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How to optimize website loading speed?

Did you know that site loading speed is now a key SEO criterion? If you want to rank well on Google, you need to focus on this aspect. But how can you effectively optimize your website's loading speed? In the rest of this guide, we'll give you some answers to this question.

As you can see, the faster your site loads, the higher it will rank in Google's search results. Add to this the fact that when a web surfer clicks on your page, he usually waits just 3 seconds before deciding to move on to another.

Making a diagnosis

Before writing a medical prescription, a doctor always starts by making a diagnosis to find out what his patient is suffering from. The same applies to you if you want to optimize the performance of your website.

To make the task easier, you can use specialized tools such as Pingdom, which will help you get an overview of your site's current situation. Once you've taken this first step, you'll have a sort of roadmap showing you what to do next.

Choosing the right accommodation

There are two main types of hosting: shared hosting and dedicated hosting. 

  • Shared hosting: your website is hosted on a single server along with several others.
  • Dedicated hosting: in this case, only your website is hosted on the server.

Needless to say, of these two solutions, dedicated hosting is more expensive and offers better performance. However, if you've just launched a site with few pages, shared hosting will suffice for the time being. When your site has enough traffic, you can opt for a dedicated server.

Compress your site's images

According to a study carried out by Imagify, images generally account for around 62 % of a website's weight. Hence the importance of compressing them before integrating them into your site. 

Don't worry about the final rendering of your images after compression: there are a number of tools that can reduce redundant image data without affecting the final rendering. These include Tiny PNG and Tiny Jpeg. As a guideline, you should always aim for a maximum size of 1 MB for full-screen images.

Enable GZIP compression

GZIP is an application used to compress and decompress HTML and JavaScript web files. It cannot be used on images, but only on web pages. Once you activate it on your server, all the browser has to do is serve the compressed files to your visitors.

Using a CDN 

A Content Delivery Network is an international network of servers which, when associated with your server, will distribute your website content locally. Its purpose is also to cache files that do not require urgent updating.

By using a CDN, you'll be able to handle traffic peaks, protect your servers and reach targets all over the world.

Caching elements of your site

Website caching is an essential step in optimizing your website's loading speed. It goes through several stages, and must always be adjusted to your reality.

Once the caching system has been activated, it will temporarily store repetitive elements of the site. In this way, servers can quickly deliver files to visitors.

There are two types of cache you can use to speed up the loading of your website: the first is linked to the technology used by the website, while the second depends entirely on the server you're connected to.

Choosing a responsive design template

A theme is said to be responsive design when it adapts to all devices without any pivoting defects. Whether you believe it or not, this is the most reliable solution for ensuring your site displays correctly whatever the screen size.

A responsive site takes into account elements such as :

  • Page navigation and scrolling ;
  • Resize site pages to fit the media;
  • Crop visual elements ;
  • Ease of reading.

When your site has a responsive design, it improves the experience of your users and contributes to a better positioning of your site on search engines.

Minimize your code

Before choosing the coding language for your website (HTML, Javascript or CSS), you need to bear in mind that it takes up a lot of space and can slow down the display of your site. This is because the browser needs to decipher the code before displaying your page, and the longer the code, the longer it will take to display your site.

When we talk about minifying your code, we're talking first and foremost about removing empty spaces, line breaks and separators that are generally used by the developer in charge of building the site, to make it easier to understand his work if ever someone else were to replace him.

Place scripts below the waterline

Many developers still place scripts above the site's waterline. What they don't know is that by doing so, they force the surfer to wait, which can cost them dearly in the long run.

The best way to avoid this situation is to place external files at the bottom of the page, before the tag. This way, visitors can access your site's content as they scroll down.