Few things come close to the frustration you feel when you open a website page that takes forever to load. It’s not surprising then that research has shown that a 1-second delay in page loading can reduce customer satisfaction by 16% and website page views by 11%.
A 1-second delay in page loading can cause an online retailer like Amazon to lose $1.6 billion in its online sales. If a web page takes more than 4 seconds to load, there is a pretty good chance of 1 in every four visitors leaving the slow website.
These statistics highlight just why speed is so critical to the website experience. After all, a fast website can improve user engagement along with sales conversion rate (particularly if you happen to sell products or services through your website).
7 Common Causes of Slow Website Performance
A sluggish website can have far-reaching repercussions on your business. But before we proceed on how you can fix the problem, it’s important to understand what slows down your website. So here’s the low-down on 7 top reasons for your website’s poor speed.
#1. Poorly Optimized Images
Take a look at any website page, and you’ll be sure to come across a variety of content formats, including text, images, online ads, and videos. These un-optimized (or large) images can be a major cause of slow website performance.
In addition, loading high-resolution or large-sized images on your browser can consume your available Internet bandwidth, thus impacting your loading speed.
We Suggest: If you want your website to run at optimum speed, try reducing the image quality without having a major impact on how the image looks on your website.
This includes compressing or setting a JPG image to 80-90% of its original quality. Additionally, switch to standard image formats such as JPG, GIF, and PNG, which are lesser in file size and faster to load than formats like BMP and TIFF.
Among other popular techniques for faster image loading, you can opt for image optimization tools like lazy loading, a popular practice used to defer the loading of website content that is non-critical during the initial webpage loading.
#3. Use of Adobe Flash Plugin is a No-No
If your website runs on the Adobe Flash plugin, then it’s time to bid farewell to the outdated software. Not only do these flash plugins require regular updates (without which your browser does not display the content), they are usually bulky and take time to load on your web page.
In addition, with a host of other plugins easily available on the market, the once-popular Adobe Flash plugin is no longer recommended for modern websites.
Another critical failure of a Flash plugin is its incompatibility on mobile browsers, meaning that you lose your smartphone viewers who will not be able to view your website on their phones.
We suggest: Ditch Adobe Flash player and switch to HTML5, which is considered a better alternative due to multiple benefits, including:
- Light in weight and consumes less CPU power resulting in the faster rendering of website pages.
- Does not require any plugin installation and is supported natively on web browsers.
- Provides native support for interactive content.
- More optimized for Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO)
- Open source and free of cost
#4. Traditional Web Hosting
Traditional hosting works best when all potential visitors to the website are located in the same location and are in proximity to the location of the webserver. However, if your business caters to a global audience, that’s not the way to go.
So, if your prospective lead is viewing your website from another country, all the website content is delivered to each website visitor from a single location. This can not only result in slow uploading from the server but also a critical loss in business.
You need a smart and dynamic way to cater to your visitors who access your site from multiple locations.
We suggest: Adapt your website to a Content delivery network (or CDN) mode. A CDN is a form of hosting with a distributed network of web servers installed in different parts of the globe. This service is very effective in serving web content to online visitors (irrespective of their location) quickly.
Depending on the geographical location of your website visitor, the generated request is routed to the nearest CDN node, thus minimizing the loading time and serving the content in a shorter period.
#5. Embedding an External Media
Are you running an external YouTube video or a slideshow on your website? While these external media effectively increase viewership on your website, they can also slow down your webpage loading when not used in moderation. The use of rich external media on your website results in excessive HTTP requests that require additional processing time.
Similarly, running online advertisements (or ads) for monetizing purposes can come at the cost of a slow website.
We suggest: Choose a web host provider that can host all types of content and media from their servers rather than running them from external sources. Alternatively, you can also take stock of all the external media running on your website and include them in moderation.
#6. Poor Website Coding Practices
While attractive visualization and engaging content are strong pillars for a great website, steady and strong coding serves as the foundation to function smoothly. Unfortunately, most of the time, improper or unclean coding practices can be a big reason for a slow website.
Is your website development team following good coding practices for your website? Here’s are some of the most common improper coding practices:
- Excessive use of white space.
- Loads of comments that are unnecessary.
- Use of frequent line or page breaks.
- Use of inline stylings instead of CSS.
- Use of empty new lines.
- Use of multiple CSS stylesheets.
We Suggest: Rectifying these common coding problems mentioned above can reduce the overall file size of your website code, thus optimizing the overall page load time. Additionally, you can also opt for code optimization as it is also effective in improving the SEO ranking of your website.
Optimize your code through the minification process that removes redundant data from your code.
#7. Poor Service from Your Web Hosting Provider
If you are still facing slow website loading despite fixing all the previous reasons (listed in this article) then, it’s probably time to change your web host provider.
While a shared web host might be a cheaper option, a slow website is often the price you pay for it. It is a far more prudent decision to host your website on a managed web host and use standard content management software (or CMS) like WordPress or Drupal to power your website over any other outdated CMS platforms.
The best web host providers can improve your website performance and customize your website according to your needs.
Another reason behind your slow site could be a hack. In a shared hosting environment, malware infection in one website can place other websites on the same server in a precarious position.
We suggest: If you are using the WordPress CMS platform, you can migrate your entire website to a different web host (or web domain) using the free WordPress migration plugin, Migrate Guru what’s more, who can execute the entire website migration process seamlessly without any website crash or any other impact on your live website.
And to clean your malware-infected site, scan it using a WordPress security plugin.
If you find malware, then clean it and then figure out how your site was hacked in the first place. If you suspect it’s a hosting issue, reach out to your web host, confirm with them, and then move to a better hosting provider.
Now that you know the major causes, you should review your slow website and get down to identifying the main reason. Whatever be the reason, the first step in identifying the cause before applying the appropriate solution can help your website run faster for a longer time!
Have we missed out on any common cause or reason for a slow website? We would love to hear from you. So do share your experience by leaving behind your comments in the section below.