A few years ago, Google ruffled the feathers of search engine optimization companies by including webpage speed as a primary factor when determining a site’s ranking. In the long run, this is probably for the best. Nobody wants to browse – not to mention, purchase from – a site that is painstakingly slow. But in the short term, it may mean that your site needs immediate attention. Let’s jump right in and take a look at 5 tactics we use to increase site speed.
1. Constantly Monitor Your Site Speed
How will you know what visitors are experiencing on your pages if you don’t check it yourself? It’s a good practice to regularly subject your site to speed monitoring. There are a lot of free online tools to do this, most notably Google Analytics Site Speed Monitor and Pingdom’s Page Loading Time app. This is a must when attempting to increase site speed.
2. Upgrade Your Server
If you have the monetary means to upgrade, then consider purchasing a dedicated or VPS server. Most of the affordable web hosting services – especially those that offer free hosting – put you in a shared hosting account, thereby limiting you to a shared amount of memory and CPU usage.
3. Streamline Your Files and Codes
This method involves a multitude of solid options that need to be uniquely catered to fit your site. To begin, it might be best to check with an online speed test engine for recommendations on which files to optimize. It could be any of the following: server side code, script code snippets, CSS sprites usage or image optimization.
4. Use Browser Caching
If you feel that your website has already so many visitors and page views each day, you may opt to use browser caching. When a visitor checks out your website, the pages and its static resources are stored (or cached) in the user’s computer. As soon as the visitor returns, the browser will simple call the cached version of your site. You can set which particular pages you can cache, and how long it will take before the cache is refreshed or deleted.
5. Employ a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
This is similar to browser caching. But instead of the visitor’s computer generating and storing the cached resources, a network of servers will do the caching. These servers are super fast, and will deliver the pages to your site visitors in a speedy manner. For more background on the importance of content delivery networks, check-out this post from our SEO Best Practices series.