Speed Up Your Website – The Easy Way

tips for website loading times

Websites have come on a long way over the last few years, but all the cool effects and added scripts have come at a cost – speed. If you have a poorly built site or too many funky effects then your whole website can virtually grind to a halt. This handy guide will ensure your site is as speedy as it can be, so sit back and prepare to turbo charge your site the easy way.

Firstly, before you go speeding up your website it’s a good idea to see exactly how it currently performs. Pingdom has a great tool for this purpose so just enter your website address and start the test (it’s worth clicking on “settings” to pick the server nearest to your website’s server). Make a note of the main results. If it shows you have too many connections, see what is being loaded below in the ‘Waterfall’ tab. If you have many small images it would be worth combining them into a single CSS Sprite using a site like SpriteCow. If the report shows lots of CSS or javascript issues then you need to combine the files into one to reduce loading times. These are not covered in this brief guide but are certainly worth looking at after you have tried the following…

 

photoshop image optimisation settings

File sizes

I see some sites that have just uploaded photos straight from their camera – bad idea! The size of the files on your website will directly affect the speed of your website loading times. Images in particular can be killers. Think about it – by uploading a 700kb picture to your website it’s going to take the browser a lot longer to display the picture than if you were using a 70kb version.

So you need to ensure they are optimised for their output. What does that mean? Well it means save your photos and graphics at the size you are going to display them at whilst using a suitable compression. If you have Adobe Photoshop, use the ‘Save for web’ option to optimise them. Generally photos should be JPG at around 50% compression. Graphics tend to work best as PNG which is a more modern GIF format. There are some online sites which will optimise your pictures such as Smushit for PNG and GIFs. Another option is TinyPNG which is pretty awesome. You do need to save your image at the right size before uploading though.

 

cloudflare website speed

Use a CDN such as Cloudflare

Content Delivery Networks like Cloudflare can speed up your website massively. They basically deliver your website content to the user based on their geographic location, origin of the webpage and a content delivery server. The system automatically optimises the delivery of your web pages so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. It also uses an impressive caching system and has several options for speed and security (yes, it even adds a layer of security for your site). Cloudflare only takes 5 minutes to setup, though you will need access to your domain setting to change the nameservers. Considering the basic plan is ideal for most websites and it’s free, Cloudflare really is a no-brainer for just about every website you own.

 

In conclusion…

Those are the two basic methods of speeding up your website, and probably the most effective too. Re-check your site on Pingdom now and see how much quicker it is loading. If you want to optimise your site until it’s positively the Aryton Senna of the internet then you can go down various other roads such as minimising css stylesheets and html, combining multiple stylesheets into one, serving your images from a sub domain and even using a dedicated server.

It’s worth investing in a good quality hosting company for your website because a cheap server will probably not be a speedy modern one. I have used Vidahost for a few years now and for a UK based hosting company they are the best I have used. You can even get 10% off by using my affiliate link here Vidahost offer.

Leave a Reply