Are you on the look for actionable tips on how to make a lightning-fast website? Well, we believe that’s the article for you then.
Most likely, you have a perfectly designed website – according to the latest web design trends, a mobile version set up and all that… or you are just starting out, no matter what the case is, you must be wondering how to make a lightning-fast website?
We introduce to you the power of Website Speed and what it can do for your business. You won’t believe how important the speed is… literally.
Search Engines have been endorsing “lightning-fast websites” for a long time because it’s a known fact that visitors don’t like waiting (just like you and me). More info can be found in our SEO Optimization article.
No matter how beautiful your website is, if it’s not loading fast enough, not many people will see your masterpiece… which is sad but that’s the way it works.
Don’t get discouraged though, speeding up your website is not the hardest thing on Earth. Here are 5 tips on making a lightning-fast website.
< 1 > Use Cloudflare
W.T. is Cloudflare?
The straightforward definition of Cloudflare is that it is a CDN. Now, what’s a CDN.
CDN is a Content Delivery Network. Its purpose, put simply, is to “save” your static content and spread it across multiple servers around the world.
That way, whenever a visitor makes a request to open up your website, he/she gets the information about it from wherever it’s nearest to him/her.
Example: Your website’s static content is spread around the world and a visitor from Spain is about to visit your website, he’d get the static content from a server that’s located in Spain (and not from the USA, for example). Simple, no?
CDNs are nothing new but they have proven their effectiveness when it comes to website speed. They can speed up your website 2-3 times. The set up is also not very much complicated.
< 2 > Optimize your Images
You’ll agree that images are a very important part of your website. However, if you insert 4-5 images that are not optimized in terms of resolution, size, and quality, you’ll put so much load on your website that it’d be time-consuming for people to “pull” them over to their browsers so that they could display them.
On the other hand, if you decide to take the “no-images at all” path, your website would look like a “grey window”, meaning, not very much visually-appealing. That is why we recommend using optimized images.
There are a bunch of plugins/extensions/tricks you could use to optimize your images. Some of them are IrfanView, WPSmush, and others; however, you could optimize your images manually by paying close attention to the following (that’s what the plugins do anyway, but when you have a custom website – plugins are not available):
– Resolution, Size, and Quality
Make sure you use resolution that’s just enough for your project/post/website. The size shouldn’t be more than 100-200kb (the less the better). Quality could be around 50-60 (Photoshop wise). All depends on the image, of course.
A good idea is to compress the images so that they take even less space.
If the images are not with the correct resolution or whatever the case might be, you might want to crop them. That’d also reduce their size.
< 3 > Use External Server(s)
Another cool trick you might want to pay some attention to is utilizing external server(s). No matter how “strong” your server is, at some point, it’d get overwhelmed with all those images on it and that’d slow it down.
We strongly suggest moving some/all resources to external servers or the so-called Cloud(s) so that you can offload some of the load your server’s having.
Such external servers are being used by many StartUPs. Also, Amazon’s using such… they even created their own.
Here are 5 reasons to use external servers:
– Freeing up resources from your own server.
– Your website gets stronger because you’re not holding unnecessary files.
– Reliability – Most of the external servers have at least 3 copies of your content, located all over the world.
– You can switch hosts w/o losing your static content.
– Using external servers for your static content has security benefits too. Your static content resides on servers that are well known and not easily hackable.
This service is not free as you might have guessed it but usually, the benefits are worth it.
Studies show that if you are hosting your JS libraries on your own server, you might suffer from the below:
– Every little change in the library on a global level requires you to manually update your local version.
– The library can load up as fast as your server allows it to… (that depends on your server resources)
Using JS libraries that are hosted elsewhere has its own advantages. Here’s some of them:
– Reduces loading time and in that sense makes your website lightning-fast
– Better caching
Nowadays, browsers cache JS libraries locally, which means that if your visitor has visited another website that uses Google’s Hosted Libraries, and now he’s visiting your website – Bingo! He wouldn’t even need to make that request again. That’s leading to an even faster website.
– Automatic and hands-free updates
Should a new version come up, Google has you covered. It’d push that new version for you, so you won’t need to make any extra effort.
< 5 > WP User? Use Cache Plugins
Are you a WP user? Great! WP is a great platform and in this sense, if you are using it, you could use some very cool plugins that can speed up your website and have the potential to make it lightning-fast.
Some of the popular plugins are W3 Total Cache. It is really powerful btw, but it’s pain in the @ss to configure. Some other alternatives are WP Super Cache, WP Rocket and others.
Bottom line is that if you are having a lightning-fast website, your user experience and effectiveness are going to be better. Plus, you would benefit from higher rankings on Google.
Instead of switching host providers, you might want to pay attention to the things we mentioned so far and make your website lightning-fast.
Before you go, bear in mind that there are two very powerful tools to measure your website speed.
Above, we listed some of the key factors when it comes to having a lightning-speed website. If you want to make your website faster but don’t know where to start, feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to help.