Speed is one of the most important features of a successful website. It affects a variety of key metrics – like search engine rank and conversion rate. In other words, a slow site not only annoys visitors to the site, but it also gets your site punished by Google. This affects your traffic and can have a large impact on how likely visitors are to find your site in a search. With today’s online consumers expecting websites to load in 3 seconds or less, your site’s speed is more important than ever. So if you’re noticing delays, here are 7 possible reasons why your website may be slow and how to fix them.
- Too Many Plugins
If you’re running a WordPress site, you may need to take a look at all the plugins you’ve got running behind the scenes. Each one makes its own file request, so more plugins, mean more file requests. Even if you only have a few, bulkier plugins, their size could be slowing your site down as well. Remove any of the unnecessary plugins or ones you aren’t using to minimize this risk. Try to use popular, well-maintained plugins when possible, as these tend to be better optimized for performance.
- Poorly Written Scripts
- Optimize CSS
When it comes to coding, attention to detail really matters. The more elements you add to your website’s stylesheet (ie. excessive white spaces, inline stylings, empty new lines, etc.), the larger it grows in size. By removing any of these unnecessary elements, you can compress the code and improve the overall page load time. It’ll most likely boost your SEO performance too. Start by not using inline CSS, and don’t create multiple CSS stylesheets when you can use just one. This alone won’t have a huge impact on performance, but little tweaks here and there do add up.
- Unoptimized/Large Media Files
The general rule of ‘the larger the file, the larger the load time’ still applies in today’s high-tech world, and it can definitely contribute to slowing down a site’s loading time. Your server carries all your content, text, and images, and when it’s pinged for a request, larger items slow down the response time.. It’s important to check the file sizes and format of your images. Different image formats utilize compression algorithms that are optimized for various types of images. For example, JPEG is usually ideal for photos and images with a lot of color shading and variation. GIF is geared towards blocky images with simple color palettes like simple animations and icons. PNG is great for images with transparent elements that look great regardless of the background – like a logo that appears on many different pages. Try a variety of formats and compression settings to find what is best for each image, as there is no one approach that is best for all images.
- Enable Caching
If you do not have browser caching enabled for your site, you may be missing out on one of the most effective ways to optimize your content delivery. Most sites are comprised of mostly static files and images, with only a small amount of dynamic content. Without browser caching enabled, every time a visitor hits a page all of this content must be downloaded. With caching, you can designate which elements of your site are to be cached, and how often that cache should be refreshed. This doesn’t help the first time a page is loaded, but every other page that is loaded utilizes this cache of content that is now stored locally by the visitor’s browser rather than downloading it from the server again. Consider your logo, an image that appears all over your site. With browser caching, rather than downloading it on every page view, it is downloaded just once and stored locally. Expand this approach to all the static content of your site, and you can see a significant improvement in performance.
- You’re Not Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN service consists of several servers that are strategically placed around the globe to store copies of your website’s content, so pages load more quickly for users who aren’t as close to your main server. Depending on the physical location of the visitor, the content they request is served by whichever node is located closest to them to minimize latency. If you have a lot of customers all over the globe, using a CDN can help serve your content faster, no matter where they’re located.
- Server Performance
A result of a growing business is more traffic. This is obviously a good thing, but if your server isn’t prepared to handle the increased load, it can actually work against you. Higher traffic volume demands more resources across the board, so you may want to see if you are experiencing any bottlenecks with your RAM, CPU load, or bandwidth and upgrade your configuration as needed. If you are using a shared hosting environment, your performance may be impacted by the activities of other sites hosted on the same physical server and you may want to consider moving to a dedicated or cloud server to give you full control over resource utilization.
If slow load times are becoming evident on your site, your best bet is to upgrade your server to get the performance and bandwidth you need. Contact GigeNET to learn more about your options and get your site running at optimal speed.