A website’s speed can affect many different areas of the site. You will only experience the slowness, but there is much more to that.
1. If you’re running a business, you will lose potential customers, which we know means losing money.
2. A slow website will not rank as good, as a fast one. Google says the web should be a fast place, so since they integrated the speed factor into their ranking algorithm, this has an effect on SEO too.
3. You can lose already owned customers/visitors too, not just potential ones.
Basically, you’re giving up an important point, providing an advantage to your competitors. So, what can we do against slow websites? Well, we can approach this question from many sides, and now we are going to start with the hosting side of the story, since this is the most relevant one for us and this has the biggest effect on speed.
Move your website to another host. Make sure you have the right level of hosting for your site – if you had shared hosting before, and your site was really slow, has quite a lot of content, and visitors too, then maybe it’s not your webhost’s fault that the website is slow, simply the shared environment is not enough anymore.
If you think that the level of hosting that you’re on should be enough, then it’s obvious that your provider can be held responsible for the speed issue, at least partly.
Choose a software (content management system) that is new and competitive, like WordPress or Joomla. Of course there are hundreds of free tools from which you can choose, but I recommend you stick with those that are the most popular ones – because from one side it means that it’s good, plus there are a lot of related tools or plugins, call them whatever you want to, because of the many users. Usually the development of these is faster and better than the less used ones.
Optimize your content management system (CMS). Use minimal themes, since these are popular nowadays, you have nothing to lose. Plus, there’s no need for unnecessary extras, only the ones you actively use.
Minifying – Log in to your hosting account and there you should find a solution to minify your website.
If you use WordPress for example, use a caching plugin, so your site can be served faster to browsers. Some caching plugins have quite advanced features (like W3 Total Cache), they will do optimization on your CSS, do optimization on your code, minify and many more. The best part is, all these tools are free. Be carefull though, you have to learn how to set them up properly, if not, you might end up slowing down your website even more.
If you use WordPress, I should also mention that you should keep the number of plugins as low as possible, as these can really slow down a site.
Optimize the content on your site. Don’t use pictures everywhere, only where it’s really necessary. Same with the videos.
Use a CDN (content delivery network). Using such a service can really increase your website speed. Most of these services are paid ones, but you can find a few free ones too, however, these are not so effective, and since so many people use it, (even the bad guys), it can affect your site’s reputation in search engines in a negative way. This happens because when you sign up to a service like this, name-servers will change to the CDN name-servers, so you will have the same name-servers as the bad guys, and this “bad neighbourhood” is not good for your site. Same thing with free hosting.
As you can see, there are quite a few things you can do about your site’s speed, however, the best way to go is to try to incorporate all of these actions into your work. To measure progress, thest your site regurarly with the below sites: webpagetest.org or gtmetrix.com.