How To Speed Up And Make Your Website Load Faster To Stop Losing Customers

how to speed up your website

In this post, you’re going to discover how to potentially cut your web page load time in half and speed up your website using a free tool.

What You’ll Learn In This Tutorial

1. 4 big reasons why your website must load faster in today’s world
2. The two big changes you need to make to cut your web page load time drastically
3. How to use GTMetrix (free) to analyze your site for potential improvements
3. Step-by-step instructions on how to do it (takes 5-10 minutes)

By the end of this tutorial, your website or blog will be optimized so you can stop losing visitors and sales!

But firstly, you’re probably wondering, “What benefit does my website have when it loads faster?”

Here are 4 big reasons why you should optimize your website for speed:

  1. Each second of delay results in a loss of sales. If your site is slow, your visitors will be put off and click that [X] close button.

  2. Your bounce rate will increase (a bad thing). A bounce, according to Google Analytics, is when a visitor enters your page and leaves without going to another page on your site. I touched upon bounce rate in my July Monthly Growth Report.

  3. You’ll waste your marketing efforts. If your site is slow, say goodbye to your advertising dollars and promotions because people have better things to do than wait. Stop the leak so you don’t end up wasting money..

  4. Better search engine results. Believe it or not, Google now takes into account page load times as part of their 200+ algorithms to determine where your page sits in Google. In fact, Google has it’s own page analysis tool called PageSpeed Insights.

With that said, let’s now get into the nitty gritty. Don’t worry, it’s not going to require a computer degree! I’ll try my best to make this tutorial as “non-geeky” as possible.

It should take about 5-10 minutes to implement.

What we’re going to do is use a free web based tool called GTMetrix.

How To Use GTMetrix To Speed Up Your Website

I talked a little about GTMetrix in Episode #5 of The Unstoppable Profits Podcast, but this tutorial will go into more details with step-by-step instructions so you can start seeing the results right away.

GTMetrix is a site analysis tool that gives you a speed grade and also recommendations on how to fix problematic areas of your site.

Let’s go through steps now…

1. Head to GTMetrix.com

2. Enter your URL in the field and click Go.

3. You’ll then be presented with a summary, like this:

speed up your website with gtmetrix

FYI – The site I’m demonstrating with isn’t this blog.

I will detail the stats before and after the optimization process so you can compare.

Here are the current stats:

  • Page Speed Grade: E, 56%
  • YSlow Grade: D, 68%
  • Page load time: 2.81s
  • Total page size: 1.14MB
  • Total number of requests: 62

Essentially, what you are trying to do is improve those poor graded recommendations that you see in red and yellow.

4. Let’s start with the easiest thing we can do. In my opinion, enabling gzip compression is the easiest thing to do. So here’s what do to. Click on the ‘Enable gzip compression‘. You’ll then be able to see the amount of reduction:

enable gzip compression

With every recommendation listed by GTMetrix, there’s a ‘What does this mean?’ link. It will take you to a page giving you details and/or instructions on how to execute the recommendation.

gzip compression

For the gzip compression, you’re simply going to copy and paste some code to your .htaccess file. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1. Open your FTP software or File Manager in cPanel

Step 2. Open your .htaccess file in your text editor

htaccess

Step 3. Add these lines of code to the file (copy and paste):

<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
  # Compress HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Text, XML and fonts
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
  AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

  # Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)
  BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
  BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
  BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
  Header append Vary User-Agent
</IfModule>

It should look something like this in your text editor:
htaccess code

Step 4. Save it and upload.

5. After making this update, go back to GTMetrix again and check your site. Here’s my result:

gt metrix results

Awesome improvements so far!

From a Page Speed Grade of 56% to 89%! Page load time has also decreased from 2.81s to 2.53s.

6. The next improvement you want to make are your images. Images take up a heck of a lot of space if they aren’t compressed properly.

What you want to click on this time is Optimize Images. You’ll find a list of all the images that GTMetrix detected that could be replaced:

optimize images gtmetrix

This demonstration site is not too bad with images, but it’s still a good step to speeding up the site.

What you want to do is click the ‘optimized version’ link so you can see the optimized version of the image.

You then want to save the image and replace the original with the optimized version via FTP or File manager in cPanel.

Here are my results after optimizing images:

final results gtmetrix

A noticeable improvement with the Page load time!

Just by making those two tweaks, I’ve improved the speed by a great margin. Here are the final results:

  • Page Speed Grade: A, 92% (+36%)
  • YSlow Grade: C, 75% (+7%)
  • Page load time: 2.12s (-0.69s)
  • Total page size: 601KB (-539KB)
  • Total number of requests: 61 (-1)

With a page load time of just 2 seconds, I’m not complaining!

I won’t go through the rest of the tweaks but I will give you a list of other things you should optimize that’s somewhat easy to do, based on your experience:

  • Leverage browser caching
  • Specify image dimensions
  • Minify CSS
  • Minify HTML

Be careful with the last two as it involves a change in web code. Always make backup copies.

Some of the other recommendations simply cannot be optimized because they load from another server out of your control. A typical example is a social plug-in that requires Javascript.

Other tips on improving the speed of your site:

  • Don’t install too many WordPress plug-ins. The more you have, the more requests and load time it’s gonna take.

  • If you’re more advanced or even if you don’t want to play around with your website’s code, you can use a caching WordPress plug-in like WordPress W3 Supercache or WP Super Cache. There are options to automatically enable some of the recommendations GTMetrix suggests.

  • A faster web host/server will make a difference to speed, too. Only do this when you have money to.

Your Turn!

So there you have it! As easy as that, your site will load as quick as a flash.

Do this now and then let me know your before and after stats in the comments box below!

I’d love to see your results and whether this post has helped.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Thanks you Aurelius.
    I am not someone who deals with code. I have broken my site before with something simple.
    But, I have considered a cache plugin.

    Can the 2 plugins that you mention interfere with other operations of the site or other plugins? I have read pros and cons over the years.

    What do you think? DO you have a preference? I know speed of loading is so important!

    Thanks again. It is nice when the %100 come up, at least something is right! Be well.

    1. Hey Mary. Yes, I can understand why you don’t want to touch code, that’s no problem.

      I’ve had no problems so far with W3 Supercache. It shouldn’t interfere. Best way to test is to install the plug-in, but do a test using GTMetrix to get your before results, then install it, configure some of the settings, open your site and see if it everything functions 100%. You can then run GTMetrix again to see what results you get. Usually it should improve.

      Let us know your results!

  2. Hi Aurelius:

    Thanks for the post on improving our webpages, greatly appreciated.

    Before doing any tweaks my stats were – B 88%…C 74% and Page Load 8.23

    After completing Gzip Compression on this site I had stats as follows:
    B 88%….C 73%….Page Load 5.71

    After Optimizing 18 of 30 images – A 90%….C 74%….Page Load 30.22

    I still have a bunch of work to do to see what I can do to get that page load back to a satisfactory number – will implement the remaining suggestions you made – thanks again. The page load is bugging me right now as I was hoping for improvement but instead page load became worse – 30.22 is bad I assume. 🙂

    1. Hi Carl. I’ve taken a look at your site. It’s for http://healingmusicemporium.com right?

      I’m getting a staggering 19.36s, yet when I save your page to my computer it only contained about 1.1MB of data.

      I’m suspecting there might be three things that may be causing GTMetrix to report that number:

      1) Your “featured article” slider. I see that it pre-loads the images first. I would normally avoid photo sliders. It’s a waste of first fold real estate. If you want to keep the slider, just have one featured article.

      2) The YouTube video on you right sidebar (even though it’s not supposed to load if you’re not clicking the play button).

      3) Your site background of the ocean may be taking a large chunk in size. Try and use a solid color. Your background image: http://healingmusicemporium.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/1008662_35099999.jpg. That’s 1.1MB in size on it’s own.

      Try and make those changes and then let me know your results.

      You could also enable browser caching.

  3. Hi, from Georgia.Thanks for e-mail! it’ s a fact most things around my life are very slow, nowdays! Many obligations around the fields keep me hunging on, it’ s impossible to manoeuvre settings through my nokia C1-01. In fact i can’t use or receive video at all!

    1. Best to use a computer to make these changes. I don’t know how you would be able to do it on a mobile device.

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