If you’re suffering from a slow website, you likely don’t have the time or resources to spend days, or even weeks, trying to identify the root cause and find ways to increase your website speed. While it’s imperative that you eventually determine the reason for your slow website, sometimes the most effective fixes are also the easiest.
This is especially true if the culprit is a minor front or back-end issue. While these are some of the most effective, and swiftest, ways to speed up a website, if you find your site still underperforms, then it may be time to hire a professional or spend the time necessary digging into the depths of your infrastructure.
Fix #1 | Upgrade Web Host Plan or Provider
Did you spend hours ensuring every element of your site is optimized to increase website speed? Are you diligently checking and refining the largest, and smallest, corners of your digital real estate? Is nothing you do boosting your website?
Maybe it’s time to consider that the problem isn’t you, but rather your web host. One of the most unfortunate scenarios is a well-designed and perfectly optimized site never reaching its potential because the soil it’s built upon is tainted. In this scenario, the soil is your web host provider.
If you can’t figure out why your website is running slow, or if you’ve consistently experienced issues with your current hosting plan or provider, then it may be time to move onward and upward!
Fix #2 | Web Browser Caching
For those unfamiliar with this concept, leveraging your browser cache essentially means the end-user browser stores your website resources. Therefore, the next time they visit your site, it loads substantially faster. This is a powerful way to boost end-user experiences, especially when you have a high number of repeat visitors.
Here’s an added tip: Make your landing page redirects cacheable. For example, if an end-user accesses your website on their mobile site, they may be sent to www.thewebsite.com and then redirected to the mobile version at www.m.thewebsite.com. This redirect can significantly reduce perceived speed, but by making your landing page 100% cacheable, the redirected page is stored on your visitor’s browser to expedite future visits.
Fix #3 | Minify Website Code Files
While many assume the culprit of their slow website is some external influence, in many cases, the cause is actually how the website was coded. Code files, such as HTML or CSS, must be downloaded and “read” by end-user browsers. If there’s a significant amount of whitespace, HTML comments or vacant elements, this can slow your site.
So, how do you fix this? Easy! Simply compress your code by Minifying it. There are ample tools online geared toward this task, such as Autoptimize. After performing this task, you’ll be surprised how swift your site may become and the increase in website speed that you see when running a test.
Fix #4 | Instruct Image Sizes
If you aren’t specifying the height and width dimensions of your images, then you’re robbing your site of speed. Never leave a browser to automatically determine image size. While you should always be reducing and optimizing images before uploading them to your server, make sure to also include height and width tags within elements. Websites love to be instructed, so instruct them!