213--6 ways to improve your website's download speed_ref_index

6 ways to improve your website's download speed

Do you believe that the high bounce rate on your website is caused by its slow download speed? To avoid having users lose interest, follow our recommendations.

How to measure the current loading speed of your website

Before you apply the recommendations we are going to share below, you must be able to get a precise idea of the current loading speed on your site and its pages. Your own instinct is a good barometer and it can guide you a little bit about what to do, but there are also some very handy and easy-to-use tools like Google Page Speed ​​Insights and Pingdom that can give you a diagnosis and share specific recommendations with respect to the elements you need to improve.

How to optimize your website’s download speed

1. Use caching

To increase your website’s download speed, activating your server’s memory cache is a great idea. But what effect does it have precisely? The caching system helps make dynamic pages static by temporarily storing data on the web user’s computer, which helps increase the download speed during a subsequent visit.

By “dynamic”, we are referring to pages whose appearance varies according to the user’s interaction on the site, in contrast with static pages that always look the same. Therefore, a page that is “dynamic” will not be penalized by the considerable amount of effort required to download its data, as some of it will already be stored in the computer’s memory cache.

Photo: Unsplash

2. Use the CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Working as a network of cache servers, the CDN stores different resources to provide them to the user during their second visit on the website. Consequently, the use of a CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a great way to make it easier to access a page’s content and therefore, to increase the website’s download speed.

3. Optimize your images

If photos are essential to your website’s appearance, their at-times-imposing weight can greatly compromise your website’s download speed. To avoid this situation, you can apply these three tips:

  • Compress the format of your images as much as possible;
  • Compress the image to decrease its file size without compromising its quality (the compression applies mostly to PNG or GIF formats);
  • Reduce the file size of images by using JPEG formats, which have an ideal weight to be posted on a website.

If you choose to resize your image, doing so through a navigator may compromise its quality. Instead, it would be best to do so using special image editing software such as Photoshop.

Photo: Pexels

4. Change your web hosting service if necessary

When a server is shared amongst a large number of websites, as is the case with shared hosting, heavy traffic on one of the websites will reduce the download speed of all the others. This option may be inexpensive but it comes with a major drawback.  

In order to avoid facing this type of problem, VPS hosting is a much better option, as the server is shared between a smaller number of websites. Dedicated hosting is another good option.

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5. Compress your website’s content

To this end, note that your website’s download speed inevitably passes through the compression of your HTML pages, as well as your CSS and JavaScript files. This compression, which is also identified as a minification, involves reducing variables, refactorizing the website’s code and removing spaces.

Before going forward on this point, there’s more to be said about the website’s loading process. First of all, let’s say that the page downloads progressively: the process starts from the top of the page (header), and keeps going through the content, towards the bottom of the page (footer). Some of the files within the content can take more time than others to download, such as JavaScript or photos.

This slow speed will also keep other elements from downloading and will considerably affect your website’s download speed. To avoid them causing problems with the top of the page, JavaScript files should be located at the bottom of the page.

6. Reorganize the website’s files and script

To simplify a page’s download speed, you will also have to sort between important elements and those that you could do without, whilst maintaining the website’s quality. Once this filtering has been done, important resources will be used by the top of the page to show up first and therefore, optimize the download speed, even though elements located at the bottom of the page have not yet downloaded.

Furthermore, know that codes blocking the content from appearing over the float line (line dividing the top and lower part of the page) should be eliminated if you want the upper part to appear quickly. For this reason, some CSS scripts should automatically be set aside.

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