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A fast website
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A fast website

The best website is a fast website. Your visitors decide within 6 to 8 seconds if they want to stay on your website. On a slow website, visitors click away faster. That costs your company potential turnover.

A fast website

The faster your website is, the more pleasant it is for your visitors. The longer they stay on your website, the more attention they pay to your message. And the greater the chance that you can convince them to take the action you want.

Search engines such as Google take the speed of a website into account in the search results. With similar websites, the fastest websites are shown higher in the search results. A good search engine optimisation strategy is actually not possible without a fast website.

How do you test the speed of your website?

Some browsers have an option to analyse your site. Google Chrome has an "Inspect" option with which you can test the speed of your website via "lighthouse". As well as the best method, accessibility and search engine optimization of your website.

There are also online tools with which you can analyse the speed of your website. See "Learn more" for some tools.

What factors ensure a fast website?

Several factors influence having a fast website:

The quality of the server

Choose your hosting on quality and not on price. The "too cheap" seems interesting to some, but a slow website will cost you more because it delivers less. For a fast website you choose quality hosting:

  • Hosting optimised for speed
  • different server cache possibilities
  • faster web server software, e.g. Nginx instead of Apache
  • better safety with regard to backups and TLS/SSL certificates

The use of cache

Many websites work with a Content Management System that makes the website very dynamic and flexible. When creating articles, the textual content is stored in a database. The images are stored as files. 

When a page is shown to a visitor, the page is put together on the spot. The text is extracted from the database and merged with the images and design. Calling up a database, looking up the data and displaying that data takes more time than retrieving a previously saved page with the same information.

That previously compiled page can be saved for a certain time (e.g. 15 minutes) (= cache) and can be retrieved and shown to other visitors faster. This allows you to make a fast website even faster.

Design elements

A page of a website contains text, images, formatting (HTML), design (CSS), scripts (JavaScript) and fonts (fonts). Of course, you want a website that looks good. But if you want a fast website, you have to take this into account:

  • The required files (number and size): the fewer and the smaller, the faster the page loads.
  • Inline or external CSS and JavaScript files; inline code is reprocessed on every page. A separate CSS or JavaScript file is cached by a browser and is therefore faster.
  • The amount, size and degree of optimization of CSS/JavaScript/fonts files; the smaller, less and optimized (minified), the faster your website.
  • Onsite or externally retrieved files; external retrievals cost more time and you are dependent on the other websites.

Extensions

A Content Management System is very flexible. You can easily expand the functionality by installing extensions (plugins). However, the more extensions are active on a page, the slower your website will be. Consciously choose only what is really needed and determine what influence the extensions have on the speed.

Images

A text-only website is a very fast website. But boring and not attractive to read. Pictures contain a lot more data that has to be sent from the server to the visitor's browser. To get a fast website, you need to send as little data as possible. You can do this by optimising the images:

  • Use the correct file formats:
    • jpg is often used with pictures.
    • png is often used for images that need to remain sharper (e.g. logo).
    • svg is very small and stays sharp when enlarged (e.g. own logo)
  • so do not use the right size larger than the picture is shown.
  • Optimise commonly used images with lossless compression tools.
A fast website

How fast is your website?

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* according to Peter Martin

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