Making sure your site is lean, mean, and a fast-loading machine is very important these days – not just because it means your visitors will stay on your site, but it also means that they use less electricity when visiting. And using less electricity means that your site has a smaller carbon footprint!
So how can you make sure your site is as fast as it can be? Here are five quick tips for optimising your website.
Shrink down your larger files
Do you have giant photos on your site? High-definition ultra-4K videos? FLAC-quality audio files? Do they really need to be that high quality? You don’t need full-page print images for tiny thumbnails or recording studio masters for an audio player. Go through and cut down on the file size where possible, and if you really do need that high-quality version, see about hosting it on another site, like YouTube or SoundCloud and just linking to it, rather than embedding it.
Have a plugin clearout
When you start using a content management system, like WordPress, you can get over-excited by the sheer number of options available, especially when it comes to plugins. You can have the admin section look different! You can have Star Wars quotes in the header! You can have a button that sends people to a random post!
You can do all these neat things, but how many scripts are you loading? How many processes are going on before you even fully render the page? Is that plugin actually helping your site?
Look into what you’ve added, see how they’re being used, and see if there are smaller and easier options out there. Maybe you added a plugin several years ago, and WordPress does it natively now. Maybe you don’t really need that Star Wars quote in the header.
Try deactivating all your plugins and see the difference in loading speeds. Then add them back in one at a time to see which really has the most impact.
Cut down on the code
Have a code audit and see what can be stripped down. Double-check that you’re not repeating yourself with scripts. Look into fonts and designs that don’t require you to load another script on top of a dozen other scripts. Then look at things like Minifier, which will cut down on your code even more.
Serve your site statically
Every time a site on a content management system like WordPress loads, it pulls data from a database. When the page doesn’t have to pull content from a database, it loads faster.
Review your site and see how many pages you don’t update regularly. If they make up most of the site, you might benefit from a static site generator, where it takes the pages created by a content management system, like WordPress, and turns them into static pages. Simply Static is a WordPress plugin that does the work for you – all you need to do is set up your WordPress installation in a separate directory from your main site’s directory, point Simply Static to the right place, and let it do what it needs to do.
Or, if all your pages are static, and you want to really get into the heart of the matter, why not just build the pages yourself in the text editor of your choice? Not only will that help you cut down on code (when you have to hand-type it, you always go for the shorter option), you’ll also get a thorough understanding of how web pages work, and how you can make things better.
Use a CDN
A content delivery network (CDN) helps cut down on the number of requests made to your server, by caching a copy of your site and distributing it across multiple servers around the world. So a person in, say, Johannesburg, doesn’t have to wait for a connection to the server that’s in London, they can just access the copy on the Johannesburg server. Plus, many CDNs have additional features that help you optimise your site even further, like reducing code, optimising images, and more. Our CDN has a lot of great features, and it’s available with many of our hosting packages and all our Managed WordPress packages.
So there are five ways you can optimise your website. Good luck!