Speed kills. But on the Internet, death comes at the hands of a slow-loading page, not a speeding car. Even mighty Google is using site speed as a signal in its search algorithm, and studies have shown that just a fraction of a delay can kill your conversion rate. And that’s just on a normal day. What if you hit the front page of Reddit or decide to run a deal with Groupon? What if, gasp, TechCrunch links to you? Your site can be crippled by people trying to visit, who can’t, and who never come back again. These scenarios are just not good for your business – no matter what it is. So we assembled our awesome staff of developers-the guys that keep our sites and apps snappy-to get their tips on how you can keep your site zipping along the Interwebs and keeping your visitors happy in the process.
Five Solid Ways to Speed Up Your Site
1) Use a CDN – Whether it’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), or some other network, a CDN can run laps around your server, speeding your content to your visitors. Plus, a CDN’s distributed model keeps the unexpected traffic spike from a TechCrunch mention from bringing your server to its knees.
2) Try Cloudflare – Cloudflare optimizes the performance of your site by doing a whole bunch of cool things, simply by installing their code on your site. You get the speed enhancements of a CDN, code optimization for reduced server load and latency, and security protection that squashes spam and protects you against malicious attacks. Check out their overview video to learn more.
3) WP Super Cache – If you’re running a WordPress install, WP Super Cache makes caching your pages a breeze. That way, when you hit Techmeme for your war of words with MG Seigler, the tech community doesn’t bring your website to it’s knees. W3 Total Cache is another plug-in that gives you more control, but takes a bit more know-how than Super-Cache to set up.
4) Go Easy on Plugins – Do your research before you add a new social widget, toolbar or WordPress plugin. Look at the number of downloads and ratings to make sure what you’re adding is legit and functional. And take it easy on the social icons, those code snippets can take a while to load and can slow up everything in the process. Let go of the TweetMeme button – it will be ok.
6) Bonus Time! – Here’s a freebie. Be sure to check out Yahoo!’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Website. Their developer team has come up with 35 great tips for ensuring high availability under all traffic conditions.
Those are just five of many ways you can make your site run faster. And remember, fast wins. So give your site a kick in the you-know-what and watch your metrics respond in kind. A fast site makes for a better user experience and a better user experience makes for more repeat visits, more conversions and more happy people all around. So what are you waiting for, slow poke?
Have an optimization tip to share? Leave it in the comments and educate us!