Even extremely patient people eventually get irritated by waiting in lines. Be in queues of banks, airports, movie theaters or in the drive through of your favorite fast food. What is interesting is that we are irritated not by the fact that we are in the queue, but rather because it takes more time than we have been waiting for.
When it comes to loading your website, time is of the essence. How many times has it happened to you that you want to access a website and it takes a long time to open you simply clicked the back button of your browser, giving up accessing it? If this happens to your site, imagine how many hundreds of hits your business is losing each year and consequently, how many hundreds of businesses are failing to perform. Current users are very dynamic, they are people who want to quickly find what they are looking for, get a solution to a problem right away, find a company phone, or close a purchase with just a few clicks. In their routines, it is not part to have to wait several seconds for an internet page to load and if this happens, they simply give up and go to their competitor.
If after reading these paragraphs you were intrigued, let’s list the main reasons why a site is slow. This allows you to identify if your page has loading issues and how to solve the problem.
1 – It’s Not Your Fault
This may be the main reason for a website to take a long time to load: the visitor’s connection is not good. There are many reasons, from instability in the company’s network that provides the internet, hardware defects such as modem or router, to poor performance on the user’s machine to run the browser. This problem is easy to diagnose: if you went through this when visiting your own site, try loading other pages. If the problem persists in browsing as a whole, make connection speed tests, contact the provider companies, check the devices, make sure your browser does not have many open tabs and extensions installed.
2 – Hosting
The quality of the servers where your site is hosted is another determining factor in the loading speed. First, look for reliable and well-evaluated companies from other customers. Then look for the best web hosting service according to the size of your page. Shared servers work well with initial and mid-sized sites. Only when you start to grow a lot, both in access and resources (a bigger site with more tools), you better start thinking about hiring a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or even a dedicated server. But also, be cautious: the problem is not necessarily hosting and you may end up hiring a service beyond what you can use, causing unnecessary expense. That’s why it’s important to always count on honest professionals who will deliver exactly what you need.
3 – CMS
Most CMS (Content Manager System) available in the marketplace is offered free of charge for basic services such as blogging. The main examples are Joomla and WordPress. They are easy to use, offer numerous tools and have learning curves that make it possible for you to improve your website by studying it yourself. But in that there is also a problem: many times, the amount of extensions and plugins installed in WordPress, for example, is exaggerated, you end up not using many tools. All this will stop at the source code of the page, making it increasingly heavy, slow. That’s why it’s important for you to know exactly what your page needs and nothing more: a simpler, more personalized system helps you be more objective in site management and prevents the page from getting heavy.
4 – Programming
5 – Images
This is one of the major problems mainly caused by who manages and feeds content on a website, slow loading. Uploading images in high resolution, without proper compression, will stop at the other end, the user, who will need more bandwidth to download them in the browser. This also fits in with over-advertisement, which appears on the page not just in images, but in plug-ins – who never entered a news site and took longer to load pop-ups than reading the headlines? So, for those who manage websites, it’s important to know a little more about image compression and to know the tools that help reduce their size without apparent loss of quality. Also review the quantity and results of the ads and the influence of this on the metrics: sometimes, instead of making a profit, excessive advertising leads to loss of access.
Tips on how to make your site faster
There are a number of reasons that causes a site to load slowly. Here are some tips on how to make your site faster:
- Optimize your images and photos for web
The images cause a big factor in the loading time of the site. Heavy images, uncompressed and not resized, should be treated and optimized for use on the internet.
- Reduce number of requirements
- Use caching
The caching system is externally useful for large sites or databases, in addition to CMS like Joomla! and WordPress. Instead of loading all content in “real time” for each visitor to your site, a static HTML copy of your site page is displayed. As there is no download of files and accesses to the database, the site loads much faster.
- Use GZIP
We can decrease the amount of data transferred from our server to the user’s browser by simply compressing the pages. The compression ratio of the GZIP files is on average 70%, so there is a significant impact on the loading speed.
There are several tools for measuring the speed of a website. Google itself has launched the My Site Test, which tests the page on various connection types, parses the code and compares it with other similar sites. At the end, you get a note from 0 to 100, which indicates the loading speed: from 75, you are to be congratulated and do not have to worry about the problem! Below that, it is best to identify what is causing the slowness and seek solutions as quickly as possible.
Sarah Feldman is a Marketing Manager and is currently working with Digital Express, a Digital Marketing Agency in Dubai. She loves to learn and share about latest digital marketing updates and trends.