Top 15 Ways to Speed Up Your Website in 2023

Top 15 Ways to Speed Up Your Website in 2023


By Damien Alcock

Website speed is enormously important in 2023. Faster page loading times provide a better user experience for visitors to your site, helping to maximise the amount of time they spend on your site and more importantly, increase the chances of them becoming a paying customer. In addition to this, page loading times are also a Google search engine rankings factor; if your site loads faster than your competitors, then you may see a rankings boost.

The following is a list of the top 20 ways in which you can look to speed up your website in 2023 and beyond.

1) Check your site speed regularly

An essential step to monitoring and improving your website speed is to run regular site speed tests. There are a wide variety of popular online speed testing tools available, such as Pingdom, GTmetrix and Dareboost. The most important one however, is provided by Google themselves, and is known as PageSpeed Insights. It’s a good idea to perform speed tests regularly, as there are many things that can affect page loading times, such as plugins, poorly optimised images that have large file sizes, server congestion and more.

2) Create all content with speed in mind

How you display content on your pages can have a dramatic effect on page speed. Implement the following for pages that contain large amounts of content.

  • Use ‘read more’ buttons to ensure that only a brief paragraph of essential content is displayed by default, with users required to click the button if they wish to see the text in its entirety
  • Link to larger assets such as galleries, PDF documents and so on, instead of displaying them all on page

3) Avoid hotlinking

Hotlinking is the practice of loading images on your pages that are hosted on the websites of others. Not only does it hinder your page loading times, it’s also unprofessional, as it effectively means that you are stealing the image and bandwidth of another website, without their permission. Even if you are unaware that what you are doing is in fact illegal, you could nonetheless find yourself the target of a copyright infringement lawsuit from the rightful owner.

4) Don’t make your page designs needlessly complicated

An easy way to prevent your site from becoming needlessly slow, is it to keep it simplified. While you may be tempted to wow your visitors by cramming every modern design trend onto a single page, doing so will inevitably come at the cost of speed. In reality, all those special effects that were intended to captivate, may actually harm your ability to attract customers, if the page takes forever to load.

5) Use website compression

Whether you have an ordinary website design or an eCommerce site, website compression can greatly improve site speed by reducing page sizes. Websites use a file format known as GZIP (short for GNU Zip), which is capable of compression and decompression. GZIP allows you to compress your website’s HTML pages, stylesheets and scripts. GZIP allows your website to be compressed into a single (zip) file, allowing it to be downloaded to a user’s browser at far greater speeds.

6) Use a CDN

CDN stands for content delivery network, and as the name suggests, consists of a network of web servers, rather than a single server. If your website receives traffic from users that are based right across the globe, then CDNs are an ideal solution. When you have a CDN, your website’s files are hosted on each of the CDN’s servers, which are conveniently located across the world, just as your customers are. This ensures lightning-fast page loading times for users, regardless of which geographic location they happen to browsing your site from.

Aside from the speed benefits, CDNs also provide an extra layer of security, helping to safeguard your site from DDoS (denial of service) attacks and ordinary spikes in server traffic, which can cause unwanted slow down.

7) Ensure your database is properly maintained

Like a garden that’s been heavily neglected, your database will become an untidy mess over time, littered with files that you no longer need. For this reason, it’s important that all unwanted files, such as images, scripts, plugins and more, are all removed on a routine basis. Keeping your database free from digital waste will ensure greater performance and with it, you guessed it, faster loading times.

8) Use a site caching plugin

In the context of websites, caching is a method of storing website files in a storage location (cache), allowing them to be retrieved at a faster speed. In layman’s terms, it means that any static content on a website that a user has already seen, will not have to be redownloaded again, when they view the same page the next time. This is naturally desirable if you operate a website. The only downside to caching, is that its effects can only be utilised, once a user has visited the same page more than once.

9) Optimise image file sizes

Images are typically responsible for a significant portion of your web page’s overall size, making it essential that they are suitably compressed to reduce their file size as much as possible. The best file format for all image types in 2023 is Google’s proprietary file format known as WebP. It offers superior compression to all traditional image formats such as JPG, PNG and GIF, resulting in smaller file sizes and quicker download speeds.

10) Host your videos on external sites

Hosting videos on your own server can result in slower video loading times, while chewing through your hosting bandwidth. All website videos should be hosted externally on a video sharing platform such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion etc. Each of these options will provide superfast streaming speeds for your users, no matter where they are based in the world.

11) Use Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is the process of loading objects, only when they are required. This is particularly useful when loading pages that contain larger file sizes. Instead of loading the entire page all at once, the page will only load what is required to be displayed on screen. As the user scrolls down the page, more and more elements will be loaded as needed. Doing this can provide much faster loading times.

Note – a downside to lazy loading, is that sometimes a user may find themselves scrolling at a rate that is faster than a website is able to (lazy) load the required on-screen elements. This results in the user only seeing the background, until the elements have had a chance to load and become visible. This can cause confusion to visitors who are unfamiliar with the concept of lazy loading, and they may instead interpret it as a broken web page. In such instances, this can unintentionally create a poor user experience.

12) Keep JavaScript usage to a minimum

Many visual effects that you see on websites are driven by JS (JavaScript) and these special animations can burden your page loading times. To minimise the impact that JS has on your site speed, look to implement the following:

  • Make use of async (asynchronous) loading: This technique helps to improve page speed, as forces JS files to load together, instead of one at a time. And the handy thing about async loading is that if one file fails to load or malfunctions, the remaining async JS files are unaffected and still able to perform without issue.
  • Give certain JS files lower loading priority: Another way to ensure swifter page speeds, is to force bigger files that aren’t required to load straight away, to only initialise once everything else on the page has.
  • Minify JS: The ability to compress or ‘minify’ your JS files is an option available to all cache plugins. Minifying your JS files is yet another one to reduce the burden of JS files on page loading performance.
  • Consider placing JS towards the end of files: Some components do work effectively when they are forced to load with JS files. Work around this by making all HTML render before JS.

13) Avoid redirections

Even on fast web servers, redirects can greatly hinder loading times. To identify all internal links on your site that link to redirected pages, consider using Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Ahrefs or any of the numerous other software applications that have this feature.

14) Choose a fast web hosting service

All of these on-page optimisations can be in vain if you have poor quality web hosting. If you go through and implement every suggestion listed in this article and still find that your page loading times are less than spectacular, then you may need to consider either upgrading your existing hosting plan, or moving to a faster web hosting service provider.

To guarantee the fastest possible hosting solution for your website, consider opting for a dedicated server. This means your website has an entire server all to itself, without having to share its bandwidth with any other website. This speed and exclusivity does come at a price however, with dedicated server packages being considerably more expensive than shared hosting solutions.

To find out more about which hosting solution is best for your business, visit our web hosting page.

15) Get rid of surplus plugins

Plugins are one of the biggest reasons why content management systems such as WordPress are as popular as they are. No matter which features or functionality you require to have added to your site, you can guarantee that there is a plugin available to meet your needs. Unfortunately, the more plugins your site has, the slower it becomes.

Plugins can do more than just harm your site speed, as well. Plugins that have not been updated by the developer in a long time, pose a security risk to your website. If you do not know which plugins are not necessary, or which ones are pose a security risk to your site, have a web developer inspect your plugins for you. In some cases, there will be one plugin that can perform the tasks of 2 or 3 plugins, ensuring greater efficiency and superior site speeds.

Want to know what it takes to create a stunning website that your visitors will love? Be sure to read our ultimate guide, Web Design 101.