Website Ownership Tip #7: Speed & Performance
🤩 Hi, how are you! So if you own a website, you probably want it to load quickly, right? And that’s why today’s tip is about the Speed & Performance of your website. Nowadays, we have been conditioned to expect websites to load nearly-instantly. In fact, if you go to a website and it doesn’t load in a timely fashion, are you always willing to wait? Studies show that every extra second of load time can lead to people not completing their purchase or leaving the website entirely.
So how do we speed up a website? Well there are lots of factors that go into load time, but let’s briefly hit the top 5. In short, that’s Hosting, Videos, Images, Plugins and External Services.
☁️ The first is Hosting. This is the #1 contributor to your website’s load time. It’s like the infrastructure to a building. It needs a strong foundation to succeed, and for a website, that’s the hosting server. You could do every other performance trick, but if you have one of those $5 or $10 economy web hosting packages from sites like BlueHost, HostGator or GoDaddy, you are severely capping your performance potential.
So with hundreds of hosting options out there, how do you choose the right one? Look for words like Cloud Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, Managed Hosting, Virtual Private Server… These types of servers dedicate resources specifically to your website, giving you more performance and security. Personally, my clients are on Cloud Servers, and their websites typically run about 1 second load time.
🎥 Next up are Videos. Now, we totally recommend using videos in your marketing. They are far more engaging than simply photos alone. But it’s a fact that Videos take up a lot of bandwidth. So here’s 2 Best Practices:
- Limit the amount of videos you share on your web page, perhaps one or 2 would suffice.
- Rather than uploading your video directly onto your website, try putting it on YouTube or Vimeo, use their video hosting servers, then embed it onto your site.
📸 Next, let’s optimize your Images. Much like videos, we like images! We want to incorporate well-chosen graphics and photographs in your website. Aside from being selective, not putting too many images on the page, what can we do to the images that make the cut? Here’s 4 quick steps:
- Resize the image down to the actual size you will display it.
- Save it as a Web-friendly format like JPG or WebP, or PNG if you must have transparency.
- When prompted for Image Quality, try 5 or 6 on the scale of 1-12.
- Drop your image into a compression tool like Compressor.io or TinyPNG.com. Then, you are ready to upload the image to your website.
🔌 Plugins! These are the extra features you install onto your website… like popups, newsletter signups, eCommerce, appointment bookings, extra payment methods, there’s over 60,000 free plugins for WordPress. Plugins are great when you need that extra functionality.
But, we can get out of hand, install too many, clutter our website. A good rule of thumb is to only install essential plugins since each one will add to your site load time. Do some spring cleaning, audit your site, and make sure you don’t have any unnecessary plugins slowing down your site.
5. External Services
🧩 Finally, consider how many External Services your website is calling out to. That might be Google Analytics for tracking, HotJar for heat mapping, Facebook for advertising, Adobe or Google for Fonts, and guess what? Every single service your site calls out to adds to your load time.
So what do we do? Like anything else, keep them to a minimum. Only load the 3rd-party essentials.
🥳 If you do these things, if you choose high-performance hosting, optimize your videos and images, clean up your plugins and external services, or hire a webmaster to do this for you, then I guarantee your website will load quicker, and hopefully your visitors will convert to customers.
I’m Leighton, and thank you for watching this Website Ownership Tip!