Want to increase the number of impressions, expand your audience and turn the maximum number of visitors into real customers? Start by optimizing your site speed. This recommendation is based on solid data: a delay of just 1 second in loading site pages reduces user satisfaction by 15% or more. 79% of potential customers will consider making a purchase through another resource if your website pages or checkout form load slowly.

If you don’t know how to optimize your site’s performance, we’ve prepared 17 strategies to reduce page load times, which will ultimately increase your users’ satisfaction.

Conduct an audit of your website

Before making any changes that affect loading and content processing speeds, evaluate your site’s current performance. You can do this with the PageSpeed Insights tool mentioned above, but you can’t neglect the actual site experience: navigate from different devices and evaluate page and content load speeds. The more information you have about your site’s performance, the easier it is to identify major issues and fix them.

Identify the problems that need to be fixed first

Once you identify the problems associated with poor performance of your site, you will be tempted to fix them all at once. This will be your mistake. Determine which aspects of your site’s performance are most important to your users so that you can prioritize them properly. For example, if the site takes too long to load when you navigate to it, focus on server-side issues: DNS, hosting provider. Even if the content pages themselves load fairly quickly, users still won’t want to wait if the loading speed of the site itself is dismal.

Evaluate the quality of your hosting provider’s services

As mentioned above, the culprit behind poor website performance could be your hosting provider. There are several factors that affect the loading speed of a website: the geographical location of servers, their power, and the bandwidth of network equipment. In addition, website performance depends on the type of web hosting you use: shared, VPS, or dedicated server.

Although in most cases shared hosting is the best option in terms of financial costs, its resources are distributed among several sites, due to which the performance is reduced. A virtual dedicated server (VPS) distributes the resources of a physical server among several virtual servers to increase the performance of websites. But if the load on the server is too high, page load speeds can drop. A dedicated physical server is much more expensive than shared hosting or VPS, but it provides better site speed.

Evaluate the performance of the CDN

If all the data needed to fully load your website is stored on a single server, it negatively impacts its initial loading speed and overall performance. A network infrastructure (CDN) contains multiple servers to store your content in multiple locations at once. When a user navigates to your site, the CDN selects the closest server to the user’s physical location to speed up the content delivery process. Note that CDNs vary, so you should consider multiple providers to choose the best one.

Optimize images

High-quality images increase your website’s appeal to end users, but can negatively impact its performance (especially if you use high-resolution images). Compress images before uploading them to your site to save your potential customers valuable time. Many image editors include a standard “save for web” feature that optimizes images for websites. There are also online services for compressing images of common formats: “.jpg”, “.png”, “.tiff” and others.

Reduce the total number of redirects

Redirects are used to redirect a user from the page they were visiting to a new page. They allow you to link highly visited ranking pages to new content. What is the problem with redirects? The more redirects a site has, the longer it takes to load, which ultimately degrades the user experience on your site.

Redirects are useful for getting a consistently high number of views for new content. But, once the goal for the number of views has been reached, remove old redirects to reduce the loading time of your site.

Limit the number of HTTP requests

Any HTTP request to download images, stylesheets, scripts and fonts increases the overall load time of your site. As your site grows, the number of such requests increases. The end result is a significant delay between clicking on a link and actually navigating to a new page.

Some services built into your browser, such as Google Developer Tools, identify all HTTP requests made by the site. You can identify outdated or overly complex requests that can be excluded or combined with other features to optimize load speed.

Compress content

By reducing file size without sacrificing quality, you’ll improve your site’s performance. There are several powerful and reliable compression frameworks (like Gzip) that reduce file sizes without compromising content quality. Find out what compression methods your hosting provider uses. If it neglects them, choose another one.

Use data caching

A caching mechanism allows the browser to preload some of your site’s content to improve page load speed. Some content management systems (CMS) use mechanisms to automatically cache the latest versions of websites and offer customizable settings. If your site has content that is not regularly updated, you can increase the caching time to improve performance.

Keep track of “404 – page not found” errors

404 – page not found

Users receive “404 – page not found” error messages in two cases: if the requested page has been deleted or moved (assigned a different address). Faced with such an error, most likely the user will want to leave your site (and you will lose a potential customer). You can eliminate errors with the help of free tools that detect non-existent pages and remove “dead” links.

Emphasize mobile-friendliness

Fast mobile sites have become a necessity as the number of users who browse and shop via mobile devices is skyrocketing. The easiest thing to do is to leave the desktop version of a website up and hope for the best. But the regular version of an online resource takes longer to load and is inconvenient to use on mobile devices. It is better to immediately invest in the development of a good mobile site or adaptive version with maximum page load speed and minimum response time to user actions.

Optimize your CMS

A good content management system can improve site performance by optimizing content retrieval and overall site performance. There are many free and paid CMSs available. Explore each one to determine which is best suited for your site.

Combine key files

If you have experience as a web developer, you may be able to merge JavaScript and CSS files to reduce the number of read phases while your site is loading. Whether you are a web developer or use a good CMS, you should consider merging script files and stylesheets to improve your site’s performance.

Determine the speed of your DNS server

The longer it takes to get a response from a DNS server, the longer the time delay between sending a request and receiving the first byte of information. You can determine the performance of the DNS server using special online tools. Note that some hosting providers may also provide DNS services.

Use asynchronous uploading

Many files and scripts on your site are loaded synchronously. That is, the loading of each subsequent element begins only when the previous one has been fully loaded. Ultimately, this increases the loading time of the site pages. New CMS tools and plugins contain functionality for asynchronous loading of CSS elements and JavaScript scripts, ensuring their parallel (simultaneous) loading.

Reduce the number of fonts used

Unique fonts are used to attract users’ attention. On the other hand, they have a negative impact on performance (especially unusual fonts containing unique character sets). Reduce the number of fonts used to increase page load speed and prefer those that are optimized for new browsers.

Identify problematic plugins

Find the plugins that are degrading your site’s performance. Many plugins contain useful functionality and make your site easier to manage. But they can degrade performance, especially if they consume a lot of resources or perform complex database queries. When working with plugins, follow two simple rules: keep only those plugins you really need and install the latest versions that are optimized for performance.

The faster the better

The faster your site and its content load speed and the faster it responds to user actions, the lower the bounce rate and the higher the conversion rates. While you can’t significantly speed up a slow site in a few minutes, you need to constantly work on optimizing its performance, and any of the 17 strategies described above will help.