Most visitors to your website never give a second thought to how your website was built.   All they care about is that the site is fast and works properly.  Having a slow or a non-functioning website will make visitors quickly leave and they will never come back.  All websites need tweaking to make them as fast as possible. This is especially true for WordPress-based websites. Include these four behind the scenes improvements to keep visitors coming back.

Reduce Number of Requests

Minimize the number of HTTP requests.  Each time your website requires an image, css file, javascript file, or php file, your web browser sends a request to the web server.  Each request slows your website down.  Consider combining files (such as css and javascript) in order to reduce the number of times your web browser must send a request to your web server. This improvement helps browsers display your web page faster due to having to request fewer files.

Optimize Images

Of all the improvements, this is the most important improvement you can do to your website. Optimize images to reduce their download size.  Some websites have images that are larger than required for the design.  Use an image manipulation program to reduce image sizes the the correct size for your website.  Also, set the correct width and height attributes for your images in your web page code.  Don’t use css to size your images. The best time to optimize images is before uploading them. WordPress automatically creates different sizes of your images and servers the appropriate image to browsers. If the default image sizes do not match the sizes required for your theme, you can change the image sizes through the WordPress dashboard. You can also add different image sizes by adding code to your functions.php file.

Minify Files

Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to reduce their download time.  Most developers write their code in an easy to read format which includes extra spaces and tabs.  Use software to strip these extra items out of the web page code before uploading files to your server. Most cache plugins have an option to minify and combine files. There are free caching plugins available but WPRocket performs extremely well at speeding up a website..

Use a CDN

Use a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver common support files used by your website. A CDN consists of a network of high-performance servers located throughout the world.  A visitor’s web browser will use the CDN closest to their location, thereby reducing the time required to download the files. Most web hosting companies offer CDN inclusion as an added feature.

Although visitors to your web site will never know that you have adopted these improvements in your website, they will surely appreciate the increased performance of your website.

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