15 Ways to Speed Up Your Website and Reduce Bounce Rates
You must have heard of the 2 seconds rule. Well, it’s not really a rule, but according to a study by Bing and Google, your website has 2 seconds to keep visitors. If your site takes longer to load, they leave. This was way back in 2009. Now, connections are a whole lot faster, there’s a lot more competition, so you have to be at the top of your game.
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is that percentage of your visitors that leave your site without checking out a second page. Of course, this is bad, especially if you’re looking to convert visitors to loyal subscribers. In case you haven’t made the connection yet, the speed of your website can and will affect your bounce rate. The faster your site loads, the better the user experience, and if you do a lot of other things right, they just might stick around for a while. On the other hand, if your website is slow as a snail, visitors would likely be gone before they even a get a chance to see the first page.
How do you speed up your website and reduce bounce rates?
- Optimize Images
When your website has images that are not optimized for web, it takes forever to load. There are ways to reduce the size of your images without reducing their quality, such as using plugins that can compress images while ensuring they don’t lose quality as a result. You could try WP Smush for WordPress, or Kraken, if you use Drupal or Joomla. These plugins are great for compressing images.
- Convert Images
You should save your images as JPEGs, GIFs or PNGs. JPEGs are the way to go for images with lots of colours, GIFs and PNGs are lossless and support transparency and work great for images with a small colour palette, however, PNGs have a much larger colour palette.
- Use Sprites
You might want to try CSS sprites. A sprite is one single file that holds all your images. If you have all your images in a single file, they’ll load faster, since one large image opens faster than lots of smaller ones.
- Image Lazy Loading
- Host Images Elsewhere
Hosting images on another server such as Flickr or Amazon S3 is another trick to try.
- Clean Up Pop-ups and Ads
Pop-ups can be extremely annoying, however they have also been credited to significantly increase signups and conversions. You don’t want to have too many pop-ups so you don’t annoy your visitor, and you don’t want to make your website unnecessarily slower either. The key is to completely avoid irrelevant pop-ups, and if you must use pop-ups, use them sparingly. It is better to never use pop-up ads, try not to pack too many ads above the fold, and don’t place ads where you would normally put vital information.
- Don’t be a Cheap Skate
It is understandable if you opt for a cheap hosting plan when you first create your website, but as your website grows, you cannot stick to the cheap plans. If you do, your website becomes slower. Upgrading your hosting plan is a quick fix for a slow website, and it doesn’t have to be too expensive. As Brendan Wilde, Online Manager at VPS NZ | Linux Virtual Server Hosting New Zealand | OpenHost, says, ”small businesses, marketing agencies, and web specialists like SaaS developers- even the largest corporate enterprises – we take care of them all. We always advise looking for a host that provides value for money now, and that is scalable for the future.”
- Hack the Code
You’ve got to cut down the code. The difference might not be much but getting rid of redundant code will help speed up your page. A simple, clean theme will please users and help you cut down on load time.
- Use CDNs
The distance between your server and user plays a part in determining how fast your website will load. A content delivery network stores copies of your data in separate data banks and then delivers your stored information to a user from the data bank closest to them. This helps to reduce your site’s loading time.
- Enable Caching
- Reduce Plugins
Too many plugins can slow down your website and cause security issues and crashes. Always get rid of ones you don’t need.
- Enable Gzip Compression
Gzip compression compresses your website pages and could significantly cut down HTTP requests and reduce response time.
- Reduce External Scripts
External scripts could be external fonts, social media boxes, external commenting systems, and so on. They make HTTP requests every time your pages load, and this slows down your website.
- Deal with Broken Links