How to Improve Site Speed (in Time for the Holidays!)

The speed of your website matters. If your pages are slow to load, you’ll see fewer page views, decreased conversion rates and lower customer satisfaction. One study found that 47% of people expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less, and 40% will abandon a page if it takes more than three seconds to load. As we move into the holiday season, it’s important that your site loads quickly. If it doesn’t, you could miss out on sales and customer loyalty.


Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can improve site speed in time for the holidays.


Simplify Your Design


A significant portion of a page’s loading time is spent downloading the different parts of the page (images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash and more). An HTTP request is made for each of these elements, so the more you have on your page, the more of these requests are sent. A simplified design is one of the easiest ways to increase site speed because it reduces the number of HTTP requests that are made. Streamline the number of elements on your pages, use CSS instead of images where possible and reduce scripts.


Optimize Images


There are three things to focus on with your images: size, format and src attribute. Small photos are always best, so choose them over the larger ones that take longer to load. Remove image comments and reduce color depth. As for the format, JPEG is the best option, but you can use PNG if need be. GIFs should only be used for small or simple graphics. Also, include the src attribute so that users don’t get empty image src codes.


Reduce Plugins


Too many plugins will slow down your site, create security issues and cause technical difficulties. If there are plugins that aren’t necessary to your site, be sure to delete or deactivate them. If your site is still slow and you need the plugins you have, go through and deactivate a few to see which are decreasing your site speed.


Use Browser Caching


When you visit a website for the first time, the elements are stored on your hard drive so that the next time you visit, your browser doesn’t have to request everything all over again. This makes loading the site much faster. There are more browser caching capabilities thanks to HTML5 such as Local Storage that allows you to store megabits of data using the browser. This article does a nice job of explaining how to optimize your site with HTTP caching.


Improving your site speed improves the user experience. As we move into the busy holiday season, your site should be optimized and have fast, smooth navigation. Let WSI Net Advantage get your site set up so that you’re ready to capitalize on the holiday season! Call us today at 510-687-9737 or fill out our contact form.


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