Having a slow loading website can be very frustrating. It’s one of the problems that can really annoy visitors and cause them to click away from your site before it loads.
There can be many reasons for having a slow site. Most of these issues can be easily fixed once you identify the cause.
The disadvantages of having a slow site
If your site is slow, this is more than a minor annoyance. It can have a real impact on how successful and popular your site is. People are less likely to spend time on sites that load too slowly.
Even if they have the patience to let the site load initially, they probably won’t be interested in checking out many of your pages if each page takes 5 seconds or more to load!
In addition to being a turnoff to visitors, the search engines will penalize you for having a slow site. This can be a hidden reason why Google or other search engines don’t rank your site well or don’t index all of your pages.
Reasons your site may be slow
Let’s look at some of the main things that can slow down a website and how you can then take steps to speed up your website.
Images are Too Large or Not Optimized
This is usually a main cause of slowness on websites. You should resize large images to a more manageable file size. Cropping images can also help. Focus on the part of the image that’s essential and leave out the rest.
Sometimes changing the format of an image can also make it load faster. JPEG is best for most images, but there are exceptions. For small graphic files and animation. GIF is useful. PNG is usually best if you have a lot of text and wordings on the graphic.
My advise is that you should use a good software to optimize your images. A good one which I always recommend is Adobe Photoshop.
Spam, Viruses or Malware
These unwanted invaders can slow down your site without you knowing they are present. That’s why you should use a good malware/virus detection program. Use one that’s appropriate for your server’s operating system and the application you are using on your website.
If you use WordPress, use security plugins that help prevent hackers from attacking your site. Bulletproof Security is a good one.
Your Web Host is Not Reliable
Not all web hosting companies are the same. If you’re using a small or unreliable hosting company, they may not have the resources to keep your site running optimally, especially if your website is growing.
If you’re not sure how good your web host is, do some checking and see what kind of reputation they have. Do not be afraid or worried to switch from a bad web host! It’s definitely worth it to switch to a better host. This will make your site more secure and speed it up.
Check out these web hosts who are recommended for their fast web hosting plans.
Excessive Flash or External Media
These are features that can make your site more interesting, but they can also slow it down. Flash can give your site a nice look and allow you to use interactive animation. You have to weight the benefits against the possible harm this is doing, though.
Flash is also not compatible with many devices such as some smart phones. For these reasons, you may want to consider limiting your use of it or eliminating it altogether. External media such as videos are another thing that can slow down your site.
Scripts, Coding and Plugins
These can also make your site slower. If you do your own coding, you should avoid using bulky codes. Try to make your coding more efficient and reduce the file sizes when possible. If someone does this for you, ask them to streamline the coding to maximize efficiency and speed.
To speed up your website, it is also extremely important to reduce database calls and cache the frequently used data as much as possible.
If you use WordPress, plugins can be another hidden cause of slowness. This is a delicate issue, because many plugins perform valuable tasks. Some can even help speed up your site or, like the one I recommended above, help guard against hacking. However, if you have any that you aren’t using, they should be deactivated or even deleted. Even good plugins may not be worth using if they slow down your site too much.
Always monitor your site’s speed
You should always pay attention to how quickly your site loads. This is a crucial factor for both your visitors and how the search engines rank your site.
It can take some testing and effort to identify what may be slowing things down. It may be one issue or a combination of factors. You can try to make certain changes and see if they help. For example, you can deactivate a certain WordPress plugin and see if that helps.
Whenever you consider adding a new feature to your site, think about the impact it might have on your website’s speed. Even if you like a certain application, image or other feature you have to ask yourself if it’s worth adding or if it’s going to make your site too slow.