There is nothing worse than clicking on a website and it taking forever to load. Those extra seconds of wait time can be a deciding factor for your website visitors to choose to wait it out or click over to a different website altogether. Don’t risk losing website traffic just because your site is slow to load! Determine what factors are slowing down your website load time and take the time to optimize your website with our tips below.
Before we dive into the tips, you’ll want to determine what site speed you hope to achieve. The best practice is anything less than 3-4 seconds. If users have to spend about 7 seconds or more waiting for your website to load, it’s a pretty good bet they are going to get impatient and head to the next website in their search results.
Depending on how many images or other elements you have on your web pages, you may need to increase this time just a little bit, but under 4 seconds is an optimal site speed.
Start by checking your site speed
Use a website such as Pingdom Tools to check your initial site speed. You may be already satisfied with this number, but there is always room for improvement. Record this initial number for reference.
Determine what is weighing down your load time
There are a few different factors that can contribute to slow website speeds. Review this list below to identify which ones could be a culprit for your site.
Potential causes of a slow site
- Bad website hosting: The platform you are hosting your site on could be a huge contributing factor to your website speed.
- Page size: You may have multiple images or large files struggling to load at an optimal speed. Or maybe you are trying to serve too much content on one page and need to break it up into multiple, smaller pages.
- Image files: From file sizes to file types, this can be a factor to keep an eye on. This is one of the top causes of slow load times.
- Plugins, add-ons and external scripts: Depending on your website platform, part of the problem could be the number of plugins or apps you have added to your website. All of those additional files have to load before your site content, so that leads to a longer wait. And if you have multiple 3rd party scripts from services like Google Analytics, Facebook, and other social media platforms, it can add even more to your website’s load time.
Ways to fix these common problems
Bad website hosting
Your hosting server and/or website platform plays an important and main role in your optimization process. Even if you try these other methods first, it won’t really matter if your website host/server is the main component causing things to come to a standstill.
When it comes to servers, you get what you pay for, so you may potentially need to upgrade depending on your overall site’s performance.
The size of your page is a huge factor when it comes to your loading time and how quickly data can appear and visitors can interact with your page.
Everything displayed on your page is a part of the total page size. From images to text, video files, etc. – this is all part of the overall size.
A page with a lot of content on it will equate to slower load times, which means visitors will have to take time to wait for everything to display. Consider this as a major factor when designing your website or updating its content for optimization.
While images can be a huge part of your site style and overall website, they can also be a big factor to look out for with your site optimization. The good news here is that fixing your images for a faster site can be pretty simple. Here are some quick tips specifically for your website images.
- Keep file dimensions on the smaller side. There is no reason for your image width to be larger than 2500px, and that’s really only necessary for full-screen imagery.
- Make sure your photos are the correct file type. Traditional images should be JPEGs, while PNGs should be reserved for files that are more graphics/illustration driven. Unless you need a transparent background, a traditional photo/image should almost never be a .png (the file sizes are much larger).
- Optimize your images for your website by the file size. Try out a website like https://imagecompressor.com or tinyjpg.com to compress your images properly. A good rule of thumb is to keep your file sizes under 600-800KB and optimally under 350KB. Had professional photography taken? Request that your photographer provides web-ready imagery in addition to the typical high-quality files they provide, which are not suitable for websites as is.
Apps + Plugins
Perform a regular site audit, preferably quarterly, uninstalling plugins or apps that you aren’t using anymore or that aren’t essential to your site. And be sure to keep these regularly updated in order to avoid any potential security vulnerabilities or conflicts. Always try to avoid overloading your site with plugins or apps and look for alternative options for additional functionality when possible.
Take some time this week or get a date on the schedule to assess your website and optimize the main reasons your site may be chugging along and sending visitors away. Once you take the time to optimize your site, take note of how much your conversions improve!