There are five focal points when creating a great website. There is visibility, sellability, scalability, usability and credibility. A website needs to be user-friendly and accessible, but most importantly, it needs to load in 4 seconds or faster. If it loads slower than four seconds, a significant amount of your prospects will leave.
If you’ve ever seen a slow website or wondered why your own website is running slow, it’s most likely because your website fell into at least one of the following 10 traps, which can make websites load slowly.
1. Excessive Use of Flash Content
Flash can be a great tool to add interactivity to your website, but the problem with Flash is that the file sizes are very large, and the larger a file size is, the slower your website will be.
If you want to keep Flash on your website, then you can reduce your file sizes, but if you’re willing to get rid of Flash to have a significantly faster website, then consider using HTML5 as an alternative to Flash.
HTML 5 has excellent mobile-friendly support, better storage, improved interactions and cross-browser support. It has been built specifically for modern websites.
No matter what you choose, whether you reduce the file size or get rid of Flash altogether, both choices can drastically improve your sites loading speed.
2. No Caching Techniques
Caching can significantly improve the performance of your website. You can implement browser caching or server-side caching. Either way, you will likely experience a substantial improvement to your website’s performance. If you have a WordPress website, you can likely use plugins such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache to implement caching of your web pages and code. Although, some hosting providers may restrict these particular plugins.
3. Images Are Unoptimized
Unoptimized images is one of the most common reasons why websites load slowly. High-resolution images can take a great deal of time to load, and as a result, take much longer to fully load the website.
Another factor that makes images unoptimized is the image format. If you’re using PNG or GIF images, then you should try replacing them with JPEG images because JPEG images are generally smaller in size, compared to other image formats. Your website will usually load faster if you use JPEG images.
You should also note that any image larger than 1MB is definitely too large. reSmush.it and EWWW Image Optimizer are couple very popular plugins that can be used on a WordPress website, to easily compress large images.
4. Network Issues
Your local network can affect your websites loading speed. There are three ways you can find out if there’s an issue with your network.
- You can load 3 websites and see if they’re all loading slowly. If that’s the case, then you most likely have a network issue.
- You can run a traceroute from your computer to your server, and this will show you the connection speed to see how long it took for your network to jump from your site to your server.
To try this out, you can search on the internet for the traceroute code that’s needed for your computer and then add the code to the computers command prompt.
- The last option you can try to see if you have an issue with your local network is to call a friend or somebody that lives in a different state, than ask if they can load your website. If your website loads fine for them but not for you, you might have a network issue.
5. Too Much Traffic
A web server can only handle a certain number of people. If you’re getting a lot of traffic, then it will eventually cause your website to slow down. It’s almost like shopping at a store on Black Friday. If there are too many people, the store will have slow service.
The same can apply to your website. You might think your server will try to maintain all the extra traffic, but with enough traffic, your website will slow down.
If you aren’t getting enough traffic, you may want to consider using search engine optimization to get more traffic from sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
6. gZIP Compression isn’t Used
Compression can lower your websites response time by decreasing the size of data being transferred between your server and the visitors’ browser.
You should enable gZIP Compression because it’s an easy win for you and your website’s performance. This is something you can ask your website developer to do for you.
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8. Too Many HTTP Requests
You can try using sprites to reduce HTTP requests. Again, this is something your website developer can look into for you.
9. The Code is Unclean
Unclean code can be a common cause for website slowness. In some ways, writing code for a website is similar to writing a letter. Someone might be very wordy and write a very long letter. Someone else could take that letter and refine it so it becomes significantly smaller. In the same way, a website can be coded with tons of text. Or, it can be cleaned up so the coding is much easier for a website browser to read.
If you compress the code and reduce the file size, then you can expect a quicker page load time. Attention to detail matters, so make sure you use inline CSS and while you’re using inline CSS, don’t add multiple CSS stylesheets when you can use only one.
10. An Excessive Number of Ads
Monetizing your website can be very helpful, but that shouldn’t compromise your user experience and websites performance. An abundance of advertisements can make websites load slowly.
Having too many advertisements can create hundreds of HTTP requests, and if you’ve made it this far reading the article, then you already know what too many HTTP requests can do to your website.
The simple way to solve this problem is to limit the number of display advertisements on your website. This will help make sure your website is responsive and has excellent performance.
How to Test if Websites Load Slowly
You can use tools like GTmetrix and Pingdom to analyze the speed of your website. These tools will also offer suggestions on what changes you can make to your code, and settings you can enable at your web host, to increase the speed of your website.