Tips to Keep Your Website Running Fast and Lean

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Three tips to help you keep your site loading fast and minimise your hosting costs.

1. Don’t upload video and audio files directly to your site.

Media audio and video files are comparatively large and can slow down your site. The better the quality, the larger the file. But the larger the file, the longer the loading time. Slow loading bores your visitors and negatively affects your search engine ranking.

What should I do instead?

Upload your video and audio files to a specialist hosting service and embed their player into your site.

Not all websites are built the same. YouTube, Vimeo et al are designed specifically for managing media files as efficiently as possible. For example, when you upload a video to YouTube it converts and stores it in several different sizes. Then when someone requests to view it, it serves up the version which is optimal for the bandwidth available and the device they’re watching on. So if you’re watching on a 4K television with a superfast broadband connection, it’ll serve you the best-quality version of the video it has available. But request the same video on a mobile phone with a 3G connection and you’ll see something with much lower resolution and frame rate.

Conversely, uploading a video to your own site will serve up the same video file regardless of where it’s being viewed. So unless you squeeze all the quality out of your video to get a tiny file, your visitors will only be able to watch your video without it stuttering if they have a fast enough connection.

Uploading to YouTube also provides SEO benefits: YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, and as YouTube is owned by Google, you’ll be found on there too. While it’s not its intended purpose, YouTube is also great for hosting podcasts: Just turn your audio into a video file by adding a graphic and upload it to your channel.

And if YouTube doesn’t embed things quite as you’d like, there’s nothing to stop you from uploading to multiple platforms to get the best of all possible worlds.

2. Minimise everything you upload.

Don’t upload images any larger than they need to be, either in dimensions or file size. If an image only needs to be 900 pixels wide, don’t upload anything larger.

Full-width themes demand full-width images. But even these can be compressed to reduce the size of the file, and therefore the loading time. If you’re not a photo editing expert, try running them through before uploading them to your site.

3. Avoid using server space for email.

Of course you don’t actually mean to use your email as a storage space, but everybody does it anyway. You get an email with a file attached, download the file and view it, but then keep the email stored – complete with the attached file – in your inbox, just in case you need it again. If your email account is part of your hosting package, this can rapidly fill up your storage space without you noticing.

What should I do instead?

Use a specialist email provider like Office365 or Gsuite. Reedsmore doesn’t offer email support as part of our managed hosting package, so these are a better option for anyone who needs a comprehensive knowledge base to hand. With additional spam and phishing protection, it’s well worth the small monthly investment, especially if you prefer to archive emails instead of deleting them.