Website performance is a crucial component to online success. A slow site adversely affects eCommerce transactions, drains server resources, depresses SEO ranking, and frustrates visitors. Often, when customers notice that their website appears to have slowed down or requires several seconds to load, they call into our support team asking why their server is performing poorly. While server issues can, in rare instances, contribute to a lagging website, they are almost never the cause. More often than not, poor website performance has much more to do with the website itself, and how it is configured. Fortunately, there are a range of things you can do to optimize a website for better performance!
How can I speed up my site?
It might help to imagine a website as if it were a car. To maximize a car’s performance, one must tune, clean, test, service, upgrade, and maintain it over time. The same goes for a website. Bluehost may maintain the best hardware in the industry, but the software underlying each and every website requires just as much attention and long-term care to ensure peak performance.
Here are some tips to keep your website lean and mean:
- Disable and remove unnecessary or unused software. This can include superfluous plugins, old themes, wasted add-ons, and other extra features that are just sitting there, unused. Often these elements clog your software in ways you can’t see and slow things down. The basic rule of thumb: if you’re not using it, get rid of it!
- Upload images in a size appropriate for the WEB. Images are one of the largest drains on website load times. Try to limit the amount of images you have on your website. When you do use imagery, make sure it is exported to the exact dimensions for the space it occupies and no larger. Also, compress images as much as possible without sacrificing image quality. There are countless free utilities online that do this.
- Install a caching plugin. Caching is a process in which static HTML files of your website are created and given to visitors behind the scenes. Then when visitors come again to your site, any dynamic content (e.g. images) loads faster because the static material is already there, ready and waiting. If your site is a WordPress site, we recommend a plugin like WP Super Cache. You can also check out our Bluehost Help Center article about WordPress caching plugins for detailed instructions.
- Activate CloudFlare. CloudFlare is a fantastic caching tool for all websites – especially those that for one reason or another cannot utilize a caching plugin. CloudFlare maintains a cache of particular files from your website, typically those that are traditionally problematic or require longer load times. It then stores this information on various servers all over the world. This effectively places your website closer visitors, making it load faster. With your Bluehost account, you can enable CloudFlare on your site for free! Check out our Bluehost Help Center article for further details.
These are just a few ways to quickly and easily speed up your site. You can further examine how your website is performing by using a site like GTmetrix. Services like these sometimes even offer insight as to what particular website elements need to be optimized!
When your website is tuned and running well, more of your server resources can be devoted to serving actual traffic and visitors, instead of doing heavy lifting with slow, heavy, sluggish website software. Make sure to keep your website lean and mean and you’ll be guaranteed to have more success!
If you need help with any of these steps, you can always contact our Bluehost Help Center by calling us 24/7 at 888.401.4678 or through 24/7 live chat. Don’t miss our next post that will explain the difference between various types of domain settings.