A commonly overlooked aspect of search engine optimization is site speed, or how fast your website loads. Sites that load slowly often get lower rankings in the search engines, and for good reason. People don’t have any time to waste online, and get frustrated when they must wait for a site to load. The search engines want their users to have as pleasant an experience as possible, and will therefore keep faster-loading sites in the top search results. Here are six ways on how to reduce your site’s loading time.
Pick Your Hosting Service Carefully
Your hosting service is a large factor in your site’s speed. Many factors, such as cloud hosting, server sophistication, and up-to-date server technology affect your site’s loading time. Make sure to research your hosting company before using it. If possible, get a dedicated server for your site, because shared servers also cause your site to load slowly.
Don’t Overdo It on the Plugins
Plugins are all fine and dandy, but too many of them can cause your site to slow down. Themes that have a lot of extra options and features can also make your site slow to appear. Try not to use unnecessary plugins, and look for themes that are light and useful.
Don’t Overdo It on the Ads
Ads are a great source of revenue, but they can also slow down your site. Ads that are hosted by a third-party website are especially prone to slow loading times. Try to stick with simple and light ads, such as banners, as opposed to video ads and ads that switch back and forth from one image to the next.
Each time a page redirects to another page, your visitor faces additional time waiting for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete. For example, if your mobile redirect pattern looks like this: “example.com -> www.example.com -> m.example.com -> m.example.com/home,” each of those two additional redirects makes your page load slower.
Take Advantage of Caching
Page caching is when web pages store static files (like HTML documents and images), which allow visitors to access that page more quickly, since the database does not have to retrieve each file every time there is a request.
The thing with caching, though, is that in most cases it only works for repeat visitors. First-time site visitors won’t have the site cached yet, since the page needs to load files at least once before it stores them.
Eliminate Website Baggage
Baggage can be any number of things, many of which have already been discussed (images, plugins, and external scripts).
Some other common examples of website baggage: Code that accumulates on your website (like when you go in to make quick fixes, without considering the most productive way to implement the changes). Databases that have become massive—this can particularly be the case with e-commerce sites with many orders. Too many backups done at the server level. And for WordPress users, excessive plugins, themes, saved post and page revisions, and massive media libraries
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