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hosted by: John Dockins
hosted by: John Dockins

Top 6 Things That Speed Up Your Website

Weekly tips, strategy, and advice for building & leveraging your website to maximize your business.

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Show Notes

Welcome to episode 14 of Websites Made Simple podcast where we are covering The Top 6 Things That Speed Up Your Website.

In this episode of Websites Made Simple Podcast I am covering website speed. 

It’s simply not enough to slap together a templated website, change the images and copy and call it good…expecting the customers and money to just flow in.

I have said it before and will keep saying it, building the website your business deserves takes work. Real hard work…BUT…you can do it. There are no quick solutions for doing it right. I’m here to help remove the complication and make sure you have all the tips and tools you need to get it done. So let’s hit the afterburner and talk about speed.

Let’s get after it.

You'll Learn

Resources

Basic Elements

Creating a Baseline Test

Testing is free so use them all to get a complete picture:

GTMetrix, Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights

If you only want to use one, I prefer GTMetrix because it presents the results in an easy to read and understandable way.

Keep in mind these are good indicators of your page speed and your website performance. But they do vary. The goal is to improve from this point.

All of the following tips to improve your website performance are meant to make improvements over your baseline tests.

Choose the Right Web Host

First, you need to understand the 3 types of web hosting: Shared, VPS, and Dedicated. These are listed in order of cost and ease of use or maintenance.

Shared hosting is the least expensive as you are sharing server resources with other websites. While this might be fine to start with or for low volume traffic websites, you most certainly will want to upgrade as your business grows.

With VPS hosting you are still sharing server resources but you have your own dedicated portion of those resources. This is a good middle ground if you are not ready to step up to dedicated hosting.

And as the name suggests, dedicated web hosting is where the entire web server resources are dedicated to you. This is also why it is the most expensive option but it does provide performance improvements as you are not sharing those server resources.

KeyCDN explains this using the analogy of living in an apartment vs. living in a condo. When you live in an apartment, you share certain facilities and amenities like parking lots and perhaps laundry rooms and you have access to the building’s maintenance team. This would be Shared Hosting.

Contrary, when you live in a condo you don’t generally use common facilities and spaces. Further, you’re responsible for certain repairs and maintenance. There may also be fewer residents in the building. This would be VPS Hosting.

Lastly, if you own a home where you don’t share any space or resources and are fully responsible for all maintenance, well this would be Dedicated Hosting.

If you made a good choice when you first set up your website, then you are good to go for this first one. How do you know if you made a good choice, well here are a few web host companies that are consistently viewed by the web development community as having reliable and good web hosting services:

  • Siteground
  • A2 Hosting
  • Cloudways
  • Kinsta
  • Wp Engine

If you are using one of these hosting companies then you can safely assume you are good on speed and performance as it relates to your website, however, if you are using something different it doesn’t mean your host is bad, but I would highly recommend you double-check the following to ensure you have chosen wisely.

  1. Are you using shared hosting or dedicated?
  2. Is your host using SSD for improving performance?
  3. Are they running the latest versions of PHP
  4. What is their server up-time performance?

There are several more things that can make a difference in your web host and perhaps that will be a future episode. For today, let’s just make sure you are using a solid hosting provider.

Activate a CDN

Content Delivery Networks (CDN) are services that provide servers around the world that work together to deliver internet content quickly. In simple terms, if your webserver is located in the US, the time it would take for someone in the UK to have your site load is very different. And someone in Australia would even be slower yet.

A CDN allows for your website to load quicker for all locations by utilizing the server network. And you should use one. When your website is hosted on one server, all visitors, regardless of geolocation, request resources from the same server.

This can present a couple of problems. First the speed at which your website performs for visitors can greatly depend on how close they are to the webs server location.

Second, during high traffic times to your site, website performance will be negatively impacted. And since this is a time you would be hoping for greater visitor conversions, you can see why this would be problematic.

A CDN helps solve these issues by routing the request from the visitor location to the closest web server greatly improving overall the speed of your website.

Reduce Image Sizes

This one can be pretty straight forward in the intent which is simply, reduce your image file sizes. However, there are a few methods you can employ to help with this.

First, you can reduce your image size before adding to your website. Any image editing application will help with this. Simply reduce your image size to the resolution you need on your web page.

The second method is to use 3rd party software to help reduce the size and add compression. You can of course use a free tool like tinypng.com which will reduce your file size. Or you can use a plugin like ShortPixel which can be set up to compress images as you add them to your WordPress media library.

My recommendation is to reduce the image scale to match what you need, and then to use ShortPixel and have it set to auto compress. This process can take a 5MB image down to just a few KB.

Utilize Lazy Loading

Lazy loading images or videos simply means that the web page will only load them as the user scrolls down the page and they are needed to be loaded. This greatly improves the page load time because it will delay loading your images until needed.

If you are unfamiliar with lazy loading, popular sites like Youtube and Netflix use this feature. When the site loads you see enough videos to fill the screen, but then more will load as you scroll down.

Enable Compression

Simply put, the smaller your web files the faster your website will load. You should utilize today’s standard which is GZip compression.

Gzip is a file format and application that locates strings of similar code in your text files, then temporarily replaces them to make the files smaller. This is typically done with your HTML and CSS files as they have repeated code making it ideal candidates for GZip.

Most web servers can compress files in Gzip format before sending them for download, either by calling a third-party module or using built-in routines. This can reduce download time by about 70%. And since 90+% of all Internet traffic travels through browsers that support Gzip, it’s a great option for speeding up your site.

Defer JS & Minimize Code

Deferring a file means temporarily preventing it from loading until after other elements have loaded. A good area where this makes sense is to defer larger files, like JavaScript, to ensure the rest of your content loads without any delays.

Sounds complicated but here is my tip for you that will make all of this far easier than it might sound, and that is to use the plugin WP Rocket.

WP Rocket Plugin

This is a paid plugin but pricing starts at only $49/year and enabling all of these becomes as simple as checking a box. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

With WP Rocket you can defer and minimize your files, enable browser caching, turn on GZip compression, utilize lazy loading for your images, activate Cloudflare CDN, optimize Google Fonts, and so much more.

Look, if you want to improve your webpage load times and overall website speed, then make your life easier and simply install WP Rocket.

Retest

Ok, and the last one on the list is to retest your website with the same speed tools you used at the beginning. If you have gone through this list, utilize these methods to reduce file sizes and performance boosts, then you will be well on your way to a blazing fast website.

If your test results still show lower grades than you would like, keep working on the recommendations it provides. Make the changes and retest again.

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I am a proud affiliate of some of these tools. That means if you click the links and then make a purchase of those products, I will earn a small commission. Affiliate links absolutely do not cost you anything additional. 

All of the affiliate links are clearly marked for your benefit. Please know that I recommend these products and chose to be an affiliate because I truly  believe in them, use them, and know they work.

About the Show

Created for the non-techie entrepreneur, John Dockins reveals all of his website and online business strategies, income sources and killer marketing tips so that you can be ahead of the pack with your website and online business. 

Self proclaimed “coffee addict”, you’ll learn how to build authority online using content management systems like WordPress, email marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, and much more so that you can create something amazing without burning yourself out. 

about john dockins

YOUR HOST

John Dockins

Websites Made Simple Podcast

John is a family man who also owns his own web design agency and has won several design awards for his work.

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