The Need for Speed

Speed…. Have you noticed all the chat around the internet about the speed of websites?

The need for speed is the current hot marketing topic.

Websites consist of a very large number of files. Image files, css files and literally hundreds of other files that magically talk to each other resulting a website displaying on your browser. In the case of the website Dynamic Virtual Assistance we are talking 134,000+ files.

Read more about what makes up a website.

The speed of your website depends on a number of factors:

  • the speed of your host servers
  • how efficient the code used in the website design is
  • how optimised for fast loading are the images
  • if your domain name and website hosting are on the same site

Why is speed so important?

Sadly in this day and age of “have it delivered in a millisecond” it appears that unless your webpage loads within a few seconds the marketing research is telling us that viewers become impatient and click off your site. This idea seems to be driving much of the current “need for speed”

Host Speed

This is a complex topic that I will address another day. In brief you get what you pay for. A very cheap hosting of only a few dollars a month means that the minimum amount of resources are being individually allocated to your site. Move up in hosting costs and generally you get a more personalised service. The premium level of personal servers and you get it all to yourself. If you need to host a very large site with super fast speed then be prepared to pay a lot of money. I personally prefer something in the middle for hosting. There are however other factors to consider when choosing hosting that are not linked with its speed. A great way to check out the speed of the host company is to speed check their webpage and to find other pages using this host and check their speed. This will allow you to verify the claims made by the sales consultants who will tell you what they think you want to hear. If they are telling you their websites load fast but their own site does not achieve above 40 or 50/100 then I would be doubtful of their claims.

Code Efficiency

As the end user you have no control over the efficiency of the code used to develop either WordPress or the theme code used for your WordPress website. However you do have an ability to check that the developer you engage is using efficient methods. The best way to do this is to check the speed of loading of other pages the designer has listed in their portfolio and to check that they are aware of this fact when designing. A badly designed site will load inefficiently no matter how good the speed of the hosting company.

In the event you chose to use a theme template you can also check that the template is not bloated by inefficient code. In this respect you do not necessarily get what you pay for and some of the free templates may actually be more efficiently coded than the big expensive themes due to the fact that they are far less complicated. It is well noted within the industry that the top selling theme Avada tends to be somewhat bloated. Purchase the theme that has the features you need to do the job you require and resist the temptation to add every plugin knows to man because “they look like fun” or the “WP guru says you must have this one”.

Recently I was asked to look at a website that from a marketing point of view was a disaster but boy was it fast. Lightening fast even on my slow internet. It was not a WordPress website however. Back to the point I make all the time – ensure that you know your needs before looking for the technology to suit those needs. Read more about this.

Image optimisation

Big images are impressive but will dramatically slow down the loading speed. As a general rule you do not need high resolution images for websites. Images need to be optimised before uploading. There are some ways in which this can be achieved once they are uploaded but ensuring they are small files initially is better. This is another important question to ask any potential web developer.

Domain name

Living in Australia we often prefer to use domain names. Unfortunately that sometimes means we are limited in options for purchase and will need to have the domain name managed by a separate company to our hosting. When that is the case speed degradation may occur if the domain hosting companies equipment is not reacting at a fast enough rate whilst transferring the information across to the hosting company. BUT there are some good reasons to keep the domain and hosting seperate. Aim for rapid speed response from both companies.

Like to find out what your website speed is? Click here and enter your url.

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