By Chris Christoff, co-founder of MonsterInsights.
Let's be real: People aren't patient enough to wait for your website to load at a snail's pace. If your site isn't performing at a high speed, you could be losing customers. So how can you make your site lightning fast? The following are five simple ways that we've used to increase all of our websites' page speeds. If you already have quality content on your site but are not showing up highly ranked in search results, this may just be what you're missing.
Enable Browser Caching
WordPress users can use the W3 Total Cache plugin to easily enable caching. W3 Total Cache claims that sites that downloaded and fully configured the plugin saw at least 10 times improvement in overall site performance.
Images are often super large files. So when a browser retrieves your site they can take a long time to download, which will slow down your site speed. You definitely can't remove images from your site because they're important, especially if you're an e-commerce page, so to improve your site speed you can reduce their size.
Don't upload an image 1,600 pixels wide if you're going to adjust the size to appear smaller on your website. Resize or crop the image to the exact size you want to display it before you upload it to your site. WordPress users can also use plugin WP Smush to easily compress and optimize your images automatically when uploaded to your site.
Choose the Right Hosting Option
When first starting your site you probably chose the cheapest hosting option, which is fine. But as your website gets more and more traffic, you're going to need an upgrade.
Cheaper hosting sites usually mean that you're sharing the server with a ton of other websites, which will slow you down and might not provide the greatest service either. A VPS or dedicated hosting site is a better option when you have more traffic and need to increase your site speed. Although it's the more expensive option, having a dedicated server will give you a lot more space and complete control. It's the best choice if your high traffic levels are slowing down your site load time.
Optimize Above-the-Fold Content
Above-the-fold content refers to the portion of a web page that is visible in the browser window when the page first loads and before visitors start scrolling. It's typically the first thing visitors will see and the area where you display your business's most important information.
Your HTML should load the main content area first before it renders other elements of your site. If it doesn't, your above-the-fold content will take longer to load. For example, if your page loads third-party widgets first before it loads your main content, you'll need to rearrange the order to improve loading time. To make pages load faster, you can structure your HTML to load the above-the-fold content before anything else.
Minimize HTTP Requests
We noticed that a big majority of our websites' loading time was spent downloading all the different parts of our sites. This is because the more components you have on a page, the longer it will take to load. An HTTP request has to be made for each of these elements. One way that we achieved this was taking a minimalist approach to web design and only incorporating what is important for the user experience and increasing conversions on the site.
Using Google Chrome's Developer Tools, you can easily see how many HTTP requests your site makes. Search for any files that are unnecessary and for files that you can combine to make your site faster. There are a few different ways to minimize and combine files. But if you use WordPress, WP Rocket plugin is a great option.
Every second counts when it comes to your website. Don't let slow page loading ruin the positive experience users would have otherwise had. If you use these hacks to optimize your site's page speed, you'll decrease your bounce rate and increase conversions.
Chris Christoff is the co-founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plugin for Google Analytics.