For better or worse, as a society we’ve become less patient as we become more technologically advanced. There was a time when the only way to get online was with a 14.4 kbs modem. You would hear that funny, staticky beepy noise and wait as your dial-up connection was established with an ISP. Then, you would open up Netscape and proceed to wait some more. Heaven forbid you should surf onto a page with more than one image; you might have to wait up to 30 seconds for the page to load.

These days, with our smartphones and nearly ubiquitous broadband, it seems that no one is content to just wait anymore – and that’s something that as a website owner, you must know. If your page takes longer than about three seconds to load, your visitors will click the back button and navigate to sites with faster services, such as those utilizing cPanel VPS hosting. Even if you show up at the top of Google’s search results, your website won’t be making you any money at all if it’s too slow.

Want to make your site truly load as fast as people can think? Here are three factors to keep in mind.

1. Stop transferring so many files.

You know the “http://” you type (or used to type) at the beginning of a web address? That HTTP stands for “hypertext transfer protocol”. In a nutshell for non-computer geeks, HTTP is how computer browsers communicate with the server where a website actually lives. According to Jonathan Hadley, every time your browser has to go back to the server and say, “Oh hey by the way, I’m missing a picture on this page, do you have that? And what about that other Java applet you were telling me about?”, it takes the page longer to load. It takes your browser less time to serve up one 30k file than three 10k files.

To reduce the number of files your website transfers, create libraries. For example, you can combine three separate CSS files into one longer CSS file, or you can combine multiple bits of JavaScript into one file. Allow any “extra” files that can’t be combined to be cached. When a browser caches a file, all it has to do is check to see if the file has changed since the last time it transferred the file.

2. Use smaller images.

People without much experience in web development assume that simply re-sizing an image is all that’s needed to make it load quickly. In other words, they take that 2 MB photo they took with their digital camera and plop that image into their blog or their website. Seeing how huge the photo displays on the page, they grab a corner of the image and drag it inward to make it smaller.

What you do not realize is that from the computer’s point of view, that smaller image is still 2 MB to process. Even though the image itself is smaller, it’s the same amount of data, and by re-sizing it you’ve instructed the browser to “take this data, and display it at this size”.

To make images load about a gazillion times faster, open your image in Photoshop or a similar program. First make sure that the resolution is set to 72 dpi, and then change the image size. Once the image is the size you want it to display on your website, do a “Save As” and put this new, smaller image into your website. Instead of having to process 2 MB worth of data, the browser now only has to process 30 K.

3. Change hosting companies.

There may come a time when you need to change hosting companies or upgrade your hosting plan. When your site starts to get a lot of traffic, the starter-kit server won’t cut it anymore. As Improve the Web suggests, you’ll need to move your site to a cPanel VPS hosting or a dedicated physical server.

These three tips are a good place to start in speeding your website up – and thereby keeping customers at your site.