5 Tools and Resources for Speeding Up Your Website
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A speedy website not only gains a bonus in search engine rankings but has higher conversion rates simply because people can readily find your information without having to wait
Generally, a website is almost entirely dependent on the web hosting and code displayed which is the cause to the load time.
A website with many pictures and scripts will load at a sluggish rate compared to one that is streamlined and lean on its coding.
Not all is a lost, though.
Many new, modern technologies, plugins, and tools have been created to improve the website load time of your website with very little need to understand the technical side of implementation. Just know that optimizing your site for a faster load time will ultimately earn you a greater affiliate income; these are a few tools and resources for increasing that speed.
1. WP Super Cache (for WordPress)
WP Super Cache creates static HTML files on your WordPress blog which makes it easier to load than those provided through the WordPress CMS (which is created in PHP). The plugin is primarily used for when your website (and its content) goes viral which can put a strain on your web server depending on the referral traffic. Overall, this handy plugin allows your site to remain stable during heavy amounts of web traffic so you don’t lose out on possible conversions; it’s free and does a great job for those that do not want the hassle that comes with other WordPress-related tools.
2. Image Resizers
There are a few image resizer services and tools at your disposal (for example: WebResizer) which will take your images and optimize them for the Web. These tools/resources have additional features to edit your images but the goal is to reduce the file size small enough to where it’s rapidly loaded without losing that much image quality. You could also process your images in the ‘Save for Web & Devices’ option of Photoshop but the price tag for the program may be too high so go with an online tool if you need. Smaller image size doesn’t mean a compromise and can wonders for load time if your site has heavy implementation of them in the theme and content.
3. Amazon’s Cloudfront CDN
A CDN (short for: content delivery network) comes handy when you’re delivering large files such as what you’d find with audio or video. Amazon, a site renowned for almost never going down, offers their servers through their Cloudfront service so you can operate your website without the worry of it failing during moments of large demand. The service is tiered so you’ll pay depending on your traffic but the setup only requires a small part of your time to navigate the resource, install a few scripts/plugins, and then you’re on your way.
4. CSS Sprites
This one may be out of your league, as an affiliate marketer, but a good way of reducing your site’s file size is through the clever use of CSS sprites which is basically taking what would be multiple image files but mashing them together into one and then telling the code to only show certain parts depending on your needs. Your theme may have implemented this feature but consider sourcing a developer to update your site with CSS sprites or give it a shot with the SpritePad tool. Common site elements such as icons for the home page, social sharing, or user accounts can be converted to sprits which reduces the overall file size and page load – every bit counts, right?
5. Minify the Code
Note: leave this one to the developers.
“Minifying” the code basically ‘crunches’ your CSS or HTML code down to one giant string of code rather than how it’s normally written so the programmer can easily navigate and understand the work. A tool like the Minifier at WillPeavy.com will handle the brunt of the work; all you need to do, on your end, is to insert the code, minify, and then paste it back to the file. It’s not a whole lot but you can reduce a lot of the site’s latency which adds up if you apply it to the entirety of your site.
Conclusion (and some of the basics)
The whole point of speeding up your website is to achieve a faster load time so people will be less likely to leave the page if it has a hard time loading; people sticking around will be more likely to continue through your content and potentially convert on your affiliate offers or other call-to-actions.
The very base of keeping a site speedy is to reduce the load you’re placing on your server from the get-go which means reducing the image size for your theme and content, avoiding the overuse of plugins/scripts, going with a great web hosting company, and simply avoiding adding too much unnecessary elements to the pages (which reduce the load time).
Take some time to run a speed test using Pingdom (a great tool) which will give you a good idea of what needs fixing; from there, try out some of the tools and resources for speeding up the site. You’ll love it, your users will love it, and search engines will love it – just do it.