5 Tips to Speed Up Your Website

By Andrew Peters

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In today’s fast-paced digital world, the speed of your website plays a pivotal role in retaining users and boosting your local SEO ranking. In this guide, we will dive into the various pieces of website optimization that can significantly impact your site’s speed.

From choosing a reliable web host and leveraging content delivery networks (CDNs) to optimizing images, implementing caching strategies, and utilizing performance optimization plugins, we will equip you with practical knowledge to enhance your website’s performance.

Let’s dive in!

Choosing a Good Host

Your web hosting provider lays the foundation for a fast-loading website.

When selecting a hosting service, consider factors such as reputation, customer support, server locations, and server response times. Opt for a host renowned for its reliability and speed.

Shared hosting (like Bluehost or GoDaddy) may be economical, but it can result in slower loading times due to resource-sharing among multiple websites. In contrast, dedicated or virtual private servers (VPS) provide greater resources and better performance.

At The Reach Company we use Vultr HF servers on a GridPane Developer dashboard. This is an enterprise hosting solution, and it makes sense for us, because we care for a ton of websites. But for a small business owner this is probably overkill. In that case, we usually recommend WP Engine or Flywheel.

Leveraging Content Delivery Networks

Implementing a CDN, such as Cloudflare, can significantly boost website speed by delivering content from servers located closer to users geographically. CDNs help reduce latency, as they store static website files on numerous servers worldwide, effectively minimizing the distance between users and your website.

This distributed system ensures quick access to your content, resulting in faster loading times and improved user experiences.

We set all of our websites up with Cloudflare. It gives us a layer of security, caching and speed all while also speeding up our website. It’s a must for us!

Create a Caching Strategy

Cloudflare does have caching, but that is only one layer at one level. More caching equals more speed.

Caching involves storing a static version of your website’s content to minimize server requests and render pages faster.

So, lets say your use a Google Font called Lato.

Caching basically says: ‘Okay, someone visited the site and we cached Lato in our own files, so this time we don’t have to go to Google to get that font file because we already have it here. Great, that saved a little time.’

And caching does this with hundreds of assets, meaning that saved time adds up.

By utilizing browser caching, you enable returning visitors to load your site more swiftly. Additionally, server-level caching techniques like Varnish or Nginx caching can cache frequently accessed pages, reducing server load and improving overall response times. For example, at The Reach Company we use Redis Object and Page caching. Again, might be overkill if you’re only working with your one business site and trying to save money.

If that’s the case, we recommend implementing a caching plugin. Our favorites are WP Rocket (paid) and Breeze (free). This can simplify the process and yield substantial performance benefits.

Our favorite is WP Rocket, and you can click here to get 20% off!

Optimizing your Images

Images can drastically impact your website’s load time.

And it’s something that generally most business owners don’t think about.

We work with small business websites all the time that go something like this. The owner hires a photographer to take photos and action shots of their work. The photographer hands the digital photos over. The owner uploads them to the website, adds a few to the home page, and wonders why their website is slower me trying to remember how to do calculus.

When you put professional photos, which are around 32MB usually, on a web page that should total under 3MB, things grind to a halt in the speed department.

To optimize them, ensure they are appropriately sized and compressed while maintaining acceptable quality. Choose the right file format (JPG for photographs, PNG or SVG for logos and graphics, or newer image types like WebP) and use image compression tools like TinyPNG to reduce file sizes without compromising visual integrity.

We use a simple plugin called ShortPixel that makes this a breeze. When you upload an image, ShortPixel will automatically scale the image and optimize its size for you.

Lazy loading is another technique that defers image loading until the user scrolls to the specific section, saving valuable loading time.

And that brings me to this last crucial point.

Use a Great Optimization Plugin

Performance optimization plugins assist in fine-tuning your website’s speed by optimizing various elements.

One such plugin is Perfmatters, which allows you to selectively disable unnecessary features, reduce HTTP requests, and customize a ton performance settings.

Lightweight and user-friendly, it empowers website owners to achieve faster load times with minimal effort. However, remember that plugins should be used judiciously, as an excessive number can have a counterproductive effect on performance.

A fast-loading website is crucial for providing optimal user experiences and improving your local SEO ranking.

By following these baseline strategies outlined in this guide, such as choosing a reputable host, leveraging CDNs, optimizing images, implementing caching strategies, and utilizing performance optimization plugins like perfmatters, you can significantly enhance your website’s speed and performance.

Remember, the online marketplace is highly competitive, and users value fast, seamless experiences. We get that this can be overwhelming. After all, you probably have a business to take care of, projects to finish, employees to manage. You’re too busy to be doing all this yourself.

If you need a helping hand in building a high-performing website, we’re here to help! We can be your web team.

Contact us today and let us build a better website for new leads, better SEO and optimal performance.

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