Semalt: Causes And Solutions To Slow Websites


Table of Contents

  1. Why Website Load Speed Matters?
  2. Top 10 Causes and Solutions to Slow Websites
  3. Conclusion
Slow websites are always a headache not only for the audience but for website owners as well. People do not get the information they are searching for, and website owners miss potential visitors/ customers/ clients.

Nowadays, when every business is trying to leverage the power of the internet, it has become essential to have a website and maintain it. If you regularly take care of its design, content, load speed, and other things to enhance the user experience, it will bring you favourable results.

Today you are going to learn about different factors leading to slow websites and the right way to overcome them. 

Why Website Load Speed Matters?

Whether visitors to your website are your potential customers or people aiming to learn something about your offerings, they all expect your website to load quickly.

The average load time of a website is approximately 2-3 seconds. Sites loading beyond this duration often fail to impress visitors and hurt its search engine rankings.

According to a study, people expect a site to load in around 2-seconds. When a webpage doesn't respond even in 2-8 seconds, 33% of them abandon it.

Slow websites hit online businesses the most. Potential customers disappointed by the slow load speed of a webpage hardly return to make a purchase.

A slow website keeps eCommerce companies on the verge of massive conversion loss even if that website loads with a delay of a few seconds.

If you want to increase the revenue of your online business, look forward to improving the performance and load speed of your website. It is the simplest way to enhance the experience of people visiting a website.

Top 10 Causes and Solutions to Slow Websites

Many factors are responsible for slowing down a website. Let's explore the top 10 causes and their solutions.

1.   Unoptimized Images

One of the most common reasons why websites load slowly is the presence of unoptimized images. You use images with high-resolution to make an impression, but they do more bad than good.

High resolution, like HD, 4K, UHD, and others, consume a lot of bandwidth. The process of uploading such images and scaling them down to fit the screen size decelerate the load speed of a website.

You might be knowing that out of JPEG, PNG, and GIF images, the size of JPEG images is the least. It means your website will load faster if the images on it are in the JPEG format.

What you can do:

2. Too much Flash Content

There is no doubt that content in flash format makes your website more interactive. But, excessive flash makes your website slow.

It is because the flash content or files are often bulky and decrease the load speed of your website. If you can reduce the size of flash files or eliminate them from your site, you'll see a significant improvement in the loading speed of your website.

HTML5 is an alternative for flash. You can replace your flash files with HTML5 format and make your site faster.

What you can do:
  • Be informed that flash is an outdated format and make your mind to replace it with something better.
  • Find out the flash content on your site.
  • After identifying flash files/ content, replace them with the HTML5 content.
3. Bigger CSS and JavaScript Files

When your website has a lot of JavaScript and CSS files, it becomes bulky. Remember that all visitors to your site do not use similar devices. Their systems may fail to execute these files precisely.

An excessive amount of JavaScript and CSS files increases the number of requests sent while opening a website. 

This process slows down your site and indirectly asks users to wait. But, most users decide to leave rather than waiting.

What you can do:
  • Evaluate your site and take steps to minify CSS and JavaScript.
  • Take the help of plugins that minify JavaScript and CSS files.
  • If you can't do it on your own, hire professional web developers to get it done precisely. 
4. Ineffective Server Location

You might have observed that accessing things at a distance takes more time, whereas less time is required to approach nearby things.

The same applies to the server location of websites. The server should be according to your target audience. If you are trying to target the US audience, make sure your website is set up on a server not located in another part of the world.

When the server is far away from your audience, the browser's ping has to travel a lot to first access the data and then return to the user's device. It implies more server location slows down your website.

What you can do:
  • Try setting up your site with a local server. For example, set it up with a server located in the US if you are targeting the US audience.
5. Augmented Code Density

Sizable and dense elements of a website affect its performance. They make a website bulky, and page load speed is affected the most.

Some people may debate that Facebook's code if of around 62 million lines, and that of Google is 2 billion. Their code is so dense then also these sites load faster. Well, it is because they have resources to execute dense code.

If there are no resources to handle augmented code density, your website will load slowly and upset visitors.

What you can do:
  • Evaluate the code of your website and take steps to clean it.
  • Find out the extra white space and get rid of it.
  • Also, get rid of unnecessary comments and inline stylings.
6. Not Utilizing Caching Techniques

Caching improves your website's performance significantly. If you are not utilizing the caching technique, you are missing a lot.

The caching technique allows storing commonly used data in the form of cached memory. When a user requires to access a piece of content again, cache memory helps accelerate the whole process of data retrieval.

Server-side caching and HTTP/ browser caching techniques are known to bring significant improvement in a website's performance.

What you can do:
  • Agree to the fact that caching brings drastic improvements in the performance of your site.
  • A lot of things can be cached, such as database queries, HTTP, images, and others.
  • Caching can be tricky. If you are not 100% sure, experts suggest to take professional help and prevent messing things.
7. Avoiding gZIP Compression

gZIP compression instructs the server to put different web objects (like CSS, images, JavaScript files) together in one container before sending them to the demanding browser.

When data transfer takes place between the server and your visitor's browser, gZIP compression reduces the size of that data. 

This process lowers the response time significantly, and users enjoy browsing your website and content on it quickly.

What you can do:
  • Evaluate your website and find whether gZIP compression is enabled or not.
  • Different webservers provide different ways to enable it. Some commonly used ways to enable gZIP compression include .htaccess, Nginx, Litespeed, and Apache webservers.
8. Excessive Advertisements

When a website starts getting heavy traffic, most website owners place advertisements on it to increase your income.

This monetization technique is great but slows down a website or webpage if you place too many advertisements on it. Excessive ads increase the number of HTTP requests, thereby making your website slow. And, rich media advertisements add to the delay.

Pop-ups, pop-unders, auto-downloads, and interstitials not only clog up your website but also force users to wait longer to access content on your site.

What you can do:
  • Remind yourself that ads on a website are not meant to deteriorate the user's experience.
  • Evaluate the difference in page size with and without advertisements. If it increases with ads, reduce the number and size of ads. 
  • If there are too many or rich media advertisements on your website or webpage, make sure to decrease their number.
9. Using Obsolete CMS

CMS, Content Management System, is used for creating, managing, and modifying digital content. For example, WordPress, Wix, and others.

While using a CMS, you need to be careful about its version. Make sure the CMS and plugins/ software are regularly updated. 

Regularly updating the CMS not only keeps problems and bugs at bay but also increases the speed of your site. Updated CMS delights visitors to your website. 

What you can do:
  • Check the version of your CMS. Find whether it is outdated or the latest.
  • If it is outdated, update your CMS to the latest version. There are many plugins and automated tools to help you update it. If you are not sure, seek professional help.
10. Avoiding CDN

A CDN, Content Delivery Network, service is the highly-distributed network of servers which helps in minimizing the load speed of a webpage or website. The independent servers are deployed in distinctive geographic locations.

Based on the geographic location of the target audience, CDN makes sure the web content is served quickly and precisely.

What you can do:
  • Find out whether you are using a CDN service for your website.
  • If not, look for a CDN provider and register with it. There are several free as well as premium service providers, go for the one most suitable for you, your website, and your offerings.

Conclusion

Many factors, such as JavaScript, bulky codes, outdated CMS, unoptimized images, and others, are responsible for slow websites.

Remember if your website or webpages are not fast, every other thing will suffer. Every millisecond affects the performance of a website.

If you are familiar with the process of web management, increasing the load speed of your website will be an easy task for you. 

Many people face difficulties in carrying out the processes required for making their website fast. There is an easy solution for such people, taking the help of experts.

Semalt has a team of highly-qualified experts who make slow websites extremely fast in no time. Whether it is about PHP configurations and versions, adjusting Apache parameters, or any other thing, Semalt experts can do everything quickly and precisely.