Improve Website Load and Speed Performance with Caching

Do you manage a WordPress, e-commerce or membership website? If so, taking steps to enhance your site’s performance is an important consideration for acquiring and retaining visitors.

One way to improve your website is to configure caching, which can have a significant impact on overall website performance. Not to mention, it is one of the easier things you can do. Caching (pronounced “cashing”) is the process of keeping data in a temporary storage area known as a ‘cache’. This allows the data to later be retrieved without the need to request the data from the original source.

By setting up caching, you are able to address several concerns:

  • Allow your website to load more quickly
  • Improve user experience
  • Reduce overall website load

A common caching scenario may include fixed elements of your website, such as your “Contact” page. Instead of requiring a visitor’s browser to retrieve this information from the host server at each visit, slowing load time and increasing bandwidth, caching stores this information and presents it right away once a visitor returns.

While there are different ways to configure caching, one popular method is to use a cache plugin. There are many to choose from, with each offering various features and load times, though all aim to improve website performance. A favorite among WordPress users, to provide one example, is W3 Total Cache. The highly-recommended plugin comes with lots of customizable features, and is easily accessed through the WordPress settings page. Try out a few caching plugins and see which one works best for you.

To analyze your site’s performance right away, head over to and receive a score using PageSpeed and YSlow, with each offering recommendations on how to make things faster.

By boosting your website’s performance, you will not only enhance your users’ experience, but also improve your search rankings and drive the overall volume of traffic visiting your website.


Why Slow Websites are Bad

Let’s face it. If you’re in business in almost any way at all, you’ve got a website. You’ve worked with it, suffered through figuring out stuff you never thought about before and maybe even hired someone to do a website for you. However, after all those headaches and all the heartache, you feel like your website simply crawls along. And, if you feel that way, odds are your website visitors feel the same way.

In today’s world, where high speed internet is available from your cable company or phone company (land line or cellular), there’s no way your website should make you feel like you’re on dial-up. But, with a few mistakes and a few bad choices, your website may truly act like it’s stuck in the 90’s. Here are some reasons why:

– Huge graphics – Even though broadband connections have alleviated most of the graphic choke points that doomed many websites during dial-up days, having graphics web optimized is still as important as ever. Today’s websites are far more graphics intensive than ever before which means you have to still split borders, title bars, menus and large backgrounds to keep pages loading fast. Also, take advantage of modern website optimizers to find other bottlenecks. You can find speed tests/optimizers on a number of websites. Dotcom Monitor has a useful tool, and so does Pingdom.

– “Home” hosting (part 1) – Granted, setting up your own personal web server is easier than ever. One problem is, even as fast as your internet connection is, your upload speed, or the speed at which visitors download your website is a lot slower than having a hosting company that may charge a few dollars a month for tons of speed on both ends.

– “Home” hosting (part 2) – Even if you have the skills to set up your own server with PHP and MySql support with lots of bandwidth, your machine is only one box. Hosting companies use dozens, even hundreds of computers to split up the “workload”. These load balanced servers won’t bog down, even if thousands of users are on your site at the same time which prevents slow-downs.

Keeping your site as tight and as concise as possible and hosting with a company that knows how to keep your site running fast with plenty of bandwidth and great hardware are essential. You may have a slow site now, but it doesn’t have to stay that way!

What to Do if Your Website Loads Slowly

If you have a slow loading website, then you are missing out on a great deal of business. People will not take the time to tell you if your website is loading slowly; they will simply click away from your pages and move straight to your competitors.

There are a few actions that you can take on your own in order to remedy a slow loading website. Some of the best solutions require a professional hand; however, if you maintain your website with the following tips, you will not need them as much. Before taking corrective steps, it might be a good idea to actually run a speed test so you can determine which page elements are causing problems. You can find a number of useful tools that do this. A short list of those tools might include:

First, streamline your website.

If you can take out applications that do not convert customers, then do so. You can use a program such as Google Analytics to determine exactly how your website audience is acting once they are in your domain. Anything that is not working to move customers toward a sale should be immediately taken out. This goes double for multimedia and third-party apps.

Second, make sure that your web host is not throttling you.

There are many reasons that a web host might throttle a website. You may have hit the traffic limit during a spike. You may have overused your resources if you have to many employees on the network at one time. No matter the cause, call up your web host and see if your website is as fast as he should be.

Third, check the coding of your website.

This is usually something that takes the steady hand of a professional. However, if you have a WordPress template, you may be able to check the coding for your own website with online tutorials. Be very careful if you are new to this; any changes that you make may be irreversible. Streamlined code can be the best investment that you ever make, however, so if you do not feel like taking on the task yourself, call a professional in to do so.

Fourth, upgrade your server.

If you are on a shared server, then you may be receiving less resources than your website needs. It may be time for you to upgrade to a virtual private server or even a dedicated server depending on the business that you are doing.