10 Ways To Make Your Website Faster

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- August 24, 2022

10 Ways To Make Your Website Faster

If your customers find your business through your website, having a website that loads quickly is important. With 53% of mobile users abandoning websites that take over three seconds to load [1], it’s essential that your website is optimised. Not only will your users leave your site, but you also face potential penalties on how search engines rank your website. Search engines want to give their customers the best service by providing the best search results – with so many competing sites out there, website speed is an easy way for Google to filter down the top results.

There are several steps that you can take in order to make your website load faster, and stay on top of competition. We’ve listed ten, and provided some useful information too.

  1. Select a fast, reliable server for your website
  2. Remove unnecessary CSS and JavaScript
  3. Minify CSS & JS
  4. Optimise images for your website
  5. Compression (gZip etc.)
  6. Use CDNs
  7. Use Caching
  8. Defer loading of non-essential files
  9. Remove unnecessary plugins
  10. Monitoring and Testing Speeds


Select a fast, reliable server for your website

Your server is where your website lives. Every time a user enters your website or interacts with it, your server has to process these requests and deliver the requested information back to the user. Without a fast server, preferably located in the country where your customers are, the communication between your website and your users will be slow. When selecting a hosting option, make sure you read and understand the specifications of where your server is hosted.

There are several different factors to consider when choosing a server, all of which impact the price:

  • Dedicated or Shared Hosting – With shared hosting, your website will be on the same server as countless others. If any of these other websites see a spike in traffic, your website could suffer. However, these are often more affordable than dedicated hosting.
  • SSD or HDD storage – Solid state drives are more reliable and frankly considerably faster. Most hosting options now include SSD storage, but it is important to check.
  • Bandwidth – This specifies how much data and visitor traffic can flow to and from your website. If you have plenty of users, this is a particularly important factor to consider.
  • Storage – Storage specifies refers to the amount you can store on your server. If you have a simple website, this should not be a primary concern. If your website has a CMS, blog, uploads or many images, this is a particularly important factor to consider.
  • Location – If your server is located in the US, and is serving UK based users, it will take longer for files to be sent than it would be if they were hosted in a UK data centre.
  • Backups – In the worst case scenario, where your website is hacked, a massive error happens or you break something, it is always good to have peace of mind that your files will be safe.

Remove unnecessary JavaScript and CSS

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) determine what your website should look like, while JavaScript handles how objects and elements on your site should behave when they are interacted with. Both of these are fundamental to a proper working website. However, often, unnecessary or redundant code is left on a website. This means that every time a user loads your website, they are aimlessly sent unnecessary JavaScript and CSS. The impact of this is that it can significantly reduce the load speed of your website.

Minify JavaScript and CSS

While on the topic of JS and CSS, minification is another solution for improving the load speed of your pages. Minification involves simply taking your existing JS and CSS files, and making them smaller. This involves removing comments, empty spaces and other elements. This can result in these files becoming up to 60% smaller in size! [2] Below shows a normal JavaScript code snipped and a minified snippet. [2]

Optimise Images on your website

Images can be large files, especially when left in large resolutions on your website. While images in large formats can look nicer, it is usually unnecessary and does not result in better quality images. This is especially true when users of your website load it in a mobile device. Some steps that can be taken to optimise images on your website include:

  • Cropping Images to make them smaller
  • Reduce the resolution (1920 x 1080 is not necessary!) – By halving this size, end quality is not particularly impacted, but page load times are
  • Select the right image format – image formats not only impact the speed of your website, but wrong formats can make reduce image quality
  • Use thumbnails where necessary – It is not always necessary to use the same image everywhere. For a product image on an eCommerce website, for example, a thumbnail image will show the user all of your products, without having to load the larger, full resolution product images they may see on a product page.


Use Compression Like gZip on your website

One of the easiest ways to speed up your website is to enable gZip compressing by default. By using a specific algorithm, your website data is compressed to a smaller format, before being sent to the user’s web browser. Once it is sent across the web, at a significantly faster rate, the browser will then decompress the files back to how they were on your server. This means that all website code, images, and other content are delivered, at the same quality, just at a faster rate.

Use CDNs (Content Delivery Networks)

A content delivery network is a clever way of loading key scripts and resources that your website uses faster. A CDN is a network of geographically distributed servers across the world, that coordinate to quickly deliver the necessary files to you. This is highly beneficial, as wherever the user is, there is likely a CDN server close to them. As a result, important assets are delivered to users much quicker. This also helps to reduce bandwidth costs, and eases pressure on your own server.

This video explains CDNs well:

Use Caching

Caching is when copies of essential files from your website are stored in a temporary location so that they can be accessed more quickly. When used on the web, much of the code required for your website to work is executed once, and the results saved. This means that when the next user enters your website, a great deal of the files and data can be loaded from the cache, rather than having to run all of that code again.

This saves significant time and can make your website significantly faster. However, be sure to activate this after you have finished building your website, otherwise, it could be some time for your changes to appear. For WordPress, there are several caching plugins you can use, such as W3 Total Cache.

Web caching diagram

Image Source:  [3] All My Web Needs – What is caching and why do I need it for my website?

Defer loading of non-essential files

When a webpage is loaded, each file is sequentially downloaded until the page is complete. If your site is loading several large images, or scripts, for example, these will likely be downloaded before other parts of the website. The problem with this is that while these are downloading, other parts of the page aren’t being displayed.

However, there’s a fix for this. It is possible to defer the loading of specific files and resources, so that the essential files that build up the scaffolding of your website are loaded first. This is often described as loading non-blocking resources first, or lazy-loading.

Once again, there are several different plugins and resources you can make use of to do this for you.

Remove unnecessary plugins

If you are using WordPress, Drupal or any other CMS that allows you to add plugins, this is arguably the easiest way to improve the speed of your website. Installing excessive plugins is a sure-fire way to slow down your website. For every plugin that is installed, and activated, several hundred or thousand lines of code have to be run. If you have too many plugins installed, this is an easy fix. Ideally, you should aim to have the minimum number of plugins installed, and try not to exceed a maximum of fifteen.

Often, when we take on a WordPress website managed by our customers, or others, there are a ton of unused or unnecessary plugins. When looking to speed up these websites, this is the first place we look.

Monitoring and Testing Speeds

It’s important to have a benchmark to test against when making changes to your website. You could just make changes and see if your website ‘feels’ faster, however, there are other factors such as your own connection at play. The best way to see how the speed of your changes affect your website is by making use of monitoring and testing tools. There are several tools you could use to do this:

You can find more advice on how to analyse and optimise your website from Google’s developer pages.


[1] https://www.marketingdive.com/news/google-53-of-mobile-users-abandon-sites-that-take-over-3-seconds-to-load/426070/

[2] https://www.imperva.com/learn/performance/minification/

[3] https://allmywebneeds.com/web-design/what-is-caching-and-why-do-i-need-it-for-my-website-server-side-caching-explained

Written by: Matt
August 24, 2022

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