Why your website is slow and how to fix it (1)

Do you have a slow loading website and you’re wondering how it’s affecting your business?

This is how it does…

According to research, more than half of your readers (and prospects) will leave your website the moment it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

That’s not all…

Google now uses your website speed to determine your search engine ranking. Alongside your visibility as a brand.

It is also going to affect the number of people that will end up visiting your site.

And this will in turn affect the overall success of whatever you’re doing on the website.

Still that’s not all. In fact, the effect of a slow loading website is very diverse. See some stats here.

And as someone that’s had to deal with this for a very long time, I can assure you, your website loading speed can make or mar your business.

For this reason, you want to be able to understand the reason your website is slow…

Now, with my years of experience as a website developer I’ve come to realize that a lot of website owners cannot test their website speed or figure out the causes of their slow website loading speed.

In this tutorial I’m going to walk you through the causes of your slow loading website pages and in the following paragraphs, you’re going to learn how to fix it.

Your Plugins and Softwares

Your website runs through a combination of softwares and plugins. These are part of the applications that make your website what it is.

Although the purpose of these sofrwares is usually to enhance the functionality of your website, sometimes these plugins can also create issues for your website.

One of the primary ways a plugin can affect your website loading speed is when the plugin is bloated.

A bloated plugins is one with excess code that’s incompatible with other applications on your website.

The excess code in any plugin you use can affect the functionality of your website. Especially the loading speed.

To fix this, you can take the following steps;

Double check the compatibility and resource level of any plugin or software you’re using on your website.

Test run your plugins on a staged website before using them on your live site.

Run a review on some of the plugins and applications you want to use on your website before getting to use them.

Doing this will help you to check mate resource heavy plugins or extensions or remove them entirely from your website.

Be mindful also, the software mentioned here could include templates and themes if your website is built on a CMS platforms.

So, while reviewing your softwares, review the themes too and find out their effects on your website.

Un-Optimized Images

One of the major culprits of slow loading web pages is using un-optimized images on your website.

Uploading high resolution images can cause a sharp increase on your website loading speed because larger images take a longer time to load.

You want to avoid this by using the right image format and also optimizing your images in order to reduce their effect on your website loading speed.

How to fix this;

Use JPEG images over PNG or GIF. While PNG gives you better quality image, these images usually are far larger than JPEG based images.

Instead of using PNG or GIF format for images on your blog, use the JPEG based images.

Optimize or reduce the size of your images before uploading them on your website.

Tools like bulk image resize can help with this. Using the software can reduce the impact of these images on your website.

JavaScript and CSS bloat

JavaScript is a programming language that allows you to implement complex features on your web pages.

It is can be utilized in the form of jQuery plugins on websites.

While JavaScript can improve the functionality of your website, interpreting JavaScript query might take some time to load especially if you’re using multiple API calls.

This can create delay in the loading speed of your website for a user.

To get around this you need to do the following:

Minify JavaScript. Audit your JavaScript and remove the aspects you don’t want.

Optimize JavaScript by removing useless white spaces, commas, comments etc.

Implement Asynchronous loading of JavaScript.

Ok. This might look scary if you’re quite a beginner but any good web developer can fix this for you.

Also, if you can manoeuvre your way around it, a good caching plugin like Litespeed Cache can implement this for you.

PS: Be sure to read the guidelines before using any plugin for this.

Your website is not Cached

Website caching is the process where a website’s file is stored on a cache for easy access by a web user.

The implication of caching is that when a user visits your website, the caching mechanism stores the page details or data accessed by the user on a temporary memory.

If the user returns to the website instead of loading the whole website afresh, the user gets served the content stored in the cache memory.

This process in turn reduces your website loading speed.

Where you do not implement a caching application or plugin on your website there’s bound to be issues with your website speed.

One of the major issues is that your web pages will have to be loaded afresh whenever a return user tries to access it. And this repetitive action will affect the loading speed of the web page.

How to fix it:

Implement caching on your website.

Using too many Ads

While advertising can help you in monetizing your website, using too many ads can lead to unintended consequences.

One of the major culprits here are the pop up and rich media ads that loads alongside your web pages…

Their activities can lead to the creation of tens of HTTPS requests thereby limiting the responsiveness of your website.

As much as you want to make money with your website be careful you don’t get to do this at the expense of your website’s performance.

There are alternative ads that do not impact the performance of your website. Work on using these ones over the general ads.

Also, before and after placing an ad on your website, run a quick test on your website speed, in order to understand its impact on your website.

Your hosting plan

Your hosting plan plays a very important role in your overall website speed experience. A lot of website owners do not realize this.

While getting a website hosting plan, you need to realize that there are different categories of hosting plans available and each may affect your website either positively or negatively.

One of the cheapest and most popular hosting package is the shared hosting plan.

A shared hosting is an arrangement where two or more website gets hosted on a single server.

While shared hosting is very economical and pocket friendly, the problem is that the resources needed to keep your website running is being shared by the other websites using the same server with your website.

And because of this, the activities on those other websites will to some extent affect the speed of your website.

So, if for example one of the websites on the servers is attacked either by a virus or other distributed denial of service attack, the whole websites on the shared hosting might get affected.

Compared to shared hosting, a dedicated web hosting plan allows you to have all the resources on your server to your self.

The benefits of this is that your website gets to enjoy a more stabilized speed levels since that’s the only website being hosted on that server.

But the drawback is that you’ll have to pay more for using this package.

How to fix this;
Scrutinize your web host and their packages before using them.
Choose a more comfortable hosting plan like dedicated hosting.

Your web host

In the course of building website for businesses, over the years I’ve realized that you can get everything right yet your website is still very slow because the problem is not with your website but your web host.

Sometimes, you never can tell. But, your web host itself can also affect the speed level of your website.

So if you’ve taken all the steps mentioned above and there’s still no improvements on your web loading speed then you might want to consider changing your web host.

To avoid getting the wrong web host you will want to check out the reviews of particular web hosts before deciding to host your website with them.

Although this might be a bit technical and the review may be influenced in some cases…

Where you can’t find a convincing review, you can run a quick test on websites hosted on the web host. SEO tools like Pingdom tools, Google Pagespeed Insight tool, GTMetrix etc can be very useful.

Doing this will reveal the current loading speed of websites on the server and then you’ll decide whether to continue using them as your web host or not.

Final Words!

Your website speed is very critical to the performance of your website. And by all means you need to pay attention to it.

There could be some other reasons why your website loading speed is very slow.

Some of these could include a Distributed Denial of service attack, Plugin incompatibility, network service interruptions etc.

To understand the actual reason why your website is slow, you need to run a complete website audit and use the data to improve your website performance.

This can be done by any web developer worth his onions. And my team could work with you to improve your website speed and drive increased traffic to your website.

So it’s over to you. Have you figured why your website is slow? How did you solve it? Let’s hear you!

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    Victor Winners

    Victor Winners

    Award winning Blogger, Author, Web Developer, Senior Digital Strategist and Founder of Africa's most widely read blog on Content Marketing and Digital Strategy, VictorWinners.Com.Named as one of the top 50 design influencers globally, since 2014; Victor Winners has helped over 2 million readers to understand and use digital technology to transform their lives and businesses.

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