Website speed is one of the most important things all online businesses should be looking at these days. The days of waiting two or three minutes for a site to load over a dial-up modem are long gone, and people expect your site to load fast. If it doesn’t, they will just look elsewhere – and you will lose business. It’s as simple as that, so you can’t afford to mess around. With this in mind, we thought we would take a look at the most common reasons why your website might be loading slowly. Take a read, and see if you can improve things with our handy guide.
You don’t know it’s running slowly
You might think your website is working perfectly well, because every time you check it out, it loads with ease. But, there’s a reason. Your web browser will make a cache of all the websites you visit, including your own. So, because you have been there before, it will already have a considerable amount of the information it needs to display those websites fast. For a newcomer, though, the experience is different. They will get an accurate impression of your site’s speed, and if it’s slow, you might not even realize. That’s why using a tool such as Google’s Pagespeed Insights is so important.
You chose the wrong web host
Now let’s look into the nitty-gritty of page speed, and start with something that is more important than anything else – your web host. Without a great hosting service, you will never have the speeds you need, so it’s vital that you have the right plan put in place. For example, if you use shared hosting from a physical server, there will be times of the day when other websites take precedence over yours. And, that can often mean your customers will experience slower loading times when they visit your site. Instead, think about looking at cheap VPS hosting, and other cloud-based solutions. Also, speak to your host about making changes to your configurations, or even using a dedicated server.
You don’t optimize your images
Of all the media you use on your website, it’s pictures that you have to be the most careful about. If the pictures you use are big, that means they include a lot of data. And the more data you have on your site, the longer your pages will take to load. Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions out there. If you use Photoshop, for example, then all you need to do with your images is click a button to optimize them for the web.
You don’t compress your web pages
You web pages are also full of data, and to help them load quicker, you should think about optimizing them. For those in the know, you can add a line of code to each of your pages to speed things up. However, if you don’t know too much about coding, there are plenty of options for you. There are plenty of WordPress plugins that will optimize your pages for you – check out Autoptimize to get you started.
You still use Flash
Flash is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s an excellent tool for making beautiful websites, complete with animations and interactive content. But, let’s make no mistake – it can put tremendous stress onto your site, and it is often the cause for a slow-loading site. So, as is the case with anything in life, use a little, but don’t overdo it. Flash can be a benefit, but if you have too much of it, your web pages will slow down, and your customers will go elsewhere.
You don’t use a cache plugin
Caching helps your server from needing to the same tasks, over and over again. We’ve mentioned it already, but this is a different context, as we are talking about caching your website, not someone else’s. Try W3 Total Cache for WordPress. It will help make the difference between a super fast site, and a slower alternative.
You didn’t know about HTTP requests
Again, this is a technical issue that might go over some people’s heads, but the solution is a simple one. HTTP requests describe the process of communication between your website and its server. In layman’s terms, the more they have to communicate with each other, the longer it takes for something to happen. So, try looking at the Yoast website for a guide to how to manage the amount of requests that occur for your site.
Hope this has helped. Let us know if you have any other tips!