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10 Ways to Build a Faster Website

10 Ways to Build a Faster Website

Every second that it takes for your website to load reduces your conversion ratio by 7 percent. Even if you aren’t selling something, you still risk losing a large percentage of your visitors to a website that suffers from lag time. Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take to ensure that your site loads quickly enough to avoid a high bounce rate. The following lists the ways to build a faster website.

1. Create a mobile-friendly design.

Although surveys have shown that people are slightly more patient when browsing the Internet via a mobile device, you will still lose approximately 51 percent of your visitors if your website takes more than 10 seconds to load. To put this into comparison, 40 percent of online shoppers will abandon a site that is not fully loaded on their laptop within three seconds.

Statistics have shown that utilizing a mobile-friendly design that loads within five seconds and is easy to navigate from a smartphone or tablet can dramatically improve your conversion ratio. In fact, 97 percent of mobile users are happy to wait up to five seconds, and this is a realistic load time for a well-designed site. Keep in mind that websites that are not mobile-friendly can often take an exorbitant amount of time to load, and they are less likely to be easily navigated by the average Internet user.

2. Consider a minimalist approach.

Minimalism is a design concept that embraces the adage of less being more. When a website uses the minimalist design, it typically has a small amount of images, a lot of blank space and eye-catching fonts and colors. Even the most basic black and white color scheme can be visually stunning when put together the right way, and this will make it possible for your website to load rapidly on any device.

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3. Use a CDN to reduce lag time and bandwidth consumption.

Content delivery networks (CDN) have one primary purpose: to reduce lag time. Additionally, using a CDN will reduce bandwidth consumption on your web hosting infrastructure, thus improving access and saving you from excess cost. A content delivery network will cache content, including images, videos, HTML files, stylesheets and scripts on a distributed set of servers around the globe.

More advanced CDNs provide intelligent caching for items such as dynamically-generated objects, which are generated anew for each visit. This includes all of the content that would otherwise be uncachable on websites managed by content management systems (CMS). This is vital for many popular CMS sites, including WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal.

In addition, nearly all CDNs will provide additional front end optimization features such as image compression, code file minification and auto gzipping. Finally, some will also offer added security features, including auto-SSL encryption, spam filtering, integrated web application firewall and DDoS protection.

It should be noted that the performance advantage of using a CDN comes from the geographic aspect. Since data is cached and served from servers in different locations around the globe, audiences from other countries will benefit from shorter latency times. Thus CDNs are especially beneficial for websites that operate on a wide scale in countries such as the US or China or those that address international audiences.

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4. Invest in bandwidth for a faster website.

The bandwidth allowance that your web hosting provider offers will dictate a limit of how much data can be transmitted to website visitors during a certain billing period. In other words, if you run out, visitors will either see an error message or experience severe lag time because your host begins throttling your usage. Investing in a scalable solution can eliminate this particular issue. For example, some hosts offer bandwidth usage that grows with your consumption needs through a pay-per-use structure. In addition, using a CDN can help reduce consumption on your main webhost.

5. Research your website hosting options to find the best one.

If you will not be self-hosting your site, it will be vital to look closely at all of your website hosting options. Some companies are able to offer faster loading times due to a distributed infrastructure. Some will offer unlimited bandwidth and space usage. However, this will not be as beneficial as expected if the hosting company also has a high downtime incidence.

The best recipe for success is finding a hosting provider that promises an uptime of 99.9 percent and has a physical presence near your main audiences. For example, if most of your audience is in the Asia Pacific region, it makes sense to host your website in a datacenter in Singapore or somewhere nearby.

6. Forego Flash.

Flash animations and graphics might look pretty, but they will dramatically slow down your loading time. Additionally, they are not read properly by search engines, and this can hurt your Google ranking. When you combine this with the shocking fact that 2.1 million Americans still use dialup and are unable to load Flash, it becomes clear that this is a design technique that you should minimize or forego altogether.

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7. Learn how to use image compression correctly.

Image compression is a popular method for speeding up websites, but if it is done incorrectly, you will be left with blurry images that turn off consumers. The first thing you need to do to avoid this problem is to determine which file type is the most suitable to fulfill your needs.

In most cases, using JPEG is ideal for photos, while using PNG is great for website elements that require transparency. When publishing photos on your website, find the right balance between quality and file size. Most content management systems can automatically resize your image into different sizes upon upload.

For web publishers, the choice is between lossless or lossy compression. Lossless compression provides the highest quality image. You can get a smaller file size with positive results by turning to a lossy compression, but this is best utilized for images that do not have a large amount of detail or color diversity. Designers prefer to stick with lossless compression for higher-quality images. However, if you have a large quantity of images, you may have to use lossy compression to achieve a faster load time.

8. Turn off auto-play music and videos.

Auto-play music and videos may look flashy and nice, but this is also one of the easiest ways to slow your load time to a crawl. Not to mention the fact that these design elements are often viewed as annoying and intrusive by Internet users. Avoid both of these problems by turning auto-play off. You can still have the music or video available, but give visitors the choice when to play videos so that these do not stream unless clicked.

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9. Utilize browser caching.

Browser caching is a faster and less expensive way to deliver content to visitors from all over the world. Google recommends this process to developers, and it can be especially helpful when someone visits your site on a regular basis. Instead of connecting directly with your server each time, the cached version is shown for whatever period of time you specify. If the visitor clicks to a new site or hits refresh, your server will be prompted to provide the latest data.

10. Optimize CSS.

Cascading Style Sheets, which are better known as CSS, offer a better method for designing the look and flow of your website. Instead of relying on HTML and images on their own, you can define formatting and styles through CSS to streamline loading times. Stylesheets are often cached by the browser, and a capable CDN will also cache the CSS for you to improve loading times. It’s a good idea to load content first before styles so that devices with slow connections or small screens can load and display the most important content first prior to formatting.

As you can see, regardless of whether you have a large online business or simply want a speedier experience from your personal website, there are numerous techniques that can dramatically reduce your load time and give you a faster website. Using these tips will enable you to offer visitors the type of performance that they expect, regardless of whether they are shopping or simply looking for new information.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Published on November 9, 2018

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

So, are you ready? Here we begin.

6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

1. Spreadsheets and Databases

Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Access
  • Statistics
  • Data Analytics
  • Adobe Campaign
  • Quickbooks
  • XML Database management system
  • Filemaker Pro
  • MATLAB
  • Hive
  • FORTRAN
  • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
  • SAS

2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Google Analytics
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  • Email Marketing
  • Web Page Design
  • WordPress
  • Digital Media
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Campaign Management Software

3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • AutoCAD
  • CorelDRAW
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Maya
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Operating Digital Cameras

4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

  • HTML
  • C/C++
  • Java
  • Python
  • XML
  • UI/UX
  • LINUX
  • CISC and RISC architecture
  • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
  • Memory Management
  • PCB Layout
  • SQL

5. IT Troubleshooting

Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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  • Backup management
  • Diagnostics
  • End User support
  • Client-Server management
  • Installation and configuration
  • Issue tracking system (ITS)
  • System administration
  • Tech support

6. Enterprise Systems

Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

2. Rule the Social Media World

a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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4. Live and Breathe Creativity

a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

b. Canva Design School

From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

  • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
  • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
  • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
  • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
  • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
  • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
  • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

2. Work on Your Efficiency

Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

3. Look for Shortcuts

Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

4. Apply for an Internship

Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

The Bottom Line

Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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