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Tips and Tricks on How to Increase Website Speed

Website speed has become more and more important as a ranking factor with search engines – especially Google. They use a website’s speed as one of many factors in their algorithm in order to determine how valuable your website is. For users, website speed can also mean the difference between a high or low bounce rate (i.e. how much time a user spends on the site, and how many pages they visit) which is also factored into your site’s value. Therefore, having a speedy and efficient website should very important to anyone who runs a website.

That begs the question: how can you increase a website’s speed? There are several ways you can increase the speed of a website for better usability and search engine friendliness.

  • Keep image sizes small – Using different types of images, such as JPEG, GIF and PNG files can have a significant impact on the time it takes to load your site. Some image types are better for certain uses than others, I recommend using JPEG for actual photos, GIF for site logos and other graphics, and PNG for transparent images and so on. Using fewer or smaller images can help a great deal in the speed of your website.
  • Minimize the amount of HTTP requests – If you have multiple CSS files or image maps and images, try to combine CSS files into one file – merge image maps into one image and put inline images into stylesheets. All of these methods can significantly reduce the amount of requests made to an HTTP server, which in turn will speed up your website.
  • Avoid tables if possible – While tables were once a great way to separate site elements and control the location of text, images and so on, they have been supplanted by XHTML and CSS. Both of these cleaner in terms of code and implementation, meaning your site will be more streamlined and speedier.
  • Use HTTP compression if your host allows it – All modern browsers allow for the use of HTTP compression, which allows the host to compress and uncompress content on the server side, rather than the client side, resulting in faster websites.
  • Use clean code – A website’s source code is what a search engine spider reads when it visits your pages, so you want to make sure your code is clean, efficient and well-written. Many pre-made CMS platforms such as WordPress can take care of this for you, but if you have a self-made CMS or e-commerce platform, or even a site made simply of flat, static pages, clean code is essential to a fast website.

These tips should help speed up your website and make it more usable for both users and search engines. Having a well-maintained, efficient and fast website is a big step toward increasing your value in the eyes of the search engines and your users.

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