Improving Site Speed

August 5, 2019

Though fjorge is not a digital strategy company and do not claim to have expertise in search engine optimization strategy (for that level of service, we will proudly recommend any of our marketing agency and SEO strategy partners), we do understand and recommend basic best practices that will keep your current site speed fast, so it’s in ship-shape for your next major strategic enhancement.

A frequent request type that comes to our CMS Managed Services department is a general concern about site speed. Here are a few tips you can do through the CMS to enhance your site speed without the help of a developer, plus a few requests you can make of your development partner to get you to the next level for optimized site speed.

You Can: Reduce Image Sizes

All too frequently we receive image files, or see that clients have loaded image files into their media library, which are print quality. There’s a big difference between print quality images and web optimized images. Print quality images need to be very high resolution so that the images can be printed on very large surfaces. Web images do not need to be very large, and generally should be .png or .jpeg files. Larger, high-resolution images take up more space, and therefore take more time to load on a page.

Here’s an example:

  • Unoptimized image: 3200×1600 dimensions // 300 resolution (pixels per inch, or PPI)
  • Optimized image: 1920×960 dimensions // 72 resolution (PPI)

This example uses the exact same image, but it is compressed in a way not noticeable to your site visitor. While there are some monitors that exceed 1920px width, it is rare that your visitors would be viewing your site on a monitor that large. The 300 PPI resolution is the most important factor. Unless you’re encouraging your users to download and print the images, the PPI does not need to be so high. If you do need your visitor to download and print the image, we recommend adding a “Print Friendly” button where they would print the larger image.

If the only images you have at your disposal are large images, you can find services to compress and optimize them for your site, before you load them into your CMS. Software such as Adobe Photoshop is a great resource for this.

You Can: Reduce Redirects

Redirects are when you change a URL structure and need to make sure old links on other sites still direct users to the right page. Without redirects, those links will show a 404 error, and you’ll miss out on audience engagement.

However, if your own site is also referencing those old URLs, your users are unnecessarily being redirected from our site, to your site, and therefore experiencing additional wait time. You can avoid this by going through any internal links within your CMS and making sure they are updated.

You Can: Avoid Add New Plugins

That is: do not add new plugins, or update existing plugins, without help from a developer. Just because a plugin is available and claims to do what you want it to do, does not mean it will be compatible with your site. Worse, it could be an abandoned plugin, meaning it is no longer supported by the original developers who made it, and therefore can cause significant security risks to your site.

Ask your development partner for recommendations if you think a new plugin is right for your site. You may learn a plugin on your site already has the functionality you’re looking for (it just needs to be “turned on”), or a few simple lines of code would do the trick without adding more bulk to your site.

Your Developer Can: Remove Inactive or Unused Plugins

Along the same vein, your site may have been built with plugins that no longer serve the functionality they were initially added for; they may have been replaced by a different plugin that better met the needs of your site, or they may no longer be relevant as your site has evolved. Either way, they are taking up space on your site and may be introducing new code to your site (via updates) you don’t need.

Again, we recommend having your development partner audit your site before removing any plugins, just to make sure there will be no unintended consequences.

Your Developer Can: Increase Server Capacity

If your business has grown since you first launched your site, and you’re receiving more traffic than before, it’s likely your site speed has slowed down significantly due to inadequate server capacity. Much like with wifi bandwidth, the more people using your site, the more activity it is attempting to process, and therefore the more sluggish it becomes. There is nothing wrong with your site. You simply have outgrown your server and could benefit from an upgrade — it’s like increasing your wifi plan when your family grows. If you’re website is on a shared server, ask your development partner if it’s time to upgrade to a dedicated server, so your site is not competing with other site volumes.

Managed Services with fjorge

fjorge has a dedicated CMS Managed Services team with several plan options available. Our priority is the security and sustained functionality of your site. Our Silver and Gold plans include extra dedicated hours for enhancements, along with other benefits like dedicated hosting and speed boosts. If you’re looking for a development partner to service your website, you’ve come to the right place!

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