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Speeding up Your Site

How fast is fast enough, in regards to website load times? Is four seconds fast enough? According to research, each additional second of load time can result in five-percent more viewers abandoning your page. That translates to a 25-percent abandonment rate, at four seconds loading time: a quarter of your visitors. For e-commerce sites, the page speed is even more critical. As little as one second of delay in your site load time can result in a seven-percent loss in conversions.

A slow site can have an impact even greater than lost viewers and conversions. Few potential visitors may find your site at all! Google and other search engines include page speed in their rankings, making a streamlined quick-loading site much more likely to be found by someone searching in your field. Fortunately, we have a few simple tricks to help speed up your website and increase your business.

Images and Videos

The largest files on websites, and thus, the slowest to load, are images and videos. However, you can follow a few simple tips to help speed up your site when working with these.

1) Resize your images. Look at your site and note how you are using each image. For example, if your logo only contains a small corner of your site, then you don’t need a large resolution. Open your photo in any photo editing software, and resize to something more appropriate. This can reduce the load time of your page dramatically.

2) Compress and optimize your images and videos. Once you’ve resized your images, you can optimize them without losing any quality. Several free websites can be used to optimize images, such as https://compressor.io/.

Optimize Your Code

In addition to your images, you can optimize your website code following these suggestions:

1) Minify your HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files. When minifying files, you are removing extra whitespace, shortening the code, and reducing the file size. It is imperative that you save an unmodified copy of the file for future use, as minified files are much more difficult to edit by hand. One online tool for minification can be found here: http://refresh-sf.com .

2) Combine external CSS and JavaScript. Each time your website must reach out to another site to download a CSS or JavaScript file, there is a small delay, which can be avoided by hosting the files locally and combining them into a single file. In addition to minification, this can greatly speed up your site!

3) Defer your JavaScript. By loading your JavaScript files in the footer of your page, you allow the rest of the page to load and display more quickly. Otherwise, your site has to wait for all external files to load before displaying.

Server

While we won’t go into too much detail, one cause of a delayed website can be a slow website host. You’ll want to make sure that your host uses gzip compression, caching, expires headers, and SSD storage.

Remember, the speed of your site directly impacts your business. If you don’t want to undergo the hassle of doing these yourself, then consider hiring an SEO agency, and they’ll be more than happy to help!

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