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When it comes to web browsing, five seconds can seem like an eternity, especially when users are waiting for a slow website to load. This lag can have major consequences, as Google takes into account the speed of a site to determine your presence in searches.
According to Google, the likelihood of users abandoning a website increases by 32% when the page load time increases from one to three seconds. In another study, about four out of five website visitors who are dissatisfied with site performance say they will never return to the site.
This means that if your website is unresponsive and slow, you are losing customers and it’s time to do something about it. Here are some suggestions to speed it up and make it more responsive.
1. Choose a faster host
The reliability and speed of your web host plays a big role in how quickly (or slowly) your website loads. While many webmasters choose the cheapest hosting to save money, it usually comes at the expense of their site’s download speeds.
If your web host’s servers are slow, causing your site to lag when loading, you should consider upgrading to a better (faster) web host. Find out what other webmasters are saying about the fastest web hosts.
Related: 5 Critical Considerations When Choosing Your Web Hosting Service
2. Use a fast and responsive theme for your website
To get faster download speeds, you should use a fast and lightweight theme for your site. This is because you want a website theme that will load quickly for your visitors when they visit your site. Poorly coded themes are “heavier” and take longer to load, especially on mobile devices.
Since the majority of internet users access the internet through mobile devices, you’ll want to use a theme that’s lightweight, mobile-friendly, responsive, and quickly downloadable. You should read reviews from other webmasters to find out how they rated the speed and responsiveness of potential website themes.
You should also measure the speed and responsiveness of the different themes on your site to ensure you pick the best (fastest) one.
3. Download and stream all videos directly from YouTube
Large online files, such as videos, can cause your site to load slowly. Therefore, rather than directly uploading videos to your host, you should upload them to YouTube. You can then simply embed the video links on your website. Your visitors will be able to stream your videos directly from YouTube, which will speed up the loading time of your website.
4. Plugins should be used sparingly
While installing plugins can improve your site’s functionality, installing too many will slow download rates. Since all plugins must be loaded before your site can fully load, visitors will have to wait.
If you think having too many plugins is slowing down your site speed, you should remove the ones you really don’t need.
Often you can replace multiple plugins with an all-in-one plugin that has all the features you need for your site.
Related: 8 Plugins Every @WordPress Website Needs
5. Large web files can be compressed
Large web files can cause your site to load slowly. PDF documents and graphics-rich files, for example, can take a long time to download, especially for visitors on mobile devices. Therefore, shrinking large files can help your site load faster.
6. Optimize visuals for faster loading speed
If your images are not optimized for faster download speeds, they will also slow down your website. Here are some easy ways to speed up your site’s image loading time:
- Use the appropriate file extension when saving images (GIF, JPEG, or PNG).
- To speed up the loading of photos, reduce their size.
- Compress your photos with a free image compression tool.
7. Limit the number of comments that appear on a single page
Although user comments are beneficial for increasing audience engagement and improving SEO, a web page with too many comments may take longer to load.
Therefore, you should display no more than 50 comments per web page to maximize your page speed. If your blog posts and articles have a lot of user comments, your visitors won’t have to wait as long for web pages to load.
Related: How SaaS Companies Can Boost User Engagement With Video Marketing
If you want to improve your website’s SEO, increase visitors, improve user experience, and increase conversions, your site needs to load fast.
Google offers a free site speed test that includes tips on how to improve the loading speed of your web pages. Once you identify the issues, you may want to hire a web developer to help you optimize your site for faster download speeds. It’s usually well worth the price.