Think it’s not a problem if your website takes an extra second to load?
53% of users will leave your site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
For every millisecond your site delays in loading, your bounce rate increases. Every moment you’re wondering, “Why is my website slow?” you’re losing out on possible conversions. Yeah, you need to fix a slow website if you’ve got one.
There are many reasons why a website loads slowly, and the good news is most of them can be easily identified and corrected. The culprit could be anything from clunky code to poor hosting or a combination of several factors.
We’ll take a look at the most common reasons we see slow-loading websites, and what you can do to fix a slow website.
Oversized Media Files
We all love attractive websites filled with colorful images and engaging videos. But if those bulky media files are slowing down your site, no one will stick around long enough to see them.
Start by optimizing the size of your images. There’s no point in uploading an image that’s 2400 pixels wide when your website’s width is only 900 pixels.
Your first option is to manually reduce and resize your images to fit your site’s specs.
If that’s too daunting, you can use a free plugin to compress the images for you, like the popular WordPress Smush plugin.
Videos can take even longer to load, and compressing them can get tricky. Your best bet is to host them on YouTube or a similar platform and embed the videos on your website.
Too Many Plugins
There’s a plugin for everything under the sun, and it’s easy to get carried away with installing the latest and greatest options.
The problem? Too many plugins can increase load time.
Start by removing any plugins you rarely, or never use. Then run your website through Google PageSpeed Insights to test its current speed.
Next, deactivate your plugins one by one and repeat the speed test. This might seem time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort to identify which ones are slowing down your site.
There are no hard and fast rules for how many plugins your site should have, but fewer is generally better. The more plugins you can eliminate, the smoother and faster your website will run.
Another common way to fix a slow website has to do with the way it’s coded. Bulky, messy code causes a website to load slowly.
If you suspect coding is your issue, your best bet is to consult a professional who can make the necessary repairs and changes.
In the meantime, try a minifying WordPress plugin to consolidate and simplify your website’s code.
Is your website caching-enabled? If not, it’s time to make a change.
When a visitor lands on your site for the first time, certain elements get stored in a cache. That way, the next time they visit, their web browser only has to download a few site resources. If you don’t have caching enabled, users will have to wait for your site to load no matter how many times they’ve visited before.
If your hosting service doesn’t include caching, install a plugin, like WP Super Cache. Not only will a cache plugin speed up your site, but it will automatically update cached data if you modify a page or post.
Not all WordPress or Shopify themes are created equal.
Many free themes are riddled with coding errors (at best) or infected with malicious malware (at worst).
If you’re still using a free theme, it might be time to consider an upgrade. Paid themes offer better user experience and also come with better customer support when you need it.
Regardless of the theme you choose, remember that a site that’s not properly maintained will also run slow. Make sure your theme, plugins, and other site elements are always up to date.
Overloaded Home Page
Did you go overboard on your home page in an attempt to “wow” your visitors?
Of course, you want an attractive, well-designed home page. But if it’s filled with too many widgets, high-resolution graphics, or fancy animations, your load time will suffer.
Scrutinize your home page (and other pages, while you’re at it) for excess elements that could be slowing it down. Remember, a simple, streamlined website with good UX will attract and retain the most visitors.
Poor Web Hosting Service
What if you’ve done everything possible to speed up your site—and nothing changes?
It might not be your website at all. It could be that your web host has slow servers that are already running at maximum capacity.
Like WordPress themes, you get what you pay for when it comes to web hosting. Free or low-quality hosting services can only take you (and your website) so far.
If you’ve done everything else and none of it worked, take a look at your hosting provider. It might be time to migrate your site to a better, faster service.
The Need for Speed: Speed Up Your Site Today
Is it oversized images or too many plugins? Is it an issue in the backend with coding? Or is it simply time to upgrade your hosting service?
Hopefully, the cause of your slow site will be an easy fix. But what if it isn’t? Or what if you speed up your site but you’re still struggling to drive traffic or improve conversion rates?
Your best bet is to ask the experts. Contact us today to learn more about our professional and affordable website services.
What did you do to improve the speed of your website? Do you have any tips and tricks that we didn’t mention in this post? Let us know in the Comments below!