How to reduce load times

When it comes to web development, there are a few things that you can do to make your website more desirable to users and to the search engines. If you haven’t read our article about how to build your website you should read that first before reading this.

Load times literally mean the amount of time a website takes to fully load. Everyone loves fast load times, including Google. Load times have been a factor in SEO rankings since 2010. Load times also contribute to abandonment rates. The higher the load time, the more the abandonment percentage as you can see from this image.

So what can you do to make your load times faster?

Optimise your images

Images are most likely the biggest bandwidth hog on your website. High-resolution images and videos have become an integral part of website design as it adds an aesthetic element to your website. However, webmasters should be mindful of uploading images in their full size. Scaling your image down can do a lot to reduce its overall size. You can reduce your image size in photoshop as well. When saving your project, choose the option to reduce the image to 70%. This reduces the image size by 30% without compromising too much on quality.

You can also compress your images to make them a more manageable size for your website. There are many free online tools that you can use such as tinyjpg or compressjpeg to compress your images down about 25% more. This will greatly reduce your load times.

Use browser caching

Every time a browser loads a webpage, it must download all the HTML, CSS and JavaScript files. Therefore, it takes a long while for a browser to load a website for the first time. These files are typically small but when compiled together with image files, they take some time to load. However, you can enable browser caching to make them more manageable to load the next time a user visits your website.

Browser caching enables the browser to keep a copy of all these files when they first come in. When the user visits the webpage again, the browser will choose to present what it has saved previously rather than request for new files. This makes the website load faster the next time.

Browser caching works by your website telling the browser that certain parts of the page do not need to be downloaded so frequently. Your company name and logo, for example, is likely to not change for a long while. Therefore, you can set the browser to request a new logo every month or so. This way then the user comes back to the website, their browser does not need to download the logo again. This is made possible by intervals. Contact your web developer to set up browser caching intervals for your website.

Reduce white spaces.

Each letter in your HTML takes up 1 byte. Although this may not sound like a lot, when you look at the big picture, it adds up a lot. There are likely to be many white spaces within your code. Eliminating as much white space as possible will help to reduce load times. The effort to benefit ratio may make it seem like it is not worth doing. However, remember that even a 1-second reduction of load times can affect the attention of the user and increase the potential loss of a lead.

Some of these tips require some technical knowledge of how your website is created. Always ask your web developer for help or keep a copy of all your HTML before attempting any of these changes lest they corrupt your website’s HTML.

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