5 Free Ways to Speed Up Your Website
Speeding up your website doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Or anything at all. There are several things you can do to improve customer experience and page load speed. Here are 5 free ways to speed up your website and improve your website’s performance with only time and effort.
1. Performance Testing
You can’t fix your problem areas until you identify them. Google PageSpeed Insights or even Varvy SEO Tool are both free tools that can test the speed of your site and suggest specific improvements. For more comprehensive testing, run a performance test with an open source load testing tool like Bees with Machine Guns (I know, great name isn’t it?). Unlike PageSpeed Insights, load testing software can test complicated processes like checkout and user registration.
2. Create Faster-Loading Content
Most sites have non-technical business users uploading images and text to the site. These people probably aren’t considering website speed as they work. Slight changes to their workflow can improve your site’s performance.
When you upload large photos, a site visitor’s browser has to resize it as it loads the page. Before uploading images, resize them using free photo editing software and your images will load more quickly.
If your business users write copy outside your CMS (Content Management System), they’re probably copying and pasting directly from a word processing program. These programs have their own invisible formatting codes. But your CMS applies other formatting codes, such as HTML. A site visitor’s browser has to read the word processing code before ignoring it. Have business users copy and paste their text into a text editor to strip out the formatting. Then they should copy from the text editor and paste into the CMS. That way your code will be as clean as if they’d written it in the CMS itself.
3. Clean Up Your Site
4. Enable Caching
When you enable caching, site visitors’ browsers don’t have to build each page from scratch each time they visit. Enabling caching may be a matter of adjusting your server settings or installing a free caching plugin. There is a handful of ways to cache the content of your website. Some methods include, Last Modified, Max Age, Expires and the use of Etags.
Clean design doesn’t just look good. It also loads quickly. If you use a site builder like Wix, Weebly, or even WordPress you can change the design of your website by switching to a different template. Online reviews can help you identify the speediest templates.
If you didn’t build your site with a template, you can cut back on page elements (including images) and plugins to increase your website speed.
Free Isn’t Magic
Faster page load times will improve customer conversion. These changes should increase your profits to the point where you can afford to invest in premium methods of speeding up your site. When you’re not spending money to speed up your site (by upgrading your web hosting plan, for example), you should implement these free changes. Even tiny improvements to your page load times will increase profits and help you grow your business.