8 Tips to Help You Improve Site Speed Before the Holiday Rush

With the holidays rapidly approaching, making sure your site is able to handle the increase in traffic isn’t just a good idea—it’s essential if you want to keep your customers coming back. If customers find your site difficult to use or slow to load, they’ll move on to your competitors. The easiest way to reduce your risk of losing customers is to improve your site speed before the shopping season is in full swing. So, where should you start? Here are a few easy tips to help you keep your site running faster so your customers can make purchases with ease.

1. Reduce the Size of Your Images
High-resolution images may make your products look more attractive on category pages, but they can really slow down your website. And the more high-resolution, large photos that you have on a page, the more those large file sizes can slow your site down. Instead of using the highest resolution possible, scale things down. By decreasing the resolution, you’ll decrease the size of the image files for your product photos. This can increase your page speed.

Don’t worry about the pictures looking too grainy. You can always use higher-resolution images on the individual product listing.

2. Scale Down Your Plugins
Plugins can help you streamline and improve your website when used in moderation. But if you have too many plugins running at once, it can slow load times and make your site less user-friendly for your customers. If you’re managing your website on your own, be mindful of the number of plugins you’re running. If the site is loading slowly, consider disabling the plugins that don’t add tons of value to your operation. This may reduce the load and help your site run faster. 

If you’re working with a website maintenance expert, they’ll be able to implement any changes on your behalf. Even better, they can tell you which plugins are worth keeping and which can be removed.

3. Use Fewer Fonts
Different fonts can help set your site apart from your competitors and can make pages look more dynamic. But the more fonts you’re running, the more they can impact load times. Rather than using dozens of unique fonts, try to limit your selection to just a couple. And if you can, keep those fonts consistent across your pages. This consistency can also help you make your site look more unified and more well-thought-out. Too many fonts may make your site look disorganized and could lead your customers to click away.

4. Reduce the Number of Redirects on Your Site
Redirects happen when you need to send readers to a new URL when they click an old URL. It’s convenient because it ensures that readers can find the latest information on your site. But each redirect makes the page load more slowly because the system is having to effectively process two requests: one to send readers to the original page and another to send them to the updated page. This makes the user experience less pristine and virtually guarantees a slower browsing experience. If you can, update the URLs you’re linking to and make sure they go to the new page rather than relying on a redirect. 

5. Audit Your Site Often
Site speeds can vary and as you start making changes to your website, it’s normal for things to fall through the cracks. That’s why it’s so important to audit your site and assess page speed for every page that’s live. If you notice one page running more slowly than others, do some digging to identify the root cause and fix it. Do this for every page and try to conduct audits at least once each quarter. The more you can stay on top of these tasks, the better prepared you’ll be when web traffic increases during the holiday season.

6. Fix 404 Errors
404 errors happen when the web server can’t find the page that the person using your site is trying to visit. While this may not impact load times on other pages, it can dramatically slow users down as they search your site. Check each page on your site and make sure it loads. If one comes back with a 404 error, figure out what’s keeping the server from pulling the page up and fix it as soon as you can. 

7. Let a Pro Manage Your Site
While improving site speed is something that you can do on your own, you may find it best to work with an experienced professional. These experts can inspect, audit, and repair your site quickly so your users can browse pages without dealing with slow load times. Even better, they’ll be able to find problems that you may not know exist long before your customers have a chance to encounter those issues. Just make sure to look for an expert who’s helped businesses like yours in the past.  

Get Your Site Running Faster 
These tips will help you improve your site’s speed so your customers can navigate it more easily. But maintaining your site speed isn’t something you can do just once. It’s something you’ll have to stay on top of throughout the year as part of your routine maintenance efforts.

If the idea of maintaining your site on your own isn’t something you’re comfortable with, let an experienced professional handle it for you. At Denver Website Designs, we can help whether you’re looking to build a new website from the ground up or just need someone to breathe new life into your existing website. Contact us today to speak with our team.
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