Do you have a business that depends on online sales? If your answer is yes, your business depends on your website’s performance. A delay of just one second can decrease customer satisfaction by as much as 16%.
Consumers won’t shop at sites that deliver slow load times, with 79% of them unlikely to return to your site if it’s slow.
You depend on website performance more than you realize. That makes it a top priority to improve your site’s performance. Even a few milliseconds can make a massive difference for your business.
Read on to discover the top tips to optimize your website to maximize performance.
- Run Page Speed Tests
Fortunately, there are dozens of tools that will help you determine your site’s loading time. The first tool is Google’s Page Speed Insights. This is a free tool that tells you how long it takes for the page to load.
The important statistic you should monitor is the First Contentful Paint. This is the first instance of a browser rendering content. If it’s slow, there may be redirect issues or your website host is slow.
The other tools are GT Metrix and Pingdom. Each tool will give you slightly different scores and recommendations. For best results, run all three and use those recommendations to improve performance.
- Handle Images and Videos with Care
Images and videos are the biggest resource hogs on your site. They are huge files, and if you don’t handle them properly, your website performance will suffer.
Images need to be compressed. Compressing an image makes the file size smaller while keeping the quality of the image. If you have a WordPress site, you can use an image compression plugin.
You can compress images using Photoshop or PhotoScape X and then upload them to your site. That’s a good option if you don’t use WordPress or don’t want to install a plugin.
Videos shouldn’t be uploaded directly to your site. What are the alternatives? Upload the video to YouTube or another video hosting service and embed the video on your site.
These hosting services also allow you to adjust the privacy options, so if you have exclusive content, you can keep it that way.
- Check With Your Hosting Company
Did you find that your loading time was slow? You should check with your hosting company to make sure you’re on the right hosting plan.
Most hosting plans are shared hosting plans. These are usually sufficient for small sites that don’t get a lot of traffic. The downside is that you’re sharing resources with dozens of other websites.
Another website on that server could get hit with a denial of service attack or see a sudden spike in traffic. The server will divert resources to that website, leaving other sites like yours to slow down dramatically.
Shared hosting plans sometimes have limits as to how much traffic your site can get. You may be better off upgrading to a cloud hosting plan or a virtual private server.
- Optimize Wisely
Running your site through a page speed test will give you a lot of information. You may come across some common suggestions, such as minifying code, or using GZIP compression.
It’s OK if you don’t know what they mean. You can install an optimization plugin that speeds up your site. A few popular plugins are WP Rocket, WP Super Cache, and W3 Total Cache.
- Use Plugins Sparingly
Some of these suggestions recommend that you use plugins to optimize performance. Plugins are great to handle small tasks that you don’t need to code.
You have to be wary of relying on too many plugins on your site. Each plugin that you use has to load every time someone visits your site.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use plugins. Prioritize your needs and plugins. Eliminate the plugins that are nice to have, but aren’t necessary.
- Go Beyond the Metrics
These metrics are great for telling you statistics about your site. In a lot of cases, you need to go deeper to understand how people use your site.
Heatmaps allow you to go beyond the metrics to learn how people use each page on your site. This data is incredibly valuable because you can learn what your customers do on the site.
A heatmap follows the movements visitors make on your site so you can measure website engagement. You can learn which buttons are clicked the most and what information is most important to visitors.
Companies like decibel.com, HotJar, and Inspectlet offer heatmaps. You install the code on your site, and the software does the tacking for you.
You can then adjust the design of the site to focus on the information that your customers are looking for.
- Run A/B Tests
One other way to improve the performance of your website is to run A/B tests. The design changes that come from A/B tests can increase conversions by 400%.
You’d be crazy not to run tests to make improvements to your site. What are things that you can test on your website? Headlines, images, button colors, page layouts, opt-in boxes and so much more. If it’s on your site, you can test it.
You should pick one element to test at a time. A lot of marketers make the mistake of testing more than one item at a time, like the button color and headline on a landing page. You won’t be able to attribute any improvements to a single element.
Tips to Improve Website Performance
Your business depends on your website’s performance. It has a huge impact on the customer experience.
Prioritize website performance, and you will see improvements in conversion rates and sales. Customers will be happier, too.
Visit the Business section of this site for more ways to grow your business.