What are the best tools for speeding up a website?

Share This Post

Both search engines and humans dislike slow loading websites, apart from the fact that it wastes the visitor’s time, it also consumes a lot of resources on its hosting server. Google and other search engines have reiterated the importance of speeding up a website and improve the user experience.  Visitors easily bounce off from slow loading websites and this increases such site’s bounce rate and Google sees a high bounce rate as an indication of a less relevant content and uses this to judge your ranking position.

There are several factors that can lead to a slow loading website ranging from the processor capacity of your hosting server to your site theme to even images on your site. Other things like your site’s CSS and JavaScripts can also affect your site’s performance and this can adversely affect your ranking in the search engines.

Today I want to share some best tools for speeding up a website with you in this article so you can improve your site’s load time, user experience and also your search engine rankings. I am going to base my assumptions on WordPress.

Best Tools for Speeding up a website:

Caching Plugin: The first tool to consider if you are looking at speeding up your website’s loading time and general performance is a caching plugin. I personally use W3 Total Cache plugin on my blog, this plugin is an excellent WordPress plugin and it can help to speed up your site by caching your site, minifying CSS and JavaScript, save bandwidths by minifying and compressing HTML, CSS, JavaScript and RSS feeds etc. This plugin improves your server performance, caching your site and thus reducing the download time of your site files from the hosting server. It also provides content delivery network CDN integration.

So if you are not already using a caching plugin on your site, I will advise you install W3 Total Cache today and experience great improvement in your site performance.

What are the best tools for speeding up a website

Content Delivery Network CDN: This is also another important tool for speeding up a website. Content delivery networks popularly known as CDNs are network of servers around the world that serves your site’s files through hundreds of servers to your site visitors based on their proximity.  You can read more about Content Delivery Network CDN here.

I personally use CloudFlare CDN on my blog to improve my site speed and general user experience. Simply read CloudFlare:Why every blogger should use this CDN.

Web Hosting: You may optimize your site as much as possible, even compress images, combine and minify CSS/JavaScript files, cache your site with W3 Total Cache Plugin or any other Caching plugin and your site may still be slow. Your hosting service may slow down your site, no amount of optimization can overcome an overloaded/underpowered server.

So my advice will be to get an improved hosting plan mostly on a dedicated or even VPS server. You can also upgrade your server hardware like RAM and processor if you are hosting yourself. This will greatly help you in speeding up your website. This is a lesson I learnt a long time ago and the reason why I had to move from Syskay to a more and improved hosting plan on Arvixe.

WP Smush.it: This is yet another important tool for speeding up a website. Most times images used in our blog posts are large and takes more resources to load on a browser, this add load to the server and in turn slows down the site. One of the best practices in speeding up a page load time is in compressing the images on it.

I find this tool useful in compressing and reducing the sizes of the images in my blog posts and in turn improve the page load time and my site in general. So if you are not already using this plugin, download and install it now.

Genesis Theme: I know this point may sound promotional but I am sharing from experience. I am considering Genesis theme as one of the best tools in speeding up a website in this article for obvious reasons. One of the major reasons for a slow website lies in its theme; mostly poorly coded themes consume a lot of server resources trying to load its components, remember it’s not all about the looks of a theme but its ability to quickly load on a browser without consuming much resources and thus slowing down a site.

I find Genesis themes very fast and responsive as well unlike so many other themes I have worked with in the past. Genesis themes are coded in a way that the CSS and JavaScripts won’t affect your site loading time and this is another reason why I am advising you to switch to Genesis if you are not already using one.

Other methods of improving your site speed includes switching to Google adsense asynchronous ad code type. Google has said that the asynchronous ad code type will not affect your site’s load time at all unlike the synchronous ad code type. I have shared my reasons in an article I previously published on this blog titled ‘Why I switched to Google Adsense asynchronous ad code type’.

I hope you can use these tools in improving your site’s speed and improve your search engine ranking. If you have any contributions or questions please use the comment section below. Remember to subscribe to my RSS feed.


Comments

  1. says

    There are great tips! HI want to add just a few things

    If you want to evaluate a page with Yahoo’s best practices, you can use their YSlow tool.

    I’m also a big fan of MaxCDN, but if anyone is looking for a free CDN option, check out CloudFlare.

    Finally, Ian Lurie recently wrote a website performance post that I highly recommend: How we made Portent.com really freaking fast.

  2. says

    Hi Nwosu

    can i use WP Smush it together with caching plugins such as WP Super Cache? sorry, i am really familiar with those plugin

    thank you for sharing about CDN since i am really familiar about it as well as the Genesis theme. what if i Change my theme from Revolution Lifestyle (my theme today) to Genesis theme or to other themes? will my content be compromised?

  3. says

    Yes you can use WP Smush.it with any caching plugin of your choice and a Genesis theme wont affect your contents at all, once you can be able to customize it and place your sidebar widgets properly.

  4. says

    I’m already using cloudflare on my website and I must say that it is quite brilliant. The overall performance of my blog has improved gradually.

  5. says

    All are helpful plug ins Nwosu.

    People are impatient. Like, most people LOL! Serve up content fast or risk losing a visitor. Delayed gratification is a thing of the past; at least with most people, so use tools to speed up your blog and keep more readers in front of your content.

    Thanks for sharing Nwosu!

    Ryan

  6. says

    Some new tips I discovered here in your post. I was unaware about smush.it and will look into it soon.

    I agree the hosting and theme are the first thing you should care if you with a faster site. Other aspects are just tweaking and optimizing.

    How are you finding CloudFlare? I used it for some time and left afterwords. I guess it is good for site security but found my site was down many times even when my servers were perfectly fine. I did not think it better to add another downtime due to yet another service.

  7. says

    The plugin WPSmush.it is one that should be used by every WordPress blogger …It has the real capability to automatically optimize your blog images …thus improving the load time speed of a WordPress blog.

    Regards,
    pramod

  8. says

    I haven’t really put so much time into monitoring to my blog’s page load time…thanks for this tutorial , i will start to work on my page load time

  9. says

    CDN,cache plugin and smush it really one of the best tool for our speed and i’m not aware genesis theme which i have not tried yet till now between nice tip to track our speed performance

  10. says

    Best of the best ways to speed up wordpress sites.
    I’m using w3 cache and smush it and both are awesome.
    Now I’ll add remaining plugins too :)
    Bro, can you please tell me how to reduce your theme’s width?
    I’m also using the same theme, but my Flare plugin is not fitting to screen. I think you have reduce your theme width. If true, then please share the way with me :)

  11. says

    I know only Cache plugin and am using it to improve my page loading speed.

    Will have a look @ your specified tools to speed up my website.

    Nice information shared here, keep doing it!

  12. says

    Hello Nwosu Mavtrevor!

    This just another informative post from you. I highly appreciate your efforts to make us understand something we are not following lately. I did install wrp smush.it by reading your post and I hope to add Cloudflare in a few days. Do you know how can I check if my server is overloaded?

  13. says

    Thanks for your comment, simply a server is overloaded when it cannot perform it’s required functions in a timely manner. Are you getting errors on your site? What kind of error is that?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>