Many of us don’t have much patience when it comes to slow loading websites. The longer the loading time, the higher the bounce rate. In fact, 38% of us are likely to leave a website if it takes more than 5 seconds to load – that’s over a third of visitors that you could be losing.
Slow websites can also have other negative effects. Page loading speed has a direct impact on SEO – a website that takes ages to load is likely to rank lower on search engines. Consequently, you could notice a drop in traffic.
Shorten your webpage loading speed to 2 seconds or less and you could see your bounce rate drop to 9%. On top of this, your website rankings could drastically improve. But just how do you improve your site’s loading speed?
Website loading speed is affected by various factors. Understanding these factors can help you to speed up your website. Below are just some of the possible reasons your site could be slow – and what to do to fix this.
You’re using a slow hosting service
One of the most common reasons for a slow website is using a slow web host. When you pay for web hosting, you’re paying for all of your website’s data to be stored on a server. Many cheap and free web hosts will cram as many websites as they can onto a small server, while offering minimal support and maintenance. This can result in all the websites on this server running slowly.
It could be worth paying a little extra for a faster web host. You may not even have to pay much more – it could just be a case of reading reviews and finding a reliable hosting provider. Fast web hosting can be found at sites like hosting.co.uk. Look for web hosts that promise fast migration so that your website is up and running on the new server as soon as possible.
There are too many ads
Enabling ads on your site could allow you to make some ad revenue. However, allow too many ads to be displayed on your website and you could notice that it has a noticeable impact on loading speed. One study found that 60% of total loading time on webpages was caused by scripts that place adverts or analyse what users do. In other words, ads are a big culprit.
Make sure that you’re not dedicating too much space on your website to adverts. Unless the content is long (more than 1000 words), don’t allow more than 5 ads per page.
There are too many high-resolution images
High-resolution images could be causing your website to load slowly too. This is any image containing more than 300 pixels per inch (ppi). High-resolution images offer an amazing print quality, making them a fantastic choice in magazines and on posters – but not so effective on websites. This is because these images have a high file size, which causes them to load slowly.
Compressing these images can help to reduce the file size, making them easier to load. This site wpbuffs.com offers a few tips on how to optimise images to make them load more quickly.
There’s too much embedded third-party media
You should also consider how much third-party media is being embedded on each page. This includes ads – but also media like plug-ins or YouTube videos. Such media increases the code on your website and requires your site to exact data from other websites, which can all result in slower loading speed.
Avoid using too many embedded videos on a single page where possible and go easy on plug-ins. This should keep website loading speed low.
There are too many redirects
Redirecting a page to a different page can have an impact on loading speed. Chains of 301 redirects can have a particularly negative impact on loading speed as multiple web pages are essentially having to load one after another. These multiple redirects can also have a negative impact on your SEO, causing your site to rank lower on search engines.
There are many cases where redirects can be useful. For example, it would make sense to redirect someone from ‘yourwebsite.com’ to ‘www.yourwebsite.com’. There may also be times when a page is under maintenance and you want to redirect people somewhere else in the meantime. What you should try to avoid is unnecessary chains of redirects such as redirecting someone from ‘yourwebsite.com’ to ‘www.yourwebsite.com’ to ‘www.yourwebsite.biz’, when you could have just redirected ‘yourwebsite.com’ to ‘www.yourwebsite.biz’. Make sure that all redirects work and that you’re not sending people to broken links.
There’s too much flash content
Flash content has long been used to create cool animations. However, it uses a lot of code and can slow down websites considerably. It’s a big reason as to why so many websites have stopped using Flash content in the last decade.
Support for Flash has now ended, so it’s worth getting rid of any Flash on your site to keep it working properly and to increase web page speed. There are many other ways to create website animations without Flash, which could be worth looking into.
Your website uses too much code
The more code that a web page uses, the more time it takes to read and load. Flash content, embedded videos, plug-ins and adverts are all things that can use up a lot of code, but there are many features that could also be making your code bulky such as unnecessary line breaks and characters.
Consider whether you’re able to trim down some of this code. By making the code on each page leaner, you could cause each page to load faster.