Sorry, I recently watched Cars 2 with my kids and that is the only speed reference I can think of… One of the most common requests I get is “Can you make my website faster?” So that means you have learned that website speed is important, not just for your end user, but for SEO purposes as well. I can almost always help improve website speed, but sometimes it gets complicated, as every website is different.
Website speed can be affected by many things, sometimes it is just a really crappy shared host, and the only thing you can do about that is switch hosts… But more often than not it is actually a combination of things. From a lack of image optimization or compression, to unused css or too many external calls like fonts or tracking scripts. Sometimes it can be tricky to figure out what to do. The best thing you can do is hire a qualified developer that has website speed in mind when they build your website. I know many of you reading this already have a website, and we can’t go back in time, so the next best thing is to hire a qualified developer to analyse your website and give you a list of the top offenders slowing down your website.
If you are on a budget and can’t afford a developer, here are some things to look for if you have a slow website:
1- Un-optimized images – Images should be re-sized and compressed. Some people are good at the first part, but compression is really important too. In a nutshell, image compression is when you remove or group together certain parts of an image file in order to reduce its size. There are so many ways to compress an image, some will result in quality loss and others will not. How far you want to compress should relate to how important that image is. When I compress images for my clients I almost always compress as much as I can without sacrificing any quality. If there is an image that is a blurry background type of image we can compress it a lot, but if there is a portfolio image that shows a lot of detail for a product or sample, we really have to be careful to not lose any quality.
2- Cut the fat! Remove anything that is not being used. Extra fonts, pixels from things you tried and decided not to continue with, plugins or apps not being used, scripts not being used, redundant code…
3- Minify – Minification is the process of removing all unnecessary characters from the source codes of interpreted programming languages or markup languages without changing their functionality.
4- Use a CDN – a CDN is a network of servers that are used to distribute the load of delivering content
6- Prioritize visible content, defer off-screen images
7- Use sprites or icon fonts if you have a lot of icons / small images
8- Reduce redirects
There are other things that can be done, but a lot depends on your specific setup. The best place to start is with a website speed audit. You can try to google this for yourself, but be careful, some of the free tools are incomplete or only want you to pay for their expensive, ongoing services.
If you would like to hire me, I offer website speed analysis and reporting at the rate of one billable hour per url requested.