Load times are more important than ever, as customers are using mobile phones and want information in an instant. While many companies don’t place the right emphasis on site load times, Google and others are using it to rank your search results. Bottom line? If you want customers, then no one should consider your website slow.
Common Site Speed Problems
There are a handful of common site speed problems. While some are a bit technical, there are also some that are quick and simple to understand. We’ll review a few tools you can use to analyze your site, as well as some common problems that you will encounter. But before we jump in, keep this in mind: there are two reasons your site could be slow. One is the complete size of your site. The other is the speed of your server.
Some hosting companies are just slow, and your site takes a long time to respond. So, the problem lies in having to optimize the load you are putting on your server. Think if it like having too many ice cubes in the blender. It’s just slow to process everything and make the smoothie to pour back into the cups. In this case, you need to either lighten the ice cubes or get a bigger blender.
The other issue is that your site is just too big. You’re trying to deliver a 2 gallon smoothie through a 1cm straw. It’s going to take some time! This is is where you would want to further optimize the site and its assets to make your site as small (meaning file size) as possible.
So, now that we’ve laid some ground work, let’s get into some possible solutions!
1. Optimized Images
One of the biggest resources (file-size wise) is images. Any site that is thinking about load times needs to think about images and how big they are – not in dimension, but in file size. You could have a large image on your homepage, but it could have a very small file size. Conversely, your small image on your footer could be uncompressed, and be 5x larger in file size than it needs to be.
2. Too Many Files / Plugins
Another really common problem on the server side is having too many files requests on your site. If your site uses a CMS and you’ve installed a lot of plugins, each one of those plugins has a few files that are needed to work. So, when someone accesses your site, they may need to request a few hundred files to render your website. That’s a big smoothie! The current world of content management systems is doing wonders for the web, but it could be making your user experience slow. You might need to have a technical person look at the site to give you some insight into what you can trim to build up your speed.
3. Load on the Server
There could be two reasons for this. First, you could be getting a massive rush of visitors. If so, great news! You should upgrade your infrastructure to make use of all your new traffic, and hope that it stays around. The second reason is not a positive. It may be that your server can not keep up with the simple demand you have now, and it needs to be upgraded. If your server is running a high load (and possibly being used for other tasks than hosting your website), you’ll need to think about upgrading. This one is hard to diagnosis without an IT professional, so ask around before upgrading.
Free Site Speed Tools
Here are a few links to some site speed tools that you can use to help look into your site.
Good luck increasing your site speed. Your users will thank you for it!
Need help optimizing your site for top speeds? Get in touch with us for website design services in Frederick, MD, that can help you reach your customers around the world.