A turtle race.
Molasses dripping from a spoon.
If it feels like your website is loading at the same speed as the previous scenarios, you have a big problem.
A slow page load is beyond frustrating. Internet users are an impatient bunch and their loyalty lasts about as long as their attention spans- Eight seconds to be exact.
Eight seconds is quite generous too, as research shows 57 percent of users will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
So why is your website as slow as molasses? We’ve compiled 5 likely reasons for you and more importantly how to speed things up.
Poor server performance.
When a user clicks on a link to your website, their browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.) sends a “ping” to your server. The browser is requesting all of your website’s data and information from your server so that it can open your website.
Many web hosts will have you on a shared server. Sharing a server is typically less expensive, but you end up paying for it with website speed. Instead of just loading your website, the server is loading multiple websites.
Your server is far, far away.
While it may feel like the internet is just living inside of your computer, it actually makes a journey when you summon it.
Information from the internet has to travel from its server to your computer. The greater the distance, the longer it will take to arrive.
Too many CSS images.
Did you know that browsers make a separate HTTP request for every background image on your CSS pages? Combining these CSS images, also known as compressing, will cut down on the HTTP requests made during a page load.
You have a high traffic volume.
Your web server can only handle a certain amount of traffic at any one time. If you exceed that limit, your website will slow down.
As you can see from Fox’s report on Cyber Monday, even retail giants like Target can suffer from a slow website. In this case, their website actually crashed due to the high volume of Cyber Monday traffic. That’s an expensive lesson..
Your website doesn’t utilize caching.
Much of your website data stays the same and it is unnecessary for it to be reloaded for repeat visits. When your website leverages caching, this data is saved allowing for a quicker page load.
How to speed up your website:
- Compress images and files.
- Use caching.
- Switch to a better website host.
- Get CDN. CDN, short for Content Delivery Network, is a network of servers that deliver cached content based on the location of the user. Remember how we mentioned far away servers slow things down? Users will be redirected to one of your servers that is closest to them. This also helps break down high traffic volume.
Bid farewell to your molasses for good! Website speed optimization will save you from the frustration of waiting, as well as the cost of losing potential customers.