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What’s slowing down your website and how to fix it


Did you know that 53% of website visitors will leave if a web page takes more than 3 seconds to load? It’s true. Bounce rates increase with page loading speed, and high bounce rates can hurt your rankings, which in turn, can negatively affect your future conversion rates.


Since website speed is a ranking factor for Google, having a faster page load time can mean a better user experience and higher conversion rates. There are several reasons why your load time may be slow, including:



Here are a few reasons explained, along with what you can do to fix them.


Too many visitors


A site that loads quickly does two things in your favor - it enhances user experience (UX) and it helps to improve your search engine rankings. One of the things that might cause your load time to be slow is high traffic. High traffic is when too many visitors are on a given site at once.


This happens especially on e-commerce sites when they have new product launches or huge sales. Granted, this is a good problem to have. However, high website traffic can cause your website to load really slowly, and in some cases, even crash. A website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load or crashes on a big day can result in high bounce rates, and ultimately, loss of sales.


This happens because a site can only handle a certain number of visitors. This number is usually determined by its bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to the amount of information a connection to the Internet can handle at a given time. It is usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Larger bandwidths can handle more information and can accommodate more visitors.


So, if your website has more traffic than it can handle, the solution is to increase its bandwidth. You can do this by contacting your web developer or site provider and updating your plan. By anticipating the days when your website might have high traffic, you can take the necessary steps to avoid a crash that would be frustrating and costly.


Too many ads and pop-ups


Another cause of slow websites is too many ads. It’s a common problem that can negatively affect user experience. While you can make money off of ad impressions, poorly implemented ads can frustrate viewers. So, what can you do to keep ads from slowing down your site?


Choose ad providers who follow guidelines. Don’t be afraid to turn down ad providers who litter your site just to keep their revenue up. Only work with those who are reputable and keep their ad servers optimized.


You can also lazy load your ads. Lazy loading is a feature that allows you to delay the loading of elements, such as ads until the visitor scrolls down. Ads that are above the fold are immediately visible and are loaded right away. However, ads further down will not load until they come into the user’s viewport.


Another option is to decrease the number of ads on your site. If ads are generating revenue for you, it might be difficult to let some go, but fewer ads will improve your speed and performance, and this can mean an increase in your website traffic and bottom line.


A desktop showing a web page plagued with ads

Put yourself in the viewer’s shoes. Nobody likes to scroll through a site plagued with ads. While it’s unreasonable to remove all the ads on your site, sacrificing a few for the sake of your site performance will do more good than bad for your bottom line in the long run.


Images that are not optimized


One of the main culprits of slow websites is unoptimized images. When images have a high resolution or a large file size, they can use up a lot of bandwidth while loading. Fortunately, because there are plenty of free tools for optimizing images, this is an easy problem to fix.


An easy solution is to compress images while keeping their ratio intact. Keep image sizes to a minimum, without sacrificing quality. Different types of images require different sizes, and an online image compressor can help you reduce an image to its optimal size. You can also use JPEG format instead of PNG when appropriate. JPEG images are smaller in size and take less time to load. Use this format for larger images. Only use PNG if you require more detailed images, such as logos, graphics, or files with transparent backgrounds.


Enable lazy loading for images. As with ads, lazy loading will prevent images from loading if they aren’t in the visitor’s viewport. This works well for websites that are loaded with images, or for articles that have images throughout.


Additionally, adding an alt text (alternative text) to each image is another way of optimizing images on your website. An alt text is a thorough description of an image. This might not necessarily increase your page speed, but it helps with SEO rankings because Google can’t actually see the images you post; instead, it scans the alt text.


It’s also a good precaution to have in place. In the event that your images don’t load, users can still have an idea of what you want to display by reading the alt text. Following these steps can not only improve your page speed but also your user experience.


Not a good server location


Among the factors that can affect your site’s performance, server location is often a culprit. This is because the further away an end-visitor is from your site’s server, the longer their request will take to be processed, which often leads to slower site speeds. Even with an increase in average internet speed, this is still a problem.


If you want to have an ideal server location, consider the geolocation of your target audience. You can use Google Analytics to know where the most traffic is coming from or you can do a quick research on your user data and choose the nearest location of the majority of your visitors.


Ask your host provider to migrate your server location if it’s not ideal. If you’re already paying for servers that aren’t optimal, you can ask your host provider to move your server to a better location. If you don’t have this option, it might be time to switch hosts.


For a more widespread or global audience, consider using a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN stores your content across several servers worldwide, allowing people to access your site from a server near them. However, this only stores a cached version of your site at each location, but it can significantly lessen the load time it takes to access your site. Ideally, choosing the best server location and adding a CDN to it will get you the fastest load time available for your site.


An infographic representing global connectivity

Too many HTTP requests


How many HTTP requests are too many? When a user visits your website, their web browser will send “requests” to your website’s server for information. Your server will then return the files (images, text, or multimedia) contained to the user’s browser. The more files being requested and the larger those files, the more HTTP requests will be made. The more HTTP requests made, the more time your site will take to load.


This might not be a problem if your nephew is your only visitor, but in the business world, a slow website simply doesn’t make the cut. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your HTTP requests at under 50. If this number is higher, there are a few things you can do to reduce the number of HTTP requests.


Aside from enabling lazy loading for images and reducing image file sizes, you can also remove unnecessary images. Images are a very important part of any site, but too many images increase your number of HTTP requests. Additionally, you can disable unneeded plugins. Avoid plugins that use external requests from other websites since these generally take longer to load.


Conclusion


Taking the necessary steps to increase your site’s speed is an important part of delivering a good user experience. Having a website that is simple, yet effective can reduce your load time and give visitors a more pleasant experience. You can do this by increasing your bandwidth to support more visitors, reducing the number of ads on your site, optimizing images, enabling a CDN, and reducing the amount of HTTP requests made.


An animation depecting a laptop screen and an internet speed test

Do you need help getting started on your website or are you unsure of how to optimize your page’s load time? We use one of the best hosting platforms to build your site. Our websites are optimized so users can access your site from anywhere and still get an incredible user experience. Send us a message and see what we can do for you.

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