To attract and retain website visitors and actually keep them on your site, you need to ensure stellar website performance. Website speed is one of the crucial elements of a thriving online presence. When combined with your digital marketing strategy and its numerous tactics, it can help your brand thrive in the online and offline realms. How should you go about boosting your website’s performance and loading times?
Glad you asked. There are a number of effective solutions that could help your visitors save precious seconds when trying to load your website. If you follow these tips, they may decide to stay longer, engage with your brand, and even make the decision to become your loyal customers.
How to improve your website speed
With all of this in mind, here are the five great tips you can use to improve website speed and boost customer acquisition and retention.
1. It all starts with performance-driven design
As you might have guessed, your website’s design (aesthetics plus functionality) with play a vital role in defining your customer’s journey and satisfaction, and your brand appeal in general. Whether you’re building your website’s structure from scratch, or if you’re implementing your visual design into an existing theme, it is imperative to test your site’s performance. You should optimize for speed and responsiveness throughout the process. What you will find is a that certain design features will prove more difficult to load than others.
Take high-quality images, for example. If you want to stand out, you want to have quality images on your site. This will tell your brand’s story and appeal to the modern customer. But that doesn’t mean that you should allow them to slow down your site.
Instead, be sure to compress your images. Choose the right file extensions to preserve their visual quality while at the same time making them easier to load. Think carefully about all visual elements and how they can impact your site’s performance.
2. Choose your plugins and integrations carefully
Much like your base visual elements, the functions and features of your site running in the background (the ones that make your life easier such as plugins) can significantly impact the user experience in a negative way. In other words, the more plugins you use, and the more drain they have, the more time it will take for your site to load properly for every user. Always update your plugins, and consider eliminating all but the essential ones to boost performance.
Likewise, your integrations can have an equally damaging effect on your site’s user experience. They can jeopardize your lead generation. Choose carefully when and where you’re going to use various integrations such as YouTube videos, ad rolls, Facebook pixel, Google Maps, and others. They may prolong the loading time beyond the two-second threshold. At that point, your potential customer has already clicked on the back button. They are probably on their way to your competitor’s site.
3. Check and upgrade your hosting plan
All this talk about various site features and design problems can make it seem like you hold all of the cards. Oh, but you don’t. Your site’s overall performance might just come down to the quality of your hosting provider, the hosting plan you’re on, and the location of the servers where your site is stored.
That’s why it is imperative to check your hosting plan. Upgrade to a better web hosting solution if you notice that your provider might be holding you back. Firstly, are you on a shared hosting plan? If you are, maybe it’s time to stop sharing resources with spammy websites and choose a more performance-driven solution, such as cloud hosting or a dedicated server.
Next, where are the servers located? If you’re operating in a part of the world where kangaroos are a common part of the local scenery, it’s not such a good idea for your site to reside on a server in Europe, or Canada. Be sure to migrate to a nearby server as soon as possbile.
4. Take advantage of mobile optimization
There is no denying that the digital world is becoming more “mobile oriented” with each passing year. After all, why consume online content at home when you can browse the web on the go as you’re commuting to the office, running on the treadmill, or ignoring your child at McDonalds? Mobile is on the rise around the world. It’s important that you optimize your site and content for mobile browsing in order to boost its speed.
But beyond loading times, mobile optimization allows you to appeal to a rising demographic. It enables a seamless browsing experience on all handheld devices. This feature can make or break your website’s reputation and search engine optimization (SEO) score.
5. Structure and organize your content
Finaly, when you’re posting any type of content, think about how it can impact your website’s responsiveness, navigation, and user experience (UX) in general. You might find that a different format for your written articles works better visually. The images you attach to each paragraph can make loading and scrolling cumbersome at times. As for all visual content, make sure it’s rendered properly. Don’t hesitate to upload videos at max resolutions – but turn auto-play off to improve performance.
Final thoughts on how to improve your website speed
Improving your website’s speed and responsiveness might not be the only way to make a good impression on your online audience. However, it’s certainly up there with the most effective digital marketing tactics. Use these insights to boost your site’s UX and strengthen your marketing strategy in the process.
This guest blog post was written by Elaine Bennett. She is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. She is a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog. Elaine writes hands-on articles about business and marketing.