Quick tips on how to speed up your website

This is the fifth of a 6-part website design and development series. The series covers creative web design, website SEO and marketing, user experience design, quality website development, stellar performance (how to speed up your website), and regular website maintenance.

How fast your website loads is a Google search ranking factor. Google wants to show websites that provide a good user experience as well as the correct content in search results.

A fast loading website is also important to a good user experience. If you look at Google Analytics, a high bounce rate and low average time on a page may be the result of a slow loading web page.

How fast does your website need to be? Faster than your competitors!

Let’s take a look at how to improve your website page speed.

Optimize images

Image optimization is the process of reducing the file size of images as much as possible without sacrificing quality. The easiest way to optimize images is with a WordPress plugin like Imagify. Save logos as SVG or PNG files and photos as JPEGs. Use images that are the same size as they will appear on your website desktop view.

Use the new WebP image format for smaller, richer images that are 26% smaller in size than PNGs and 25-34% smaller than JPEGs — while keeping the same quality. The Imagify plugin will automatically save your images as a WebP version.

Choose fonts wisely

Using multiple fonts and weights from an outside source like Google Fonts can make your website slow. Each font can add 100-400kb of weight to the web page. It is recommended to use only 1-2 fonts. For example, a header font and a body copy font. Believe it or not, the most web fonts requested on a single page on the internet is 718!

Choose a fast website host

A good website host will have fast servers and be continually improving their speed and security. I write more about what makes a good website host.

Use the latest PHP version

Upgrade to the latest WordPress PHP version for better performance and security. For example, PHP 7 allows the system to execute twice as many requests per second in comparison with PHP 5.6, at almost half of the latency.

Use as few WordPress plugins as possible

Most websites will need to use plugins to provide features like membership pages or a good contact form. Look for plugins that are up-to-date and used by a lot of people.

Every plugin added to a website increases the number of HTTP requests. In addition, plugins store data in the WordPress database. When a page loads it requests information from the database, which takes time and resources.

Limit the use of third-party scripts

These are script that you can directly embed into your website from a third-party vendor. Frequently used third-party scripts are embedded videos from YouTube or Vimeo, social sharing buttons, chat widgets, Google Analytics, and ads. 93.59% of web pages include at least one third-party resource.

Use a caching plugin

Caching is the process of storing copies of files in a cache, or temporary storage location, so that they can be accessed more quickly. A caching plugin like WP-Rocket takes care of this hard work to deliver a website to the browser in a fast and efficient manner.

Summary

These quick tips on how to speed up your website will bring a big performance gain with the least amount of effort. Setting a website performance budget or goal at the start of a project or redesign will help to keep your website from getting bloated.

This is the fifth of a 6-part website design and development series. The series covers creative web design, website SEO and marketing, user experience design, quality website development, stellar performance (how to speed up your website), and regular website maintenance.

About Amy Kvistad

Amy has 15 years of experience as a graphic designer and 10 years as a web designer and developer. She is a co-organizer for the Boston WordPress meetup group and WordCamp Boston.