4 tricks to optimize your nonprofit website for speed and user experience.

4 Tricks to Optimizing Your Website Speed

Mckenna Bailey

For many people, there’s nothing more aggravating than waiting. Whether it be waiting in line for security screenings at the airport or waiting for the waiter to bring you your meal, waiting is hard! So hard in fact, that industries today are working around these inconveniences with TSA Pre-Applications, DoorDash, and more. Such profitable luxuries minimize the hassles that waiting breeds.

For website owners, however, designing a speedy website is not a luxury: it’s a necessity. Everyday people may tolerate a long wait-time, but internet users will simply take their business and their donation dollars elsewhere. And they have every right to: they shouldn’t have to wait more than 3 seconds for a website to load.

Maintaining a speedy website is important for user experience, consumer conversion, and search engine rankings. Here are 4 ways to optimize your website speed.

1. Evaluate your Hosting Service

Minor glitches in the back-end of your website, if unaddressed, can grow more problematic as traffic increases. These glitches could a result of coding mistakes or errors from the host network. If you notice that the error is not related to high-traffic, however, you may not be able to address it. And if you are confident in the coding and there still remains a glitch, perhaps there exists a technical issue that’s related to your hosting plan. To address a technical issue, you can consider upgrading your network service to a more dedicated plan. So long as you check for, identify, and eliminate hosting service glitches, you will have done your due diligence.  

2. Evaluate your HTTP Requests

Believe it or not, HTTP requests hinder your website speed by (what some experts believe) 80%! When you think about it, too many HTTP requests lead to a cluttered website, which then leads to a higher loading time. If you find that you’ve evaluated all your HTTP requests and have determined that they’re all of high significance, consider streamlining them at the bottom of the page. That way, the top of your page looks cleaner and your requests are still present. (What is the HTTP

3. Evaluate your images

Images, logos, and accompanying visuals are integral to your content and web design. If you don’t optimize images on your website though, they work counterproductively: more like deadweight. Here are some general guidelines to follow as it relates to your images:

  •      Don’t overuse images: make sure they serve an innate purpose
  •      Use JPEG formats. They are the highest quality
  •      Eliminate and replace pixelated images
  •      Reduce the depth of an image’s color to avoid distortion
  •      Keep the image size within the width of the page

4. Consider using a CDN

Before CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), websites were originally located on a single server. This meant that a user from New Zealand attempting to visit a website in Buenos Aires would have to wait while the website files jumped 6,216 miles. As one can imagine, this astronomically hindered website speed. That all changed once CDNs were created. Instead of straining the home system, CDNs copy files onto multiple servers and determine which one is closest to the user. So, if you have tried all previously outlined measures and your speed is still not improving, consider using a CDN to reach your global audience.

A fast website is just one thing to check up on your nonprofit website. To learn more about how to maintain your site, check out this easy to manage maintenance schedule. To learn more about the importance of ongoing website support, download our guide, here!

 

Lauren Uhl wrote this guest post from Elevation.

Lauren Uhl is a copywriter at Elevation, a full-service nonprofit web design agency. She earned her B.A. in English Literature, Secondary Education, and Philosophy from Gonzaga University and is currently studying for her M.Ed. at the University of Portland. Lauren believes writing can change the world: that’s why she teaches middle schoolers Language Arts and History through a social justice lens. She aspires to earn her PhD in English, teach at the college level, and continue facilitating courageous conversations. More than anything, she hopes that she can find the right words when people need it the most.

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