I always want my website to load faster. I’m sure anyone who operates a website wants that as well, because nobody likes a slow site. Even search engines appear to favor sites that load faster.
There are many steps that one can run a faster site – here’s some of mine. Note that I’m using Bluehost as my webhost (webhosts play a part in reliability and speed).
1. Implement Caching
What is caching?
Imagine a painter doing a painting of a lake. He is fully capable of doing the same painting over and over again, but it takes time to do so each time. Imagine now that your website is the painter, and it has to paint each webpage from scratch each time a visitor visits your site. It is doable, but causes strain on resources and is slow to the visitor. A cache is a copy of an already ‘painted’ page, awaiting to be shown to visitors. This reduces load times and resource strains.
By installing and activating a caching plugin, your visitors will experience improved load times.
Note: Caching can mean that some changes you make won’t be seen live for some time. There can also be conflicts with some plugins. If you experience such issues, you need to flush the cache (or deactivate and reactivate the cache plugin) sometimes.
2. Implement Lazy Loading
What is lazy loading?
Say you have a page with a bunch of text and images on it. When a visitor requests a website, the text will be relatively small in size to fetch, but if you have a lot of images, it will really slow down the loading of the webpage.
A very simple (and very smart) solution is to implement lazy loading.
What this does is to first load your webpage with the main elements, and only load images, videos etc when the website visitors actually scrolls to the part of the page.
What this means a much faster load time on a page with a lot of images, and a happier experience for the visitor!
All you need to do is to install this plugin.
3. Using CloudFlare
CloudFlare is a service (with a free tier) that can make your website load faster with less strain on resources, by redistributing your content from their servers. See the video below.
The problem with CloudFlare is that it can be a little technical to set up (requires redirecting of DNS records).
Fortunately, Bluehost has partnered with CloudFlare which makes it easy for you.
Or login with your existing CloudFlare account
CloudFlare should be enabled and working. You can make a couple of tweaks on the CloudFlare website itself, to further enhance performance.
Log into CloudFlare.com > (your website) > CloudFlare Settings > Performance Settings
Under the Auto-Minify section, make sure all the 3 items are green as shown. (or click to enable). This combines long paragraphs of code into shorter form for faster processing.
Rocket Loader (beta)
Under Rocker Loader, turn it on to Automatic. Although it says beta, it works well for me.
What Rocker Loader does is make sure the main parts of the website shows up (while other code load concurrently in the background). This can mean a big improvement in your load times if you have plugins which cause your site to load slower.
Update: I’ve since turned ‘off’ Rocket Loader on this site, as it has some conflicts with my plugins. If you face the same issue, I suggest that you leave this ‘off’ as well.
4. Optimizing/Resizing Images
We’ve been focusing on the technical aspects of website loads, but you can do your part to make your content load faster by reducing the size of your images.
One thing you can do is reduce each image size before you upload them. A great tool you can use is TinyPNG, which works for both png and jpg files.