8 Tips That’ll Help You Create a Fast Loading Website

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A fast-loading site is essential to securing a competitive advantage in the online world.

53% of users will leave a mobile page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. And desktop users are only marginally more patient, in most cases.

The truth is, most visitors to your site don’t have to be there. They can take their business to another online outlet in seconds. So it’s vital you nail that page load time.

Here are 8 great – and easy – ways to make your site load like lightning.

1. Optimize Image Sizes

If you’ve got a massive image on your site, it’ll be big in terms of MB too. Resize it to the maximum size it will ever appear on your site, and you’ll save your users a lot of loading time (and data for mobile users).

Also consider using a CMS where you can upload alternative picture sizes to be delivered to smaller displays (smartphones, tablets). By doing this, there’s less resizing and requesting for the browser to cope with.

And while you’re optimizing image sizes, check they’ve all got alt tags. It’s good SEO practice!

2. Ditch the Excess

Are your page elements there because they help, or because you think they look nice?

If it’s the latter, you need to question if they’re needed or not. The more there is on a page, generally the longer it’ll take to load. Particularly if it’s bandwidth-heavy material.

Be cruel to your site to be kind to your users. Strip it back and refine.

3. Do You Need JavaScript?

Be honest. Is it all for show? Could you do it another, simpler, way? JavaScript can make sites heavy and lengthen loading times – particularly when the site is loading in an older browser.

If you need to use JavaScript, be sure to defer it so it’s the last thing to load. That way, at least users can see your site before the script adds the ‘special effects’.

4. Get AMPed

The Accelerated Mobile Project (AMP) is a Google-led open-source initiative looking to help everyone improve their mobile sites.

With the number of mobile internet users rising, it made sense for Google to take this step – it wants that new demographic to find what they need without having to wait around for slow sites.

Get on board with AMP and follow its ‘best practice’ advice to make sure you’re not slowing down users for no good reason.

5. Dealing With Multimedia

If you don’t need to host audio and video, don’t. Wherever possible (and let’s be honest, it’s nearly always possible) you should upload videos to a third party site like YouTube or Vimeo and then embed the video on your own site.

So long as the multimedia appears, why waste your own bandwidth and your users’ time?

And most big video sites will even export the embed code you’ll need at the click of a button, so it’s not realistically going to cost you any more time, either.

One other note of warning though – always make sure auto-play is turned off.

Not only can it slow down the user experience, most people find it excruciating to deal with. Especially when they’re searching through tabs to find the noisy one.

Some browsers have even responded to the practice by building features to let you permanently mute those sites.

6. Minify, Minify, Minify

Minification is the art of writing clean and efficient code.

Now, we’ve already talked about ditching unnecessary page elements, but to be clear, this is not the same thing.

This is about using fewer lines of code to achieve the same effect.

Sometimes, old code is left behind from previous site iterations and serves no purpose. Sometimes, sites format line by line when they could use a cascading style sheet (CSS). And sometimes developers leave comments behind on live sites by mistake.

All of these might not affect the end result, but it’s more for your users’ browsers to parse. So it will inevitably slow them down – and when the code starts to fill up with junk, that slowdown becomes very noticeable.

7. Inline CSS for Small Sites

If your site is really basic, and particularly if it’s a ‘one-pager’, use inline CSS rather than a separate stylesheet.

For very simple sites, referring the browser request out to an external CSS source will just slow things down, and doesn’t make much sense for you, either.

Keep all your CSS code up in the header using style tags. The browser will ‘read’ this first before rolling out the style on the content which follows.

8. The Faster the DNS…

… the faster your site will be. This isn’t a design point: it’s a technical point, but it’s important. Because no matter how much you optimize your design, your loading time can easily be slowed down.

A DNS (Domain Name System) server will dictate how fast domain names are re-routed to the relevant IP address which serves up all the site data.

If that connection is slow, it can cause browsers to ‘hang’ while loading. And users will close the tab.

So if your DNS is letting you down, consider using tricks, tips, and tools to help you speed things up.

Building your Fast-Loading Website

By the time you’ve worked your way through this list, your site should be a speed demon.

However, it’s not quite as fast-loading you want it to be, there are lots of other ways you can optimize your site.

Keep reading and learn how to maintain and improve your existing site – while driving loads of new traffic into your marketing funnel.