9 Common Causes of Slow Page Load Time [Infographic]
August 16, 2017 | Posted in Buyer's Journey|
You already know that slow page speeds can cause serious harm to website traffic and conversion rates, but what is causing these delays? If you’ve ever thought to yourself – my website loads slow – then these common culprits could be the source of your issues.
Tracking what elements are causing slow website speeds can be broken down into two sections, one being front-end performance. This is the time it takes for the user to download a website’s page onto their own computer. Much of this is out of your control, but it’s helpful in case a prospective or established client calls you to ask what may be causing their issues.
1. Computer performance
If a user’s computer hasn’t been updated in a few years, it’s likely going to have problems working with many of today’s websites. Code and data is constantly changing, and if a computer is old – it will have trouble rendering newer files with outdated technology.
2. User connection speed
Connection speed is determined by which internet provider and plan the user has chosen. Some internet providers have faster page load times. Often a user can upgrade to better connection speeds if they are having trouble with their current plan.
If the back-end performance of your site is the cause of your issues, only you can fix it. These are a few of the common reasons your site may be taking longer to generate a page and send it to a user to download and view.
3. Inefficient code
Your website is built upon code. The more complex your website, the greater the amount of coding. Great website developers know to only include as much code as your website needs to function well. Extraneous or inefficient code will only serve to slow down your site, as the server must work through more data to get the information it needs to load a page..
Tip from the Experts
Do you currently utilize page caching to increase website speed? A page cache means that instead of building a page from the ground up every time a user visits, a pre-generated snapshot of that page is sent instead. This can dramatically increase page speeds, but cannot be used on pages that require authentication.
4. Spikes in web traffic
Let’s say you’ve picked your web hosting and server specifications based on the average amount of traffic coming to your site. If the amount of traffic suddenly spikes, your host and server will not be able to handle that many users at one time. This could happen if you launch a new online marketing campaign – so make sure you’re prepared for any possible traffic spikes.
5. Bulky files
Files like images, flash graphics, and display advertisements can slow down your website if the files are not optimized for online viewing. Don’t use a larger image or higher resolution size than needed. Bigger files mean it takes longer for the server to generate that page, and longer for the user to render the page. Avoid TIFF and BMP image files, as they aren’t optimized for web page use like JPEG or PNG files.
6. Excessive plug-ins
As you’re learning, less is more when it comes to website speed. Another common culprit is excessive plug-ins. There are hundreds of thousands of options when it comes to downloadable plug-ins, and all of them insist that you need them to improve functions within your site. However, too many plug-ins will only make it more difficult to load pages quickly. Delete plug-ins if they aren’t serving up measurable, positive results.
7. Too many redirects
Redirects are often used when you’ve linked to a specific address many times within your site, and it would take too long to comb through each mention and change it to a new address. You set up a redirect to automatically link to a new address whenever a user clicks on the old url. While this is an invaluable tool in many situations, it has its downsides. When you place a redirect, it means that the user must wait for the page to essentially load twice. If you use too many redirects, you’re doubling the load times for those pages.
8. Server location
This concept is simple – the farther away your server is located from a user, the longer the website will take to download. Try to pick a server location relatively nearby your user base. For example, if most your clients are based in Pennsylvania – don’t host your site on servers based in Europe.
9. Server performance
When a user goes to your url, their browser will ping your server asking for the information needed to load the page. Great servers will get them this information quickly. The quality of your servers often comes down to your website hosting service. Are you paying for shared hosting or dedicated hosting? Shared means that multiple websites share your servers, and you may be competing with their website traffic. A dedicated server will give you faster page speeds as there is no competition within the server.
Test your website’s speed.
A common tool we utilize to test our client’s page load times is https://tools.pingdom.com/. Enter in any url to test how fast a user can download and render your website on their computer. Keep using the tool after implementing changes based on the common causes above. You should be able to see a measurable increase in your website speed!
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