Make Your Site Faster With Two Easy Steps

Faster is better when it comes to websites. Multiple studies in the past year have shown that slow websites are a turn-off for visitors. If they start waiting 3, 4, 5, or more seconds for a page to load, the odds go up substantially that they’ll click to somewhere else.

A recent study shows that the top ecommerce websites are actually getting slower these days. This is not the type of thing you want to emulate in your site. In fact, you can use this to your advantage to outperform the big e-tailers and hopefully gain more sales…

It’s easy to speed up your site

Anyone can make their site faster. Besides the obvious things like:

  • Limit content and images to only those that are necessary
  • Use whitespace effectively to create balance and minimize clutter and items to be loaded
  • Use includes/links for common css and JavaScript scripts to speed up load times
  • Optimize images to be the smallest and most compressed without sacrificing quality

There are two other ways to substantially speed up your site that are very easy to implement.

1. Enable Compression

This is probably the easiest thing to do which requires just a few lines of text. You instruct the webserver to compress all text and easily compressible data *before* it is served to your visitors. What does this accomplish?

It makes your content smaller to download, which means it is viewed faster over the internet. The best part is this is all done behind the scenes without you needing to change a thing!

How do you enable compression?

If your site is running on a server that uses the Apache webserver (most websites are, including anyone hosted by us), you simply put a few lines in a file named .htaccess in your main web directory. Just be *very* careful when editing this file, as one typo can stop your website from loading.

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml text/css text/x-js application/x-javascript application/javascript
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI bo/.*\.cgi$ no-gzip dont-vary

Note: The last line is only needed if you are using ShopSite as your ecommerce software. This tells the webserver to not compress the ShopSite back office screens, as that can cause issues with its functionality.

That’s it. A few lines to make your site substantially faster.

If you host with us, we can add these lines for you to make sure you do not cause any problems with your existing .htaccess file.

2. Make use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN is a powerful way to make your site load faster for your visitors. Essentially, a CDN downloads a copy of all of your images, and distributes them across the globe at various centralized locations. Then, when a visitor comes to your website, the CDN that is closest to them delivers the images to them, making your site load faster.

How much faster? I’ve seen speed increases of anywhere from 1 to 5 seconds with the use a CDN.

Most CDNs are easy to use. You simply call your images and videos with a different sub-domain that uses the CDN instead of your main website. One little URL change, and your site speeds up.

If you host with us, we offer an affordable CDN solution that we can help integrate in to your site.

It really is this easy to make your site faster. I’m amazed that many of the top ecommerce websites aren’t able to implement these simple steps. Now you can show them how it’s done!

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