There is nothing worse than visiting a website and then waiting ages for it to load. If a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, the majority of visitors will have already clicked their back button, and would have gone to another website instead.
If you have a website for your business, then you need to make sure that it loads quickly on desktop and mobile devices. More and more people are getting online via their phones, so it’s imperative that your website loads quickly for them and they are not left watching a loading icon on their screen for 20 seconds.
There are two main factors as to why a website is slow. It is either down to the website and how it was developed and optimized, or down to the web hosting. It could also be a combination of both.
In order to find the culprit, you’ll need to do a little detective work. There is no point making any wholesale changes to your website, which could be timely and costly, if the cause is the server where the site is being hosted. Likewise, there is no point changing to a different web host if the issue is your website.
It’s always a good idea to thoroughly research web hosts before deciding to work with one. You can find lots of helpful advice and reviews for web hosts all around the world such as in Australia, India and Canada over at the Fortunelords website, which is packed with tons of great information.
Run some speed tests
The first thing to do is you want to find why your website is running slowly is to run a couple of speed tests. There are a number of free online tools you can use, such as GTMetrix or Google’s Pagespeed Insights. Simply enter the URL of your website and let the tests run. The results will show you where you may have problems and what you can do to resolve any issues.
If you are a little more experienced, then it is worth installing the Google Lighthouse extension to your Chrome browser, which then allows you to perform a very detailed on-page analysis of your site. It will provide you with scores for SEO, performance and speed, and give you very helpful advice on where it has found problems and what you can do to fix them.
The results from these speed tests should give you a good indication of where the main problem lies with your slow performing website. Most of the time you’ll be given tips on how to improve the on-page performance, as well as some advice on what you can do with the server such as activating GZip compression, caching and other more technical fixes.
Are you optimizing your images?
One of the main factors that can slow down the loading time of a website are the images that are being used on the website. Larger sized images take longer to download than smaller ones. When you are making your website, it is a good idea to resize your images, rather than simply upload them at full size.
Most mobiles and digital cameras will take images that are thousands of pixels in width and height. Images this large are rarely needed on a website, so resizing them, and therefore reducing their file size, is an important step. If you are using WordPress for your website, there are a number of image compression plugins that you can install such as Smush, which can resize and optimize your images. Alternatively, you can also resize the images using your photo editor software.
Are you using too many plugins?
If you are using the WordPress platform, one of the main advantages of it is the ability to quickly install plugins that do a whole range of things such as create contact forms, image galleries, and much more. However, sometimes people will overdo it and install way too many plugins.
When this happens, it is common sense that the website will start taking longer to load. WordPress plugins should be used sparingly and only when they are essential. A quick way to check if any plugins are causing your site to load slowly would be to deactivate them, one at a time, and see if the web speed performance improves. It might take a little time but if your speed is being affected by too many or a single plugin, you can quickly rectify this issue.
If you are still experiencing problems, it is worth contacting your web host and asking them about it. They might be able to offer you some suggestions as to what the problem could be, or if there are any issues with their servers.
At the end of the day, the problem with web page loading time can be fixed one way or another simply by changing host, but you would want to make sure you have checked some of the website factors first before making such a move.