a new hosting company is probably not at the top of your list of things to try and speed up your site, it is worth a look. Is your web hosting service delivering your site as quickly as it should? If the answer is no, do some research, reading user reviews of your web hosting company and many others. If another company can deliver your site faster, and you’ve done everything else you can to improve your website’s speed, it may be a move you’re willing to make.