Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links
Raise your hand if you ever experienced using a slow website! It’s even worse when you really want to see the content but its taking days to load. Fortunately, there are some ways you can speed up your website, so people aren't bouncing and looking elsewhere.
There are various factors that can go into a slow website but I want to cover things that are easy to fix. If you get this right from the beginning it will prevent some headaches down the line. Let’s jump into it, shall we…
Images can make or break a site, literally. High-quality images tend to also be very large files and if you don’t size them down your server will take forever to load them up. I recommend you use Photoshop or Pixlr to size down your photos prior to loading them to your site. Other options are plugins such as Smush Image which optimizes your images and compresses them down. But if you use size them down from the start you can avoid using an additional plugin. Images around 1280px wide are great for devices with the exception of gigantic monitors (which most users don’t use).
Plugins are great for adding additional functionality to your site without hard coding. People assume that too many plugin cans slow down your site. That is not the case, actually, poor quality plugins are the culprits. What is a poor quality plugin? They usually lack support, which means they aren’t consistently updated with the latest changes. This can also cause a compatibility issue with content management system updates. A site that has only 5 plugins but they are all poorly managed poses a greater threat than a site with 20 plugins that are of quality.
Here are some tips to look for when it comes to plugins. Make sure the developer of the plugin maintains practices to manage updates, look at what other users are experiencing while using the plugin. Check when the plugin was last updated. I love checking in with the dev community to see what they recommend also when it comes to using a certain plugin.
I have to take a deep breath on this one…not all themes are created equal. Frankly, some are badly coded, bloated with things they shouldn’t have etc. A bad theme will slow down your site easily. With so many options out there it can easily happen where you purchase a bad theme. What’s worst is buying a theme that has no support. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this where the theme developer just disappeared no warning, no updates, nothing! The client is left with a partially functioning site. Most developers don’t want to touch a nonsupported site so please choose your themes from quality sellers. Here are some great places to purchase themes (StudioPress, Restored 316, Pretty Darn Cute Designs) are some of my favorites. There are plenty others out there that are great as well.
Having a great host is super important, like super important. Very important. Ok, you get my point. If you have hosting that is slow, your site is going to be slow. Invest in a quality host that will support your platform. A great hosting company is Siteground you get a lot of value and the speed you need to excel online.
Other ways you can increase or optimize your site can be handled on the backend of your website. Which gets real techy, I recommend getting with a developer that is knowledgeable in optimization to get into the specifics for your site. These tips we just covered should get you on your way to a faster site which increases user experience a.k.a happy readers!
Are you a designer that wants to work with a Web Developer. Check out these tips on preparing your mockups for development.