7 Tips For a Fast-Loading WebsiteHow long does the average internet user give a web page to open before ditching it? Statistics say around five seconds. You too, are first a user and how tolerant are you of web pages that seem to take delight in holding back the content and revealing it almost pixel by pixel? You move on and that’s fair. Here are seven tips that will ensure a fast loading website and a pleasant browsing experience for your visitors.

1. Video is a big draw for both regular and mobile traffic. If your web pages carry videos, then these should load fast. Strike a balance between video quality and loading speed; higher the video quality the more time it will take the videos to load.

2. With respect to images, PNG and BMP images take up more space and load slowly. Websites, particularly image-heavy websites, should use compressed JPEGs. Image splitting and image splicing are techniques used to make images load faster. Allow animations on a page to run only a specific number of times.

3. Webhosting matters. Choose a plan that assures you of enough bandwidth for the kind of traffic that your website attracts and if you offer downloads be sure to take that bandwidth into consideration as well.

4. Enable caching. Allow your browser to pull previously visited pages from the cache memory. It facilitates quicker page loading.

5. Condense the code so that only what is absolutely essential remains. You may have to commission the services of a web developer to clean the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript so that these can be pruned for use – the exercise has a name, it’s called minification. Along similar lines, you may want to avoid Flash, which is not only painfully slow loading but also invariably incompatible with mobile devices and has no SEO benefit. Placing stylesheets in the HEAD accelerates page loading (your developer will understand).

6. Host media on a dedicated server that you can scale as necessary to accommodate increased traffic and bandwidth needs. Amazon’s cloud hosting and others like it allow this flexibility. Embedded content, such as YouTube videos and Slideshare presentations, will load only as fast as the sites they are hosted on.

7. One way to make web pages load faster is to minimize the content that a page displays. Consider splitting an article across more than one page. A simple “Next” button allows visitors to continue reading. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it does help if you’re having page-loading issues.

3 bonus tips for fast loading Wordpress blogs

1. Choose plugins judiciously; add only those that you need. Plugins increase loading time and require regular updating to minimize security threats.

2. You may want to disable trackbacks and pingbacks as these are requests to servers that delay page loading.

3. When selecting a theme, choose wisely with respect to quick loading and features. You may not need all the bells and whistles that many themes offer. It is worth  remembering that loading time is crucial to good SEO.

Page loading speed is a major factor for ranking on search engines and the increase in mobile traffic through smartphones and tablets has only made page-loading speed even more significant. The adjustments required to boost page load speeds are not complex and the results are worth the effort. Higher rankings and happier customers are key benefits of having a website that loads fast, and fundamental for any business with an online presence.

Get page speed insights directly from Google here.