The goal of website optimization is to improve the performance of your website through the use of tools, sophisticated strategy, and analysis. The term can have many interpretations, but it generally refers to all the technical and marketing methods used to attract visitors and engage them in what a website offers.
Website optimization is all about enhancing your user experience to increase the chances of visitors converting to customers on your website. Optimizing your website is essential to enhance the efficacy of your site’s visits and improve its returns. The more traffic your site gets, the more potential it has for increasing your business’s revenue.
This article will introduce some of the most useful ways to increase your website optimization, both in search engine marketing and conversion rate optimization.
The Importance of Optimization
The quality of a website’s performance, known as site speed, refers to how quickly a browser can load fully operational web pages from that site. A faster site speed will provide a superior user experience, while a slower one will be frustrating to visitors. Slow-loading websites can drive consumers away. Sites that load fast, on the other hand, generally receive more traffic and have greater conversion rates.
Visitors are more likely to stay longer if a site’s speed is fast; they’re also less likely to bounce and more likely to convert. As a result, Google has included site speed as a ranking factor in its search tool.
On-page SEO and website speed optimization can both help your site’s conversions by improving page load times. Since faster sites are more appealing to visitors and search engines, optimizing the speed of your website may also result in a boost in SEO and discoverability.
People want websites that load quickly. 2 to 5 seconds is the target website load time. However, each additional second beyond 2 seconds increases bounce rates – visitors are more likely to become frustrated and leave. About 40 percent of Internet users have reported abandoning a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Furthermore, two seconds is the expected load time for desktop sites.
How to Improve Your Website Load Time
Take Advantage of Browser Caching
Caching is one of the most significant tactics you can employ to make your site faster. You instruct your visitors’ browsers to cache some (or all) of the static files on your site by enabling browser caching. Because visitors who come back won’t have to reload your site completely each time, subsequent visits should result in considerably faster loading times.
There are several methods to use browser caching in WordPress, and if you haven’t set them up yet, it’s time to do so.
Employ Keep-Alive on Your Server
When you visit a website, your browser usually establishes a connection to the server and uses that to transfer the material it requires. However, clients may need to make new connections for each file they wish to exchange if you haven’t set your server up correctly.
Naturally, this is not a practical technique to load modern websites with multiple files. Ensure your web server has either a “keep-alive” HTTP header or persistent connection enabled to prevent that scenario.
Use GZIP Compression
GZIP is a data compression method that may be used to decrease the file sizes of several parts of your website. GZIP compression, in certain circumstances, can significantly reduce the weight of your pages by up to 70%.
The smaller the page is, the faster it will load. Most web hosting providers support GZIP compression on nearly all plans.
Avert Landing Page Redirects
Many people previously recommended setting up a mobile-friendly version of your WordPress website for both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and user satisfaction. To make the strategy work, you needed to set up landing page redirects that take mobile visitors to the “correct” version of your site and make them cacheable to speed things up.
Now, since mobile devices have surpassed desktop browsers in terms of overall traffic, building numerous versions of your website makes little sense. Instead, you want to use a single, mobile-friendly design that adjusts to all screen sizes.
As a general rule, avoiding redirects whenever possible is recommended. Each redirection is another barrier to entry for visitors, and reducing them can help speed up your site’s load time.
Try A Content Delivery Network (CDN)
On most hosting plans (except for cloud hosting), your website is housed on a single server in a specific location. To load your website, every visitor must connect to this server, leading to delays.
A CDN is a network of computers that stores copies of websites. This can mean that your site is hosted in the United States but utilizes a CDN with servers located worldwide. For example, if a visitor from Brazil attempts to access your website, the CDN will deliver it from its South American servers.
There are several excellent CDN solutions for WordPress. Most of those services, as you might guess, aren’t free. However, if your website is well-known, investing a little money in a CDN can make a significant difference in how quickly it loads.
Disable Query Strings
Queries strings are the suffixes that can appear at the end of URLs, beginning with special characters such as question marks or ampersands.
The purpose of query strings is to give you the option of finding specific versions of an asset or circumventing caching restrictions. You can utilize query strings to force your browser to retrieve the most up-to-date version of a file.
Ideally, you should set your website to serve the most up-to-date versions of any files that it advises visitors to cache. If your website currently uses query strings to send users to the latest version of a file, remove them from static resources when possible. Doing this will help to speed up load times and prevent unnecessary HTTP requests.
You can reduce the file sizes of those scripts by minifying them. Minification is a straightforward technique for removing needless characters from your site’s code.
Removing the empty lines within the code may reduce its file size. That might not have a significant effect on a few lines of code. However, considering how many scripts a modern website has, minification can make a big difference in loading speed.
Specify Your Website’s Character Set
Every text element you see on the Internet might be represented by a character set, namely, a collection of numbers that include representations for all of the text elements you encounter. For example, the most popular character set for websites, UTF-8, has distinct numbers for over 10,000 characters.
Indicating your site’s character set can help reduce the time it takes for browsers to interpret or parse the rest of its HTML pages. You can change or indicate a specific character set for your website without editing each page’s header in several ways.
If you’re using WordPress, you may change the character set used by your website by editing wp-config.php in your server’s root directory.
Aim To Reduce Domain Name System (DNS) Lookups
Your browser must query DNS records every time you enter a URL to identify the IP address associated with it. Often, this process is quick; however, if your website has a lot of third-party resources, DNS lookups might quickly consume potential for optimal load speed.
It’s wise to include third-party resources and scripts on your website as a method to ensure that every file downloaded from the site comes from a single place or URL. With most libraries and scripts, you’re free to copy and distribute those files on your server, so there shouldn’t be any issues.
Select The Best Hosting Provider
The baseline performance of each hosting company varies.
You should look for a web host that performs well in all areas. It’s essential to do your homework when it comes to web hosting. Every website builder and hosting service will tell you they’re the quickest, so it’s up to you to compare features and costs and read as many reviews as possible before making a decision.
You can always switch web hosting services if you want to, but it’s a lot of work. The key is making the correct decision first to save yourself time, frustration, and resources. If you pick the right service and hosting plan, your WordPress website should launch well out of the starting gate.
Site speed is key to overall optimization and undoubtedly a factor you should consider when boosting performance. While traffic is a good sign of business growth, more traffic can cause sites to become slower. The right strategy and plans can prevent this, preparing your website for more visitors.
Bright Hosting offers affordable but quality hosting for those larger-traffic sites. We offer quality hosting that maximizes site performance, with different plan options depending on our clients’ specific needs.