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7 sure-fire ways to improve your website speed

In today’s fast-paced world having a website that loads quickly and doesn’t keep your customers counting the seconds is critical to business success. As the old adage goes, “time is money” and the extra few moments that your visitors spend waiting for images, fonts, and scripts to load up can be a deal-breaker. This is especially true if you’re an online retailer.




Mobility is the name of the game today, especially since more than half of all time on online sites is spent on mobile devices. With customers frequently multi-screening between sites, it’s absolutely essential that your site loads quickly. And it’s not just about convenience, but about revenue. Plenty of studies have shown a direct correlation between load time and conversions. And expectations are even higher on mobile sites. Consider that 57% customers will abandon a site if they have to wait 3 seconds for it to load. What’s more, findings indicate that a 2-second delay during a transaction results in shopping cart abandonment rates of up to 87%. E-commerce giant Amazon calculated that a webpage load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year.

Major take-away here: you can’t overestimate the importance of load times for E-commerce and M-commerce shoppers. In order to provide the most optimal, fast, and efficient user experience to your customers, there are 7 key strategies you can follow to speed up your website. Please read on:

1. Code your site for mobile-first quality and speed

Given the prominence (and dominance!) of the mobile web, it’s critical to ensure that your website is mobile first. The paradigm of making desktop sites responsive for mobile devices must now be switched. The strategy should be to code for mobile users first and then progressively enhance the experience for tablets and desktops. Doing so will help reduce the number of unnecessary dependencies.




2. Reduce image size

According to the HTTP Archive, 61 percent of a website’s page weight on a desktop computer is images. Make sure that your images are appropriately sized. Adopting new image formats, such as WebP and JPeg XR, can also help reduce image weight by 20 to 50 percent without sacrificing quality.




3. Try a CDN

A content delivery network is a way of taking a websites static files, like CSS, images, and JavaScript, and delivering them through web servers that are closer to the user’s physical location. Shorter proximity amounts to faster load time.




4. Cache as much as possible

You’ve probably heard this term before. Caching is a mechanism for the temporary storage of web pages in order to reduce bandwidth and improve performance. When a visitor arrives at your site the cached version will be served up unless it has changed since the last cache. This saves server time and makes things altogether faster. Make sure this feature is enabled on your website!

5. Combine images into sprites

This is a really useful technique that combines commonly used images into a single image file, thus reducing the number of HTTP request that are required to download the webpage. This feature is implemented through proper use of the CSS background-image and background-position properties.

6. Combine style sheets into one

Instead of using separate style sheets at each break point, consider combining the sheets into one single file. The same holds true for JavaScript files. The advantage of a single larger CSS or JavaScript file is that more time can be spent downloading the data directly rather than establishing multiple connections to a server.

7. Review your hosting service plan

If you’ve gone through the checklist above and still find that web performance is impacted, check with your hosting provider to see whether you have shared or dedicated hosting. A shared hosting account often involves sharing server space with dozens of other companies where website speed is impacted by the number of people using the servers. If this is the case, then it may be time to consider a dedicated plan where you have sole access to the server.




In this age of instant updates, same-day delivery, and otherwise high customer service expectations, site visitors simply are not going to wait very long for your website to download. You need to provide your visitors with optimal performance while remembering that the primary point of your site is to improve traffic and make money. The tricky thing is that most business owners automatically assume they need all the “bells and whistles” on their site to get the most customers. But those extra features, such as glossy images, parallax web scrolling, and the trendy moving background are only fine as long as they don’t keep your visitors waiting.

Decide what constitutes the core of your user experience, and then get rid of any “extras” that don’t enhance that primary experience. Go through the 7 points above to ensure that your website is optimized and running as fast and efficiently as possible. Your customers will thank you with many happy returns!

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.