If your website is slower than a snail on a staircase, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll help you figure out why your site keeps underperforming in website speed tests and give you 10 tips you can use right now to give your website a much-needed jolt.
What’s so terrible about owning a slow website, anyway?
- A slow website kills conversions: Fifteen seconds isn’t that long on a cosmic scale, but for website loading time? It’s With so many web pages loading in eight seconds or less, internet users just don’t have the patience to wait for your site to slog its way onto their screen. They’ll just click away, and your conversions will suffer.
- A slow website hurts your search engine rankings: SEO is crucial to any online business, but even the most optimized website will still rank lower in search results if it’s slow to load. If your website doesn’t show up in the top search results, fewer people will see it. People can’t visit your website if they don’t even know it exists.
- A slow website loses money: If you’re a businessperson who owns a slow website, you’re practically standing at your storefront yelling at customers to go away. And these are the customers you even happen to get. When your website shows up on page seventy-five of the search results, very few people will see your website at all. So, all that money you invested into your website? You might as well have lit it on fire and tossed the ashes into the wind.
Why is my website so slow?
A website can be slow for several reasons. These are just a few:
Your web host has a slow server
If you’ve run a website speed test and found that your web host’s server is barely creaking along, this is an easy thing to fix: You just need to upgrade to a fast web host. Having a fast web host is crucial to having lightning-quick loading time. When you choose a fast web host, you’re making sure the company who owns your web site server won’t end up sabotaging your loading speed. A fast web host means faster servers and faster loading time. (As a bonus, a fast web host is also typically a more efficient hosting company, which means they’re better equipped to handle all the little things that might go wrong when you’re a person who owns a website.)
Your site has too many HTTP requests
Every image, video and script on your website takes time to load. If you have too many of these, your website will take absolute ages to load.
You have too many page redirects
Every time your website redirects to another page, the HTTP request-response cycle takes longer to complete. If your URL is a long string of redirects, it’s no wonder your site is doing poorly on website speed tests.
Your code is too long
If your code has lots of unused white space, commas, and other unnecessary features, you’ve found the culprit of your laggardly load time.
Now that you know why your website is so slow, here are ten ways you can fix it:
10 Tips to Make your Website Load Faster:
1. Reduce HTTP requests
2. Compress your files
If your files are bigger than 150 bites, and you can’t get rid of any of them, try compressing them instead. When you enable gZip compression, you’re telling the server to put all your files in a single package before it sends them to your visitors’ browsers. This means your server will transfer less data to their browsers, which means your web page will load more quickly.
3. Reduce your image size
Try to upload only small image files to your website. (If you upload huge image files then reduce the size later, this can be a sneaky drag on your website’s loading speed.) Also, choose the right image format. If your device automatically saves images as PNGs, make sure you convert them to JPEGs before you upload them to your website. JPEGs are much smaller than most other image filetypes.
4. Clean up your code
If your code is bloated with lots of unnecessary spaces and punctuation, clean it up or get someone to do it for you. When you clean up your code (called “minifying” in technical terms), you’ll see an almost immediate boost in your website speed.
5. Use asynchronous loading
6. Enable browser caching
If you use certain data points frequently, you might want to store them in the cached memory. You can cache almost any kind of data that your site needs to load frequently. This includes images and videos. Caching speeds up the data retrieval process because instead of having to load data points from scratch, your server only needs to retrieve them from the cache.
7. Reduce redirects
It’s a waste of time to send your visitors to one page just to end up sending them somewhere else. This is even worse if your visitors are on their mobile. Redirects affect mobile users even more severely than they affect desktop users, because mobile networks are often less reliable. As a rule, you should never use more than one redirect to get to anything on your website. So, take a good, honest look at your redirects. Do you really need all of them? If you can find a way to get your visitors directly to any of your webpages, do it. (And when you’re cleaning up your redirects, remember to update all the pages that will be affected.)
8. Use a Content Distribution Network
A Content Distribution Network stores your website in multiple servers in various locations, which reduces the distance between your visitors’ browsers and your website’s servers. The closer your users are to a server, the faster your website will load on their device.
9. Use ads only where you need to
If your website gets lots of traffic, ads are a great way to turn clicks into cash. But each ad is another HTTP request, which means your website will take longer to load. Rich media ads like auto downloads take an especially long time to load, because they create hundreds of HTTP requests. We’re not saying you should never use ads; we’re just saying to make sure you don’t use so many that you end up slowing down your website and turning away the very visitors you need to see those ads.
10. Choose a fast web host
If you’ve tried everything on this list and your website is still slower than a sloth jogging through molasses, it may be time to switch your web hosting provider. When you’re setting up a website, it’s tempting to go for the cheapest web host (or even for the first one you see), but the wrong web host could undermine your efforts to have a high-ranking website. Choose a web host that uses SSD technology and watch your site zip through website speed tests!
If your website has been performing poorly on website speed tests, you’re probably also losing visitors without even knowing it. Now that you know what might be slowing down your website and how you can fix it, you might be tempted to tackle the whole thing head-on, but you’ll only get overwhelmed if you try to fix everything at once.
So, take some time to figure out which issues are causing the biggest drag on your loading speed and fix those first. (Your web host is especially important.) Once you’ve fixed the biggest problems, start working on the others. Your website will speed up in no time.