Reducing the amount of time your website takes to load is a key aspect in having happy visitors. How often would you wait for a website to load? Personally, if the website is having troubles after several seconds I’ll navigate away. This is echoed by multiple studies on the importance of a fast loading store, and checkout for the customer.
According to Akamai, who is responsible for delivering upwards of 30% of all internet traffic, website speed has a high impact on customer experience:
“23 percent of dissatisfied online shoppers attributed their dissatisfaction to the web site being too slow or taking too long to load, while 57 percent of online shoppers insist on a rapid checkout process, up nearly 10 percent from three years ago.”
With this in mind, let’s review some of the “low hanging fruit” options that can be taken to reduce page load times.
1. Choosing a non-oversold web hosting provider
InclusiveHost has moved multiple clients over from the “big players” in web hosting–the guys that spend millions on Superbowl advertisements. Unfortunately, the number one complaint of why they are even shopping for a different provider is their website is too slow or frequently offline. This is typically the result of oversold servers, which basically means they put too many clients on one server for profit reasons.
InclusiveHost protects against this common pitfall by first planning safe account limits per server. We also utilize the 1H optimization suite on our shared hosting servers, which helps isolate abusive accounts.
2. Optimization of your website
Choosing a stable web hosting provider isn’t the only variable for increasing your website speed. The content of your website also play a huge role in how fast your website loads for a visitor. Some of the tips we would suggest include:
- Reduce the amount of large images on your main index page, or reduce their overall file size
- Ensure that the overall size of your website is not too large, as even if someone has a fast internet connection, it can take some time to transfer all of the information
- Reduce the amount of third party content that is called on your pages, as you cannot control how their service performs. This can also hold up your entire website loading for several seconds if their service is offline
- Ensure website software is fully up to date and patched from your developers, as typically updated versions contain bug fixes and performance improvements
- If possible, setup a cache system to cache the most popular content on your website that doesn’t change often. This is easily available through major web platforms such as WordPress
- Setup .htaccess caching rules to define your static content
We do offer a free analysis of your website and can provide personalized tips based on your website. Please open up a ticket to take advantage of this service.
3. Implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN uses multiple datacenters around the world to mirror your static content, that is, your images or other static files that don’t change often. So how does this improve your website speed? Take a real life example of someone mailing a letter to you through the post office. The letter will arrive much faster if the letter is mailed closer to you, rather than from another country. The same is true with a CDN. Based on the end customer’s location, the content will load from the nearest server that holds your static content.
To avoid confusion, your full website is not mirrored globally with a CDN, only the static content is. Everyone still visits your InclusiveHost hosting account, but some static content will be pulled from locations closer to the end customer to reduce page loading time. You still manage and control only one website through your account with InclusiveHost.
InclusiveHost has partnered up with a CloudFlare to provide customers with a free CDN solution. This means that you can automatically enable this free optimization through your client area. One aspect the free CloudFlare plan will not cover is secure (https://) connections, however, upgraded plans are available for an additional fee. We can assist with this setup–simply open up a ticket through your client area.