My Website Is Slow - Will It Affect Performance?

Search engines utilize advanced algorithms to assess website performance. These algorithms test a large amount of parameters, each of which deserve it’s on article. Here, I would like to explore a pivotal aspect—your website’s speed. Some time ago, Google announced loading time will become an important factor in its ranking system. While it’s just one of many factors considered, the highly competitive digital field demands excellence in every category in order to maintain high ranking.

Recent study showed that websites taking between 1-3 seconds to load experience a 31% increase in bounce rate (people who exit the website immidiately after entering) ,and a 90% if the loading time exceeds 4 seconds. This is not surprising. User experience is very important, and a slow website can hurt it significantly. Try to picture yourself waiting forever for a web page to load. It happened to all of us. frustrating, isn’t it?

So what is it specifically that might cause your website to be slower? First, we need to detect a potential problem. There is an excellent tool by ‘Google’ called “PageSpeed Insights” that will examine your web pages and will give you an overall score for various factors, including speed. If the score is low – it’s time to do something about it. Here’s a list of possible causes and solutions:

Digital Marketing
A performance breakdown of one of my websites by the google tool 'PageSpeed Insights.' This tool gives a more detailed breakdown for each category, including website speed (which is under "performance") and suggests tweaks and improvements that can be made to fix any issues
  • Image optimization.
 

Large sized images and media on your website can affect its speed. Full screen backgrounds shouldn’t be more than 1 MB, and other images shouldn’t be more than 300 KB. If it is not the case for you, a good idea will be to compress and resize them. Good software that allows you to do it without affecting the image quality are Adobe Photoshop, and the platforms TinyJPG and TinyPNG.

 

TinyJpg
TinyJpg in action
  • Changing your server.
 

Some hosting servers produce lower performance than others, from a variety of reasons such as Hardware, quality, high overload and even lack in physical storage. Make sure to check consumer reviews on potential servers and if your current one doesn’t fit the bill – consider moving your website to a different one.

 

  • Using a cache plugin.
 

When a website is loading, the browser is “requesting” the desired files from its source. This process requires a lot of digital resources and can hurt the loading speed. Since most of the files in our website are static, there’s really no need to load it in the traditional way. This is exactly what a cache plugin does –  it creates a “shortcut” by embedding the web related files into memory and pulling it up much faster. A good analogy for it is ‘muscle memory.’ A cache plugin will create “automation” and will perform the specific task much faster than when initially started doing it. There are a lot of good cache plugins, my favorite one is “LiteSpeed cache” which is a good choice especially when working with WordPress.

 

  • Minimize your CSS and JS code.
 

Make sure you don’t have any unused code. Unused code takes up a lot of memory, which affects the loading speed. For WordPress users, “LiteSpeed Cache” can do it as well. Note that before performing this specific optimazation, it is recommended to backup your website, since it has a potential to break some functionalities in it.

  • Consider using A CDN (Content Delivery Network) provider.
 

A CDN is a platform of servers that helps minimize delays in content loading by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. It achieves it by storing a cached version of your website’s content in multiple geographical locations around the world. Press HERE for a separate article about CDN.

To summarize, A website’s loading speed is very important and can have a crucial impact on performance and SEO rating. As mentioned, in today’s world the competition is huge, and every element in your website can be a “make or break.” Therefore, you need to take this topic very seriously and strive to optimize your loading speed, especially if you feel it’s a problem.

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