Making your website run super fast is SO important! Without fast loading times, you could be losing important readers.
Akamai found that 40% of people will actually abandon your webpage if it takes 3 or more seconds to load. On average, every 1 second delay in loading times results in 11% less page views.
There’s loads of other studies all over the internet that say the same thing if you need any more clarification. Speed is king!
Despite this, many websites and blogs that I visit still frustrate me with their slow loading times.
If you’re still yet to start a blog or website, knowing these tips before setting up will give you a head start when it comes to page speed!
Perhaps you don’t realise your website is slow? Or maybe you think that because you’re not an expert web designer there’s nothing you can really do?
Well I’m here to tell you that you can dramatically improve your website speed quickly and easily! Read on to find out how.
First things first, is your website actually slow?
I think that one of the main reasons people have slow websites is that they simply aren’t aware that there’s any problem in the first place.
The quickest way to find this out is to run a website speed test on pingdom.com. Just enter your web address into the search bar and run the free test. Within 30 seconds they’ll have a full report on your website’s speed and details on where you’re doing well or not.
Ok now you know where you’re at, it’s time to get the need for speed!
1. Compress your Images
Big, beautiful images are great to have on your website. This is particularly true if you run a travel blog etc., for obvious reasons. The problem with these images is that they are often pretty big files that can really slow down your web page.
Thankfully there is a quick and simple solution – Compressor.io
Compressor.io is an amazing little webpage which can reduce the size of your images by up to 90%! Just upload your original image, give it a few seconds to compress, and that’s it! Your new image will be there to download. They even provide a before and after so you can see for yourself that there’s been no drop in image quality.
To learn where to get your hands on free high quality images check out this article: 10 Sites to Find Royalty Free Images Free of Charge
2. Use Third Party Hosting for Video
Having a video clip on your article is a great way to get your point across in a much more visually appealing way. All the better if you are capable with a camera and a bit of editing software.
The issue with video is, quite obviously, that they can be huge files which can really affect your loading times.
With WordPress, Wix and other platforms there is an option to add your video directly onto your webpage. Do not do this! This will have a big impact on your load times that could become detrimental if more than one person is trying to watch it at the same time. Instead, post your video to a platform built for hosting video, such as YouTube or Vimeo, and keep your website running super fast. Then you can just embed the video onto your webpage from either YouTube or Vimeo, easy!
Plus it’s worth adding that as a travel blogger you can add another dimension and stream of traffic to your blog by posting your blog posts as videos on YouTube anyway.
3. Get Rid of Plugins that you Don’t Need (If you’re WordPress Self-Hosted)
Every additional plugin that you have on your website results in additional data. This means that every click to your site takes a little bit longer to load.
Of course, plugins are essential and there are plenty of fast running websites with loads of plugins. The problems arise when you have got bad plugins that have loads of scripts and perform a ton of requests.
A good idea to make your website run super fast is to get a P3 Plugin Performance Profiler. I know I’ve just told you to have less plugins and then said get this plugin, but that’s because it will test all of your plugins for you and tell you which ones are slowing your site down.
4. Enable Caching
By enabling caching you can really improve the speed of your website for repeat users. It works by essentially storing information from your web page on their server so that when they go to click back onto your site in the future, the data is already downloaded for them (hence it loads much faster).
There are loads of plugins available on WordPress that provide this service. W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket being a couple I would recommend.
5. Reduce the Number of HTTP Requests
Yahoo say that 80% of the time a web page takes to load is time spent downloading all the parts of the page such as images and scripts etc. They say that if you reduce the number of these components on your web page it will reduce the number of HTTP requests and thus reduce the loading times of your pages. Essentially this translates to, don’t have unnecessary images and pop ups etc., all over the page. Keep it simple and your website will be much faster.
6. Change your Web Host
This only applies to people with self-hosted websites and blogs, rather than those who used website builders such as Wix or Squarespace.
If you are yet to make your mind up on where to build your website, or are thinking about changing to self-hosted, check out this article: Top 3 Website Builders for Bloggers.
The beauty of being self hosted is that your website speed is not decided for you by a slow web host. If you feel that your current host is causing your website to run slower than it should, perhaps its time to change things up. That being said, changing your web host is something that you shouldn’t do lightly, and there is a lot more to consider than just server speed when picking your host.
When it comes to hosts, we recommend using Bluehost above the rest. They’re recommended by WordPress themselves, have great customer service and are used to power over 2 million websites (including this one)!
7. Change your Theme
So you’ve done everything else in this article and your site is still slow!? Maybe your web theme is slowing you down. Different themes, no matter the hosting platform, carry different amounts of coding etc., and hence have different load times as standard. You want a ‘clean’ theme for maximum speed, with no unnecessary, excess coding. When you pick your web theme make sure you pay attention to performance as well as how it looks.
Depending on your situation, you may not actually need to make use of all 7 of these tips, but even if you use a couple of them, you’ll soon have your website running super fast and therefore a lot more appealing to your audience.
If you know some other tips and tricks to increase the speed of a website please let us know!
One half of People of the Planet. Sharing our adventures, best travel tips and travel photography! We created People of the Planet to provide a place for all travellers to learn, explore and find travel inspiration.