So in this section of our Facebook live I'm going to take you through how you can speed up your website. And we're going to go through the reasons not only of how you can speed your website up, but why you should speed it up as well.
So why do we need a faster website?
Well first up it provides a better user experience. Now a lot of people will just say oh yeah, that that's a bit of a throwaway or it's a given. But if you've got a website that's old, it looks out dated, it loads slow, you've got to wait for pages or images to load, people will naturally switch off your website. They'll click away and they'll go somewhere else.
Also it comes down to professionalism, if your website is not loading fast, if images aren't displaying properly if it just looks all old and outdated or clunky, then you don't give the impression of a professional switched on business.
And again as I said last week you only ever get one chance at a first impression. If someone's coming to your website for the first time and they've got a wait and it's a really dodgy looking website that takes ages to load, there not going to be too confident in doing business with you.
The second thing is that search engines prefer fast the websites, see for a search engine to know what’s going on with your website to put you in the rankings, they need to do what's called crawling your website. They need to put their search engine spiders all over your website to find out what your website is about and to make decisions on where it should be.
Now the slower your website loads, the more outdated or the older it is, the more bandwidth, the more resources and the more money it costs the search engines to crawl your website. So they don't like it and they prefer not to crawl slow old outdated websites and they will stay away from them.
If you've got a website that loads really really fast and you're updating with fresh content on a very regular basis, the search engines will just keep coming back and coming back all the time.
If you've got an old, outdated clunky website that's hard for them to read, they might only come to once every 30 days maybe even longer. So as I said the search engines they prefer those faster websites and it will keep coming back and finding out what's new on your website and indexing it in the search results.
And as a result faster websites, they equate to high rankings. Search engines, they actually, Google in particular penalises slow, old outdated websites and gives a boost in the rankings to websites that load really really fast. And as we know also our mobile optimised but the faster the website basically the more the search engines like it and the better...... all other things being equal of course the better you will go in the search engine rankings.
So what do we need to be able to speed up a website?
The easiest way you can speed your website to start with and the best bang for buck is using what's called a CDN or a content delivery network and the CDN or the content delivery network that we use is called CloudFlare.
It's an absolutely fantastic network and it has free and paid accounts and the free account is more than enough for most websites and most businesses to be able to use.
So what is a content delivery network?
Well you see the picture on the left where it says before CDN. Basically what happens is if you don't have a CDN, you've got your web server where your website is stored for want of a better word. In the centre there and everybody all over the world or all over the country that is accessing your website all access it through your one point of where you store it.
Now this can make grate variances in speed because for instance if your website was hosted... you've got a hosting account with a website in say America, and someone in Australia is trying to access your website.
Well it's got to go halfway around the world before you can even start loading.
So whilst it's not something that you can measurably see with your eye, those things take time. So it slows it down. It also drains your resources because it depends on how fast your website can deliver to all those people looking at it, and the more people on, the more drain on your resources, not just on your resources but the more drain on the speed that it can deliver everything up comes into play.
So when you have a content delivery network as you can see on the right basically what happens is CloudFlare a duplicate your website at numerous data centres all over the world, and they pull it directly off your server.
So the only one going to your server is CloudFlare, and they anybody wanting to access your website, accesses your website from the nearest CloudFlare server to them.
So if they're in America they will be looking at it on CloudFlare in America if they're in Australia they'll be looking at the Cloudflare setup in Australia. So it makes load times a lot faster. It makes access times a lot faster and also CloudFlare servers are mirroring and pulling straight off yours.
So it's always identical and they serve the website up a lot faster than most of own hosting that we have on our website. And it can handle a lot more visitors at the same time.
Other things the content delivery network can do is because they cache it, is what's called caching is keeping a copy, if your website crashes, Cloudflare can keep serving its copy of the website until you regain your website and get it up and then it will get it online again and then it will pull the latest copy back offline.
It can protect against threats because if anybody is trying to hack your website, they're not hacking your website, they're trying to hack into CloudFlare and CloudFlare can block them there and not let them get through to your website. So there's a lot more things that CloudFlare can do but they the main ones. It makes it easier for people to access, quicker for them to access and it protects against threats and it gives you lots of mirrors all over the world that people can access in the event that your website goes down.
So setting up with CloudFlare is really really easy and it's a three step process. Anyone could do this basically the first thing you do is you sign up for a free account at CloudFlare and once you've signed up with your free account you just tell it to scan your website, you'll hit add site, scan it.
Once its scanned CloudFlare will turn around and go we've got all the information here that we need on our CloudFlare system. All you need to do is change your nameservers, now your nameservers is your domain name. Basically what happens is your domain name will be stored somewhere and your website will be stored somewhere else. When someone says your website dot com it goes to the domain name and the domain name says hay, all the files that you need to see are stored over here and points them to your server.
So what you'll do is you'll just change the nameservers, it's just two names, two words that you type in, CloudFlare will tell you what they are. And then when someone types in your website, whatever your website is. yourwebsite.com, your domain name will say hey, go over to the nearest CloudFlare and you will find it there and that is it. It is as simple as.
So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to switch the power point off and I'm gonna go over to a CloudFlare account and I'm setting up a new website on CloudFlare and I'm going to walk you through the process so you can see how easy it is.
OK so I'm here now in my CloudFlare account and I'm not going to take you through how to sign up for an account because, I'm not going to insult your intelligence I'm sure you will know how to type in your name and your email address etc. So all I've done is I've gone up and I've clicked add site, and you can see I'm putting in a domain name here this is one of the not for profits that I work with in the veteran community.
So we've got our URL in here and all I do is I click begin scan. Ok, so I've got to change it.
You only put the domain name in and not the http:// and now it is going away and it is scanning the whole website. So this depending on the size of your web it could take a fair amount of time. If it's a fairly small site it shouldn't take too long.
And what it's doing now is it's going and it's reading all the pages on the website, all the codes, everything you've got in there and it's doing those mirror copies all around the world to all the CloudFlare sites that it has all around the world. So it should only take a few more seconds were just watching this blue bar down the bottom and we're good to go, our scan is finished.
So we click continue to set up and it says here verify all your DNS records are listed below. Now if you're not techie I wouldn't worry too much about this. This is only in the case that it's missed a particular part of your website, it generally doesn't happen, I've never known it to happen with Cloudflare were it misses something but you can put other things in. So you really don't have to worry about this, then just hit continue.
Ok it's going to ask you to select your plan, now the reason it asks you to select a plan every time you put a different........ because in your CloudFlare account you can put lots of websites so it just says which ones you want for a particular website so we will just click free website.
And there's my nameservers, so now all I have to do and I'm not going to take you through that because that’s just signing in through your domain registrar. But all it is...... You know you might be on Godaddy or something or you might be on Hostgator where it will have a websitewelcome name or something like that and all you do is you just change your two nameservers to that, and that, and then you will click continue and it's all done.
So I'm going to go over and change those in a second. As I said I'm not going to show you online when I saw when this live is finished I'll go over and change those, but that is it for CloudFlare. And you see how easy it was to set up an account on CloudFlare, and the site is now faster, it's protected and it can be accessed from anywhere in the world. So that's CloudFlare.
Now I hope you found that to be helpful. If you've got any questions or comments you can type in the chat boxes below. Also if you need to get in touch with us at any stage you can contact our support at [email protected]
, and one of our team will be be able to get back to you with any questions or queries you've got there.
Well hope this programme today has been of help and I look forward to seeing you again next Thursday. All right. Thanks.