When Aesop (a Greek storyteller and fabulist) wrote his famous fable ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’, he certainly wouldn’t have considered the world wide web. A slow (or steady) website certainly doesn’t win the race, nor does it win new customers.
A fast loading website is critical to the user experience. We’re all getting more impatient these days and to wait for a website to load is valuable time no one wants to waste. When designing your website consider the amount of time it will take to load each page. Kissmetrics found 47% of customers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less.
Not only do consumers EXPECT your website to load in 2 seconds or less, but 40% of users will also abandon your website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
With page load time being a ranking factor for SEO, it is crucial that your website minimises the four most common negative influences on page load time:
- Large Media Files
- Server Location & Quality
- Lots of Plugins And Add-Ons
- Inefficient Site
Quick Tip: Looking to test your website’s speed? Pingdom Website Speed Test is a free tool that helps you analyse and identify issues with website load speed. Looking to test your website’s speed? Pingdom Website Speed Test is a free tool that helps you analyse and identify issues with website load speed.
Large files are often images and graphics that take a long time to download. They can also be pdf documents like ebooks.
Try to keep in mind the impact of large images (>100Kb). Either restrict the use of large images or use them strategically. Make sure you always compress the image to save space. There are a number of compression programs that remove all unnecessary data from an image so that it maintains it’s quality while reducing its size.
We can often reduce the file’s size by another 30-60% just by using one of the compression programs.
Also, consider the type of image. Using transparencies in an image can considerably increase the size. If you are going to use transparencies try and do it with CSS.
Free tool – Compressor.io
Now technically speaking this doesn’t slow down the initial loading time of your page. Unless you’ve embedded it so it displays.
But it is worth noting that if you have a lot of information and it’s in pdf only, then it will be time-consuming for your visitors as they wait for content to download. It’s also likely to turn people away from your site.
If your site is being hosted on an overseas server then site load times will be impacted. Not only are there large distances to travel but there are also a lot of switches and systems in between and each of these slows down your site’s delivery speed.
So what can you do about it:
- Host your site on a local server. It may cost more but it will be able to deliver your site content much faster
- Use a Content Distribution Network. This allows your site to be cached on servers located near your users. This is particularly useful if you have visitors to your site from around the world.
This can be one of the biggest factors impacting your site’s performance. If your site is on shared hosting vs a VPS or dedicated server then your site won’t perform as well (at least not consistently).
If your hosting provider hasn’t configured their servers well or their infrastructure then this will also impact your site’s performance.
To fix this, use a quality hosting provider. They will cost more but they will also give you better performance. The old adage remains true, you get what you pay for.
Lots Of Plugins And Add-Ons
It’s nice to have all kinds of wicked plugins and site capabilities to show off on your site. The problem is that each of these takes time to load and when multiple plugins are installed there’s no efficiency in how they run.
It’s important to pick and choose the plugins that give you a great effect without significantly impacting the performance of your site. For every second delay in page load time, customer satisfaction decreases by 16%. This makes that slider plugin very expensive indeed.
There’s a great plugin (kind of ironic really) called P3 Profiler that helps you workout the impact of different plugins on the performance of your site.
As a general rule of thumb, never exceed 20 plugins. Either prioritise their use or look for versions with better performance scores.
There are plenty of ways to skin a cat, just as there are plenty of ways to deliver content through a website. It’s just, some ways are better than others.
Caching is known to improve the performance of websites by leaps and bounds. If you’re not caching, you’re missing out. It is an easy way to increase your sites speed by letting you store frequently used data points in the ‘cached memory’. The caching actually happens on the users browser and means each page of your site doesn’t have to be completely downloaded each time.
Excessive HTTP Request
Element Load Order
Another way to tweak the performance of your site is to prioritise the order in which elements of your site load. This works two fold. Firstly, you can prioritise the critical elements of your site that are needed to function before some of the nice to haves. Secondly, you can delay loading content that’s below the fold to not display until needed.
A big impact to load times is often through third party sites that are delivering content. This could be with advertising, maps, social media widgets, etc. Make sure you have this load last as they are one of the biggest culprits for slowing your site.
WP Rocket is a great plugin which helps to improve the performance of WordPress sites.
Site performance plays a crucial role in keeping your customers happy and driving business growth. It’s something that you as a business owner needs to be acutely aware of, especially when it comes down to creating your new site.
If you follow these quick and beginner-friendly tips, you’ll have a higher chance of having a faster, more enhanced website in little to no time.
However, It can be a difficult task to figure out what exactly is causing your pre-existing website to slow down. No matter what the root cause might be, you should leave no stones unturned to get to the bottom of the issue.
Oddball is here to help. If you are concerned with your website’s speed, get in touch with our team to talk about a website speed audit for your site.
Before you go – if your website ever goes down, we strongly suggest getting in touch with one of our experts to get it up and running again. We’d love to help.