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How To Decrease Your Site’s Page Load Time

Slow websites influence bounce rates, conversion rates, and even your search engine rankings. That said, I’m surprised by the number of sites that are still gruelingly slow. Adam showed me a site today that was taking in excess of 10 seconds to load. That poor person thinks they’re saving a couple of bucks on hosting… instead they’re losing tons of money because prospective clients are bailing on them.

We’ve grown our readership quite a bit here, and I have no doubt that some of the success has been because we migrated to Flywheel, a managed WordPress host with great caching and a Content Delivery Network.

Here Are 9 Deadly Mistakes that Increase Your Page Load Time:

  1. No Caching – ensure your website utilizes Caching to increase speed. Modern content management systems store content within a database and merge it with design templates to produce the outputted page. The database request and publishing are costly, so caching engines save the output for a standard amount of time so no queries are necessary.
  2. No Ajax – while you want core content to be readable and displayed for search engines and loaded upon opening a page, there are other elements that are secondary and can be loaded after the page loads via JavaScript. Ajax is the common method for this… a page is loaded and then other content is requested after the page loads – querying additional content, ad servers, etc.
  3. Too Much JavaScript – modern sites are so complex that they incorporate third-party scripts from all over the web. Using a CMS, you may also have themes and plugins all loading separate JavaScript files. Unnecessary calls to multiple script files can be reduced by calling them all in a single file. Scripts can also be deferred to load elements after the page loads.
  4. Too Many Redirects – avoid using embedded resources that redirect to other pages. And utilize direct links within your own navigation. One example is if your site is secure, you want to ensure every element in the site, like images, aren’t referred to at their non-secure URL. That would require every image on a page to get redirected properly to the secure link.
  5. No HTML5 and CSS3 – modern frameworks are lightweight and faster to load on sites. What developers and designers used to have to execute with images and JavaScript can now use CSS animations and advanced design effects. These load much faster by modern browsers.
  6. No Minification – Script file and CSS file sizes can be compressed by reducing unnecessary elements (like line feeds, commenting, tabs, and spaces. Removing these elements is called minifying. Some CMS systems can also do this automatically as the site loads and caches.
  7. Huge Images – End users often upload images directly from their camera or phone to the web… the problem is that these problems are often several megabytes. Add a bunch to a site and your site will slow down significantly. Tools like Kraken can be used prior to uploading the images – or integrated to a site to automatically compress images so they look great but have a smaller file size.
  8. Native Social Buttons – native social buttons are terrible. Each of them is loaded independently from the social media site and little attention is paid to how fast they load. Try to use third-party services that will drastically improve their load time – or post-load the buttons so they don’t impact your site speed at all.
  9. No CDN – content delivery networks have servers throughout the globe that store and deliver static files closer to the individual geographically. Using a CDN is a fantastic way of increasing your page speed, especially if there are a lot of images. Be sure to check out BunnyCDN.

Here’s the infographic, 9 Tips to Decrease Page Load Time, from TruConversion. 378

Reduce Page Speed

Disclosure: I utilized our affiliate links throughout this post.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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