A Guide to Speeding Up Your Website

Increase Your WordPress Website Speed

The internet is a fast-paced world that does not tolerate waiting for anything. Websites that load slowly are often exited within seconds and the visitor is not likely to return. In order to keep visitors on your site, and hopefully gain their business, you need to make your site as quick as possible. Let’s explore some ways you can do this.

Speed up Your CSS and Javascript

CSS and Javascript can both slow a site down considerably. One of the best ways to work around this is to allow compression. When looking for a host, make sure to choose one that will allow compression. Then you add the following to your .htaccess file:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-httpd-php text/php text/html text/plain text/css text/xml application/x-javascript text/javascript application/javascript text/x-js

BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent

You will find your page load speed greatly increases with this simple act.

Optimize Graphics

Graphics are important elements in any website. They are, however, one of the biggest culprits. The best thing to do is compress your images. The ideal form for full-color photos is JPEG. You need to be careful when compressing, however, as too much compressing can cause your image to lose quality and appear distorted. There are programs out there, like Photoshop and GIMP that will help you see what several different levels of compression look like, making it possible to determine which compression rate is best for you. If you are using WordPress, there are also multiple plugins available to optimize your images for you. Two of our favorite images smushing plugins are WP Smush and Kraken Image Optimizer. WP Smush offers lossless image smushing, while Kraken Image Optimizer offers both lossless and also what they describe as Intelligent Lossy Optimization, which can dramatically reduce the size of your images without a noticeable loss in quality.

Enable Caching

By enabling caching, you make it possible for certain elements of your site to stay pre-loaded so that the page does not have to fully load each time someone visits it. There are several free plugin for WordPress that will make this easy to accomplish including W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache.

Use a Content Delivery Network

A content delivery network (CDN) is a network of servers spread out over the globe. When someone pulls up your website, the network determines which of the servers is closest to the visitor and delivers the static content, such as photos, from that location. This helps avoid the bottlenecks created by multiple people being served by the same location.

Consider Page Size

Content is important on a website, but you don’t have to put it all on only a few pages. Create pages with a minimum amount of content and link to additional pages that can enhance the information. Take time to also consider each photo you want to post. Ask yourself if the photo does anything to add to the content of the page. If it doesn’t, don’t include it.

Less is More

When it comes to things like fancy templates or plug-ins, think minimal. The important part of your website is the content. Keep your pages clean and free of anything that doesn’t add value for your visitors.

Choose Your Host Wisely

Shared hosting can be horrible for a website that has a lot of information. Before choosing a host for your site, do your homework. Make sure you are able to include any extras you need to optimize loading times. The old saying that you get what you pay for is often true when it comes to hosts. While you don’t have to go with the most expensive choice, don’t allow cost to be a major factor in your final choice.

Optimize Your Homepage

While you may want your visitors to see important information immediately, you will be able to help them find things quicker if your page loads quickly. Instead of full articles, consider placing summaries with “read more” links to the full article. This not only allows the page to load faster, but also has the advantage of giving you an opportunity to make more of your content readily available.

Disable Hotlinking

Hotlinking occurs when people link directly to content, especially photos, on your website. In essence, they are stealing your bandwidth and the added traffic makes your page loading slower. A simple addition to your coding can prevent this.

Place this code in your root .htaccess file:

disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?Your Feed Name [NC] RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC] RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?feeds2.Your Feed [NC] RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

Hire a Professional

Learning all the ways to speed up your website can take a lot of time and be confusing if you do not have a lot of experience with coding. The time you spend trying to figure it all out can often be spent on other aspects of your business that are not only more enjoyable, but also more productive. It is often less stressful and more cost-effective to turn this over to a professional. Contact SimpleMachine today and find out what we can do to help you succeed in your business.

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