Why Is My Website Loading Slow?
Of all the reasons your website has a high bounce rate, slow page load times typically rank at or near the top. It is a bit of a misnomer because most viewers won’t even bother to let your website load if it takes too long. They’ll just go to the next site in the Google rankings. After all, you can’t bounce from a website you don’t even land on—which is even worse.
To be fair, not every reason your website is loading slowly is your site’s fault. Many variables determine load speed, three of them being the Internet or Wi-Fi quality, the device the viewer is using and the web browser version they are using. But we’re going to ignore the things you can’t control and concentrate on the things you can. You can do several things to speed up your website load times.
What Is the Ideal Page Load Speed?
If your website is optimized, you’re using updated hardware and software, and you have reliable high-speed Internet, how fast should your website load? Experts recommend that any page on your website be within two to three seconds. Remember, that’s not a gradual load, where the page appears as you scroll down. Instead, it’s a full-page load from top to bottom.
Your Slow Website Is Costing You Customers
If you think that a two-second page load is not reasonable, you need to look at it from your audience’s point of view. Research suggests that nearly 50% of consumers start bouncing off your page after three seconds. Even more staggering is that your bounce rates skyrocket from 30% to 80% after the three-second mark.
Think of it this way: You’re losing thousands of dollars in revenue simply because interested viewers (i.e., qualified leads) can’t get to your products or services fast enough.
So, if you don’t want to lose your customers to the competition simply because your website didn’t load fast enough, you need to invest a lot of time and energy ensuring that your pages pop up on command.
Here Are the leading Causes of Slow Website Load Times
Below are some of the main reasons your website is loading slowly. Some of these reasons are technical, so we’ll try to simplify the descriptions.
Excessive Overhead in Your Server Database
Your website’s database server stores and manages the database on the site’s server. It accesses critical data for authorized users. The server keeps the data in a central location that you can regularly back up. It also allows you to access the data from a central location anywhere in your network.
Like any database, the server database can get cluttered with files, media and other data such as logs, transients and entries from website themes and plugins. The excessive overhead can cause the server to run sluggishly, slowing down your website. The best way to optimize the database is to remove overhead files or data you no longer need.
Large Media Files Taking Up Space
If you’ve ever tried to upload photos to Facebook or videos to YouTube, you will often have to condense the file size to meet the file size limits on the platform. The main reason for this is that raw file sizes are often huge—several (or several hundred) megabytes. When there’s a bunch of them on the same page, it can weigh the page down, making it more difficult to load because of all those megabytes.
To make website pages easier to load, you need to condense your photos, graphics and videos. Doing so will speed up the page load times. It is especially true if you have an eCommerce site that contains numerous media files. The more you condense your files without losing file quality, your page loads faster.
Too Much Java
Large CSS Files
CSS is a form of code that web developers use to create the style and layout of your website. CSS files built on the code can be quite large at times. If your site has too many large CSS files embedded in the HTML code, your web pages will load slowly since there are lots of files to load.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve the performance of your CSS files. For instance, you can specify media types and combine CSS files, creating fewer files. If you have external CSS files, you can replace them with inline CSS files. Also, you can use specific media types and how or when they should be loaded on the page.
Leftover Flash with No Support
If you ever visit a website and are bombarded by all kinds of GIFs, ads, flashing graphics, video shorts, banners and other media, there’s a good chance that most of them are running on a flash player. Twenty years ago, flash tools were in abundance. They made programming graphics easy and even fun. However, flash tools have become obsolete and no longer practical for web design.
The Adobe Flash Player was permanently removed in July 2021 via a Windows update. However, your website may be suffering from some old flash player programming. If so, you need to remove all traces of flash from your website ASAP. The code is outdated, bulky and even presents a security threat to your site.
Too Many HTTP Requests
If you’ve browsed the Internet long enough, you’ve probably received a message that stated, “Too Many HTTP Requests” when trying to access a website.
When a website gets too many requests, it can cause an overload similar to a traffic jam, where too much information is loaded.
Too Many Plugins
A plugin is add-on software that gives your website additional functionality. Plugins can allow a website or server to display additional content or perform functions not in the website’s original design. While plugins can make your website more functional, they can also weigh the website down, causing slow page load times.
The best solution for optimizing your site is to find high-quality plugins that don’t take up a lot of space. Also, choose your plugins wisely. Find plugins that work the best with your content management system (i.e., WordPress). Also, don’t keep plugins you are no longer using. They take up too much space.
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