Even the smallest delay in a web page’s loading speed can result in discouraged site visitors. According to research from Think with Google, 53 percent of mobile users will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load — that doesn’t give you much room for error! If you want to attract new users and keep them engaged, it’s important to make sure that your site loads quickly.
Often times, the most engaging types of content (videos and images) slow down a site the most. Fortunately, you can host these elements offsite, on external servers, to speed things up.
Today, we will explain how you can improve site performance by moving some site elements onto faster servers, and how Jetpack can help in the process.
Speed up your videos
There are several ways to add videos to your site’s posts and pages. The quickest is to use the Add Media button in the WordPress Editor when creating a page or post. However, this is also the slowest way to deliver that video, and it will use up a big chunk of your hosting data plan, too.
One of the most popular ways to add fast video is by uploading it to a dedicated video hosting platform, like YouTube or Vimeo. You can then use WordPress shortcodes to embed the video into your page or post. WordPress will take care of turning that link into a functional video.
Alternatively, Jetpack provides unlimited video storage space in the cloud to Premium and Professional users. The option to host your videos offsite will speed everything up, as it saves you valuable server space.
You don’t need to upload your video anywhere special or take any extra steps — turn the feature on and use WordPress’s Add Media button like you normally would.
Read about more ways to boost user engagement using video here.
Use a content delivery network for fast images
By employing a CDN, your videos and images are automatically replicated on a high-performance network. Site visitors will receive images and videos far faster than they would from a typical web server.
Most CDNs include additional performance boosts such as automatic caching of visual elements such as style sheets and fonts. Modern content delivery networks even detect mobile browsers and use specialized tools to deliver even higher-performing mobile-specific pages, when possible.
Most CDNs require a monthly or annual fee. You might have to change your domain name to point to a CDN’s servers, or install a plugin on your site.
Fortunately, WordPress users can bypass this by using Jetpack. There are no domains to keep track of; just install and activate Jetpack, go to your Settings, and toggle on Speed up images and photos.
Host your backups offsite instead of locally
Another important element to consider is your site backup service. Having a regular site backup is important, and what many people don’t know is that not all backup services are the same.
While there are many low-cost plugins that do great jobs of backing up your site, any that do not include a monthly fee will store those backups locally instead of on a separate server. Any time a backup runs, it may consume significant resources on your site and can possibly slow down the user experience.
It’s worth noting that the primary reason to perform a site backup is to recover from a critical site failure or hack. If the backup is hosted locally, there is a good chance it too will be unavailable or compromised.
Hosting offsite backups is a great way to not only improve performance, but also increase the reliability of your site. That’s why Jetpack keeps its backups of your site in an offsite location — to keep your site safer and aid in its performance.
Faster performance, better results
Employing these techniques delivers content to users faster. Images that load in 200 milliseconds instead of 2 seconds equate to lightning-fast page loads. Faster pages ensure that users are interacting with your content instead of getting impatient and deciding to check out another site. In addition, page loading times influence search engine rankings.
There are lots of great reasons to choose hosting offsite for your images, videos, and backups. The only question that remains is “What are you waiting for?” — definitely not for the page to load!
Do you have any other tips for speeding up your site by hosting your local files elsewhere? Let us know in the comments!