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Tips and Tools To Speed Up Your Website

Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category Search Engine Optimization SEO Tools

speed-up-your-site

Site speed is the key component of website usability. If your web pages fail to load within a couple of seconds, people don't wait. They just move away. This alone should be enough of a reason to make sure your site loads fast, but wait site speed is also a ranking factor that affects your site's position in both paid and organic search results. A pretty strong motivation to optimize your site's loading time, isn't it? So here are some tips and tools you can use to speed up your website and make it more compelling both for people and for the search engines.

Tips for speeding up your website

  1. Optimize Your Images
  2. Use 'Save for the web' option

    This option is available in most image editors. It lets you compress images to reduce their file sizes. Since images are usually the most heavy-weight components on a webpage reducing their sizes will drastically increase the page's loading speed.

    Define height and width

    Defining the image sizes with height and width attributes will significantly improve your webpage loading time. When the browser knows the size of the image it will load the rest of the page while reserving the right spot for the image. This way the whole loading process is a better experience for your users.

    Don’t use images to display texts

    When you put your texts in images you not only increase the loading time of your page, but you also make that text useless for SEO. As you know search engine crawlers don't read images. Make sure that all of your important information on the web page is in plain text. This will help both your site speed and your SEO.

    Don't resize images in HTML

    Don't resize images with height/width attributes to create smaller versions. If you have an original image that's 400 x 200 and you scale it to 200 x 100 in HTML, the visitor's browser will still have to download the full size image. Instead, resize the images with an image editor to the exact size you need.

  3. End links to directory pages with a slash
  4. If you don't close the link to "http://www.yoursite.com/contact" with a slash the server will have to figure out whether you're linking to a directory page or a file, which will take some time. If you put a slash / at the end, the server will know that it's a link to a directory page which will reduce your loading time.

  5. Reduce the number of HTTP requests to other sites
  6. When you include images, videos or audio files hosted on third party servers you make your page load time dependable on these servers. When they are slow, so is your web page. Try to minimize the requests to external servers for faster site load.

  7. Minimize the use of embedded flash & media elements
  8. We sure want to overwhelm and wow our visitors with our site, so they want to come back over and over again. So they want to link to our site and share it with friends. And it may look like flash and rich media are just the way to do it.

    While it sure looks great, flash significantly slows down your site. Try to only use it when really needed. Because if you overdo it, your visitors may not have the patience to wait for your page to load and will hit the back button before they even see your flash masterpiece.

  9. Tidy Up Your Code
  10. Clean up all the white spaces and excessive tags that you don't really need such as empty <font></font> tags. You'll be pleasantly surprised when you see the effect of code clean-up on your website speed.

  11. Split Up Long Pages
  12. If you have an excessively long web page you may want to split it up into parts. This way you'll make the parts load faster and won't be scaring people off with an extremely long read.

  13. Optimize your tracking & analytics
  14. You sure need to track and analyze your visitors, but each additional request made by your tracking software and each cookie placed on the browser adds to the loading time of your page. If you're using Google Analytics be sure to update your tracking code to the new asynchronous snippet which provides for faster loading times and higher accuracy in data collection.

Tools for speeding up your website

Google Page Speed - http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/

A Firefox add-on from Google that tests your website performance and makes suggestions on how you can improve it based on best practices.

Google Webmaster Tools  https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

There's a special feature in the Labs section of Google Webmaster Tools called Site Performance. It provides detailed statistics on your site's performance. You can see your average load time, exact load times for specific pages and get tips on improving them.

Yahoo! YSlow http://developer.yahoo.com/yslow/

A Firebug integrated Firefox add-on from Yahoo!. Similarly to Google Page Speed, YSlow analyzes the webpages of your site and provides suggestions on how you can improve their performance.

WebSite Auditor https://www.link-assistant.com/website-auditor/

You can also check your sites loading speed with WebSite Auditor and see how it compares to your 10 top ranked competitors. This way you'll be able to determine whether you need to speed up your web pages to get a competitive advantage in the search results. For detailed instructions on using the WebSite Auditor's Site Load Time report check out this post on site speed.

More reading on the topic

Best practices for speeding up your website - an exhaustive guide on speeding up your web pages from Yahoo! Developers Blog.

Speed Up Your WebPages – a comprehensive article at IBM developerWorks section.

Hope this post will help you turn your website into an F1 racer. If you have your own tips and tools to share feel free to do so in the comments.



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