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Why is my website so slow?

Why Is My Website So Slow?

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A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about my website and got out my smartphone to let her see it. To my embarrassment it seemed to take a long time to load up which made me ask the question, “Why is my website so slow?”

I assumed that as soon as someone clicked a link to my website or entered the URL that it would be displayed immediately but it’s a lot more complicated than that, with hundreds of requests instantly pinged around the world to bring the text and images to your visitor’s screen.

In fact, there is so much going on in those few short seconds, that there is a LOT that can go wrong – and frequently does.

And a slow website is BAD news for you. If you are trying to get your website ranked in search results then the Search Engines are increasingly focusing on the user experience as well as the information contained on your website. If your site fails to deliver the information in a matter of seconds then users might not wait for it and go elsewhere to find the answers they want.

It can cost you thousands of visitors and conversions, not to mention all the lost revenue.

If you’re Amazon, a one second delay can cost $1.6 billion annually. That’s how much speed matters on the internet.

First, let’s test your website to see how fast it’s loading.

And remember, this is just one snapshot in time. You really should test your site numerous times over the course of a day and even a week to truly get a good look at what’s happening.

The best place to test you site speed is Google page speed insights which you can find at:

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Once you have checked to see your speed score for your website you can start to look at some of the reasons why it is slow. Here are some of the most common ones that I have discovered:

Why Is My Website So Slow?

1: Slow Server Performance

When someone clicks on your website link, their browser sends a ping to your server. But if your server doesn’t quickly answer that ping, then it will take longer for your site to load.

Cheap hosting usually gives you a shared server, which means you’re sharing space and resources with countless other websites.

If your site is slow, it’s probably waiting in line to get out the door and to your visitor’s screen

If you discover that your server is one of the big problems then I recommend you check out the hosting at Wealthy Affiliate – you can read our review of it here.

2: Distant Server Location

Long distance calls take longer to connect because information has to physically travel to get where it’s going.

Think of it moving through cables, transmitting over satellites and so forth. A similar thing happens when someone clicks on your site.

If your server is based in the US, then when someone in Asia clicks on your website, the information has to travel halfway around the world to request access to the server, and then your website information has to travel all the way back again to load it to your visitor’s screen. It’s worth taking a minute just to consider how far that distance actually is!

3: Big Image Filesizes

Remember dial-up? Images loaded a bit at a time.

The same thing is still happening today, only faster. If you have a lot of complex files on your page, it’s going to take longer to load than a simple page of plain text.

Pay attention to file formats. Browsers can load GIF, PNG and JPG images quickly, but heavy formats such as BMP and TIFF will take longer. Wherever possible I recommend you use JPG images. These are good quality without being too big. Check the size of the images before you upload them and if necessary reduce the size by using a tool like Pixlr-X. I created a tutorial on how to do this here

4: Excess Code

Yup, if you have a lot of code, your site will be slower.

Try not to clog your site up with excess coding and JavaScript.

5: Text Graphics

If you’re using images to display text, your site will be slower.

It’s better to use a regular font whenever possible.

6: Too Many File Requests

Again, big elements take longer to load. And it’s not just size, but also quantity that matters. Every image, every social sharing button and every piece of your website requires a different file request to load.

If your page has 50 files and 50 people are trying to load your site at once, that’s 2,500 simultaneous file requests. You can see why websites crash if traffic gets out of hand.

7: An Excess of Traffic

You’ve seen this one happen – A lot of traffic is sent to a website, and it slows down. Send enough traffic, and it could crash. Your server can only handle so many requests at one time. The more requests there are, the slower your website gets. Yes, it’s tough to be popular. It’s another reason to make sure you use a good quality hosting package.

8: Redirects

You walk to the gate at the airport, only to find out the gate has been changed to one on the other side of the airport. So, now you’ve got to walk all the way over there. A redirect is like that. It’s like loading a page twice, and you want to avoid that whenever possible.

9: Outdated CMS

If you’re using WordPress (or Drupal or Wix) to manage your site, then you’ve probably noticed regular popups asking you to install updates or new versions of the software.

Updates are good – kinks have been worked out and speed has often been increased. Be sure to install the latest version of all software and plugins to load your site faster and more smoothly.

10: Too Many Plugins

This is for WordPress users. If you’ve got a ton of plugins, then you’ve got a ton of file requests with CSS files and JavaScript to load.

This is more stuff that has to be transmitted to get your site to your visitor’s screen, which again will slow things down. Only use plugins you absolutely, positively need. Remember your plugins don’t need to be constantly activated. If you aren’t using one then deactivate it for a while until you need to use it and then just reactivate it.

Bottom Line: 47% of people expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less.

If your site is taking longer than that, you’re losing views. So if you are also thinking “Why is my website so slow” then hopefully you will now know what to look for.

If you’d like to join me in making use of the best website hosting package available online as well as learning how to build a profitable online business with my help then click the banner below to get started completely for free!

I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

David

 

 

6 thoughts on “Why Is My Website So Slow?

  1. I have checked my site speed on Google site speed and it was fine, but once it was marked really slow. Luckily though, Wealthy Affiliate hosts my websites and the speed was actually excellent despite the report. I agree that a good website host is important and Wealthy Affiliate provides great hosting and also site support. 

    I do my best to keep my plugins to a minimum. I find it interesting to read how the data travel around the globe, it is impressive what the internet can do if you stop and think about it. I am actually one of that 47% of people who expect a website to load in 2 seconds, give or take a second or two, lol. If it doesn’t load, I click away and go to a faster website, it is true. So, yes, it is definitely important for your business to have a fast loading website. As online entrepreneurs, we always must keep that in mind.

    1. Hi Christine

      In the modern world people are definitely not prepared to wait more than a few seconds for a website to load so it’s vitally important that we make sure we deliver what they want. You highlight some of the most important factors such as keeping plugins to a minimum and using a top quality hosting service such as Wealthy Affiliate.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      David

  2. The speed of our sites is an important factor.  Fortunately, there are many ways to work with getting a faster speed.  With all the things that can go wrong, even at the best of times, it is good to make yourself aware of how to check what might be the problem should you encounter an issue.  When you are learning to build your site, basics are always reinforced so that we know not to add to many plug-ins, properly format images, all that kind of thing.  However, when we get busy it is so easy to overlook the obvious and do something to slow down our load times. We read about what this or that plug-in can do or how much adding this kind of link will help your site.  

    Having a good article to make us aware that we may have gone a bit too far helps make us know that we need to make sure that we know what is going on with the loading speed. Which of the plug-ins do you think slows down more than they help?  Have you changed how you use images?  Thanks for your information and opinions about how to help our sites be more user friendly. 

    1. Hi Sami

      Individually most plugins don’t have a huge effect on site loading speeds but sometimes it can be the sheer volume of plugins on our sites that add up to slow it down. The key is o make sure that you only have the plugins activated that you need right at that time. You can reactivate other when needed.

      It’s true that sometimes we can be so focused on adding content to our site that we forget to check it for optimization, but one unnecessarily large image can add several second to the time taken for a site to load and that can be enough for a visitor to decide to click away.

      Thanks

      David

  3. Hi Dave, thanks for sharing a another great article with us. It is super helpful there is so much to remember it is great to read articles like these.
    I was wondering about the suggestion for deactivating plugins when not in use. I thought about doing this but then I was reading a while ago that keeping plugins deactivated, increases your risk for scammers to hide malware behind, did you ever heard of this?
    Also, I have 1 article it has some images and 1 YouTube video. Every time I check the article the speed is in the red numbers. Every time I fix it up till in reasonable numbers and every time when I check again it is bad again.
    Any idea what could possibly go here? I feel like removing the youtube video to hopefully resolve this issue? Any suggestions for this issue at all?
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge, it is appreciated.
    Ps I already use smush to compress my images
    Jude

    1. Hi Jude
      Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your kind comment.
      I know that scammers do try to hide malware in plugins but to the best of my knowledge, as long as you keep them updated and deactivate them when you don’t need them, there should be no problem with your site security.
      Having a Youtube video on your article shouldn’t affect the speed of the site. The video remains on Youtube and your site actually only provides a portal for viewing it.
      Check to make sure all your images are fully optimised and consider a lazy-load plugin to improve your speed but don’t let it dominate your plans for your business.
      Adding content should be your main focus.

      Best wishes
      Dave

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