Improving Website Speed: 14 Actionable Tips for 2023

By Michael J. Sammut

Gone are the days when website speed was just an option; now, it’s a must.

Slow page load times can negatively impact user experience, search engine rankings, and your bottom line. In today’s digital world, desktop and mobile users demand lightning-fast websites. Mobile speed is even more critical than ever. So how can you ensure your website is blazingly fast in 2023? Here are 14 tips to help you outrank your competitors and provide the best user experience possible.

  1. Conduct Regular Speed Tests
    Testing website speed frequently is an essential part of website maintenance. Website speed can vary over time based on changes made to the site, outdated themes or tools, or technological degradation. Using tools like Google PageSpeed, you can determine your website’s speed ranking and make necessary adjustments. This practice can keep your website running quickly and positively impact your search engine rankings.
  2. Optimize Content for Speed
    Content structure plays a crucial role in website speed and readability. Use excerpts or “read more” tags for websites with long-form content to break up content into manageable chunks. Consider dividing long articles or posts into multiple pages, and remove comments from the page content. Use links to break up heavy content, such as photo galleries or downloadables. All of these tactics can help keep your site speedy and user-friendly.
  3. Don’t Hotlink
    Hotlinking, or copying the source of an image from one website to another, is a major speed killer. It’s also unethical in many cases and can come with legal or copyright considerations. Host images on your server to ensure fast loading times. Consider using a CDN to protect against hotlinking.
  4. Don’t Overcomplicate Things
    Keeping website design and functionality simple is the best way to ensure a fast site. Adding too many effects and features can significantly slow down your site. Evaluate your site’s analytics to see which features are being used and which are slowing you down. Stripping out unnecessary elements and features can significantly impact site speed and usability.
  5. Compress It
    Compressing website files can save bandwidth and decrease load times. Gzip is a single-file/stream lossless data compression utility that saves files in a zip format that browsers can unzip and render quickly. Add a little code to your htaccess file to enable gzip compression.
  6. Consider a CDN
    A content delivery network (CDN) can dramatically increase speeds and save bandwidth. A CDN hosts files across a network of servers rather than a single location. When someone visits your site, the data load from the server location closest to them, reducing server load and protecting your site from traffic surges or DDoS attacks. We highly recommend, NitroPack!
  7. Clean Up Your Database
    Cleaning your website’s database and removing anything no longer in use can improve speed. A smaller, lighter database will return files faster, making for lighter, easier-to-manage backups.
  8. Minimize TTFB (Time to First Byte)
    The faster the first byte arrives at a browser to render, the faster subsequent data is likely to load. Google recommends TTFB be less than 200 milliseconds. Use tools like Google Lighthouse to evaluate your site’s TTFB and make necessary adjustments.
  9. Start Caching Now
    Caching stores frequently requested files on the user’s device for a set period. Subsequent page loads can be more efficient with caching enabled. While caching won’t do much for new visitors, it can be an amazing speed saver for returning visitors or people browsing multiple pages of your site. We highly recommend, NitroPack!
  10. Eliminate Unnecessary Redirects
    Redirects can be a real pain when it comes to website speed. While some are necessary, having too many can slow down your website’s load time. It’s essential to keep them to a minimum. To eliminate unnecessary redirects, use a tool such as the Redirect Mapper to determine what redirects are active on your site. Then, eliminate any that you don’t need. In the future, consider updating outdated pages instead of adding new ones with similar content. This strategy is much better for search optimization and ensures all links continue working!
  11. Pick the Right Hosting
    SiteGround HostingThe right hosting account can make or break your website’s speed. If you’ve tried many other fixes listed here and are still experiencing speed issues, your hosting provider could be to blame. With so many options available, finding the best hosting plan for your budget can be challenging. Regarding hosting built for speed, look for a dedicated server option. Most website owners prefer VPS hosting, which offers faster load times, but you don’t have to manage the hosting yourself. If you’re unsure where to start hosting, here’s a breakdown of seven hosting options built for speed. Hands down, the best host out there is SiteGround.
  12. Minimize HTTP Requests
    The number of page elements that have to download every time a user visits your website dramatically affects its load time. This includes everything from images to stylesheets to scripts; these front-end components can account for as much as 80 percent of load time. The best solution is to use combined files to reduce the number of requests. That means putting all CSS in one stylesheet or combining scripts wherever possible. Ultimately, it all comes down to lightweight code and best practices. The more your browser has to read, the longer it will take to load.
  13. Strip Out Unnecessary Plugins
    A website with too many plugins running constantly can slow it down. Get rid of plugin redundancies where possible, and ditch plugins that aren’t updated regularly and don’t work with current versions of your website environment. For things that you can do manually, stop using plugins. They are just slowing your website down.
  14. Enable Lazy Loading
    Lazy loading can speed up your website, especially for longer scrolling pages. This technique loads content from top to bottom of the page and works great if your page has many images below the scroll (even if it doesn’t, lazy loading can still help). The website can load faster and conserve resources by loading only the images the user will see.

Website speed is a critical factor that impacts website performance, user experience, and search engine ranking. The tips outlined in this article can help you optimize your website for speed, providing users a better experience and increasing your search engine ranking.

Speed optimization is an ongoing process. Regularly check your website’s speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and make necessary adjustments to keep your website running smoothly and efficiently.

If this seems a bit much to tackle, head over here and let us see if we are good for your website maintenance needs.

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