A slow website equals unhappy users which leads to a number of challenges for your business! You’ve invested your time and money into your website so it needs to be a great reflection on your brand and work effectively. If your website loads slower than the average then you run the risk of facing a number of different issues including; less website traffic, decreased sales, negative impact on your website’s SEO ranking, less engagement and a higher bounce rate.
Is your website loading slowly? Let us help you identify the reasons why so you can get back on track and reach your goals.
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What is page load time?
Page load time (also described as website or page speed) refers to the time it takes for your website to fully display the content on a specific page.
Stack Path describes it as “ a web performance metric that directly impacts user engagement and a business’s bottom line. It indicates how long it takes for a page to fully load in the browser after a user clicks a link or makes a request”.
Now we’ve covered the basics, what is the ideal page loading time? Between 1-2 seconds is what your business should aim for. A study by the Financial Times Technology Department. Found that the first-second delay resulted in a 4.9% drop in the number of articles a visitor read whilst a three-second delay resulted in a 7.9% drop.
1. Hosting Service
“With shared hosting, your site’s performance will depend on the amount of resources being used by other sites on the server at any given time.” If you’re experiencing consistent page loading issues this could indicate problems with your hosting service. If you’re a small to medium sized business consider upgrading to VPS hosting. A dedicated hosting plan will support your business with extra hosting resources.
2. Issues with Imagery
Images are an integral part of your website content. They help your SEO ranking, increase view time and help with website engagement. However, they can seriously affect your page loading time.
Image attributes to watch are:
The best image format to use is JPEG, followed by PNG and GIFs.
3. Overwhelming website traffic
If there is too much traffic coming to your website it will overwhelm your web server. Web servers can usually support a number of customers before your page loading time starts to decrease.
This is particularly an issue if your business does ‘drops’ whether that be weekly, monthly or seasonally. A rush of visitors could risk crashing your site, impacting on sales.
4. Too many HTTP requests
An HTTP request is “made by a client, to a named host, which is located on a server. The aim of the request is to access a resource on the server. “
In order to load too many files, a browser will ping too many requests to the server which decreases your page loading time. Hubspot learned that “although there isn’t necessarily an optimal number of files your webpage should be reduced to, HubSpot’s principal product marketing manager Jeffrey Vocell suggests aiming for between 10–30 files.”
5. Code density
Dense elements naturally slow down web pages. Code (which your website is built on) is extremely dense. For example, Facebook is built using a crazy 62 million lines of code!
To fix this issue simply clean up your code. Firstly, try removing unnecessary white spaces. Although these may be aesthetically pleasing, empty rows can bulk out your overall code. As you’re doing this you can remove unnecessary stylings, empty new lines, and comments.
6. Use caching techniques
“Caching is one of the most effective ways to speed up your web pages. Caching stores copies of your site’s files, minimising the work needed for the server to generate and serve a web page to a visitor’s browser.”
By caching your pages you’ll need less resources for your page to load affecting your website loading time.
7. Compressing content
When sending images over email you can zip the file to compress the content and reduce its size. The same can be done with your website pages.
“Gzip compresses your webpages and style sheets before sending them over to the browser. This reduces the page size by up to 70% which can also drastically reduce transfer time.”
If you use WordPress for your website you can enable gzip compression easily! Just install the plugin ‘WP Super Cache’ Head to to WP Super Cache > Advanced in your dashboard. Then, check the box labelled ‘Compress pages’.
7. Too Many Ads
Even though ads are a great and popular way to monetize your website or blog they can negatively affect your website loading speed. Ads equal more HTTP requests which means your users will have to wait longer for your site to load.