As we head into the holidays, it seems that our days are getting shorter and our ‘to do’ lists are getting longer. We all want to find a way to get more done in a shorter amount of time.

On a typical day I spend my time talking with clients about their social media accounts, increasing their Google rankings, or adjustments to their websites. This involves the two of us going through different websites to review content or structure. I’ve noticed that with most of my clients it takes them longer to get to a website than it takes me. This could be due to different Internet connection speeds, but I haven’t upgraded to fiber optics (yet), so I don’t think that speed is typically the issue.

Many times they tell me that they just need to get a new computer because theirs is a couple years old. I am a computer super-user – putting my machine through the wringer daily, and I’m using a machine from four years ago. For the average Internet surfer and email checker, what you have it sufficient – as long as you keep it tuned up.

What I have found to be the biggest culprit of slow website loading for them is what I’ll call ‘browser bloat’. This is caused by never cleaning out the browser cache (this also applies to smart phones, so the info below may help speed up your phone, too).

What is a ‘browser cache’? Simply put, the browser cache is a place where your Internet browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) stores files temporarily. This is designed to help speed up browsing in the short term, but ends up slowing down your system in the long term.

The idea is that if you visit a website (ex: CNN.com), your system will temporarily store the CNN logo, base design images, etc. in the cache, and the next time you go back to CNN.com, instead of downloading those items again, your computer can just grab those items from your cache (reducing the amount of content you are downloading to view the page and speeding up the page response time). However, after you have cached content for weeks, months, or even years, your computer has to search through all of those cache files to try to see if you have a local copy of something before deciding to download it. This is where things slow down.

Clean out your cache and increase your browsing speed (and free up some hard drive space, too). I clean the cache from my browser, at a minimum, on a weekly basis. This keeps my Internet ‘engine’ clean and running smoothly.

It is a quick and easy process to go in and clean out your cache, and for browsers like Firefox and Chrome, you can download an app/plugin that allows you to clean the cache with one or two clicks (unfortunately, Internet Explorer doesn’t have one of which I am aware).

I am a heavy Chrome user (most tech geeks are), and for Chrome I use the ‘Click&Clean’ extension. This has many more great tools associated with it that you can explore on your own. It is a button that sits on your menu bar. You simply click the button and then click the ‘cache trash can’ and your cache is cleaned.

For Firefox, I use the ‘Empty Cache Button’ extension. This is a button that sits on your menu bar that you simply click once to clear your cache (this is why I clear mine so often – it’s too simple).

Be advised, if it has been a long time since you’ve last cleaned out your browser cache, or if you’ve never done it before, the initial cleansing could take a few minutes. I have seen clients who have had caches of over 16GB (that’s huge). After that initial cleaning, subsequent cleanings should take just a few seconds.

Don’t run out and buy that shiny new laptop. Run these tools on your machine and bring back the speed you need to save yourself $1500. SVBS

Jeff Arnold HeadshotJeffrey Arnold is the President of 4Spot Marketing.  He combines his 25+ years of business management experience with his expert knowledge of search engine optimization and Internet marketing techniques to provide companies with a comprehensive search engine marketing campaign.  His firm has a 100% success rate in getting client to the top of the search engines.  Jeff can be reached at 702-721-9763, [email protected], or you can visit www.4SpotMarketing.com.