Kick it Up a Notch With These 4 Quick Methods.
Are you constantly frustrated with the time it takes to load your own website? Are page timeouts hurting your website traffic? It might seem like these are simply the downfalls of managing your own site, but there are actually several ways to combat this specific problem.
Despite the pronunciation, this method actually has nothing to do with money, nor should it cost you anything. Caching is actually a strategy to load webpages and content faster by storing the content in local or browser data after the first visit to your site. This allows the user to near instantly access the content that they have before based on the “cached” website they have in their browser files, provided your website hasn’t changed or updated since their last visit. Now you might be wondering, “if this is something that is fairly commonplace on the internet, why isn’t my website doing this?” While it is commonly done, it’s not default. There are many ways to set your website to store cached files in users’ browsers, but unfortunately in many Content Management Services like WordPress and Wix, it won’t be done automatically. Here at Tenaya Digital, we recommend W3 Total Cache as our caching plugin of choice– a free, highly rated plugin with years of great user feedback and consistent updates.
2. File Reduction
It’s easy to forget that despite the increasing presence of pictures and video on the web, this sort of content is vastly more complex, data-wise, than simple text, and therefore represents a much larger file size. The amount of data held within a picture is exponentially greater than most text and site formatting (video being even greater than that, essentially representing an entire image per “frame” of video) and therefore takes exponentially longer to download from the internet for the user. While we don’t recommend taking down your image and video content (thereby rendering your page easier to access and entirely boring) you can consider reducing the image dimensions and resolution to reduce overall file size. It might be nice to have crystal clear photos displayed front and center on your site, but in reality, most of the images on your site will be in the form of icons or other small additions to the background of the site, meaning a reduction in resolution could be completely unnoticeable, while still speeding up your site. When uploading images, first consider how large the image will be when displayed on the site. Then update the resolution to match, in order to keep your website clean and uncluttered.
3. Remove Unnecessary Plugins
While this is a fairly logical way to speed up your site, it’s something that many people forget, especially with plugins that aren’t visible on the user-end. However, even if the plugins don’t seem to be changing the UI and website experience, it’s likely that they still eat bandwidth to remain “functional” when the webpage is loaded. Removing the plugins that don’t factor into the website functionality can massively improve the speed of your site, and also reduce the likelihood of confusing plugin conflicts in the future.
4. Increase Your Hosting Plan
In this article we’ve almost entirely focused on potentially free options to improve your site, as we often try and do; however, we would be remiss to ignore the most straightforward option to speed up your site, despite the cost. Increasing the hosting plan you use with your site is a direct increase to the loading speed for most users, as long as their own machines can keep up. By combining this general upgrade to your site’s speed with reductions in extraneous content and adding caching for the user-side speedup, you’re almost guaranteed to have latency time on par with web giants like Amazon, Netflix, and news organizations.