The performance of your website is one of the most important elements of your online presence. That is why you must tackle any possible issues causing your website to slow down.

In this blog, we will outline some factors affecting your site speed and what you can do about them.

1. You’re Using a Sub-Par Hosting Service

The hosting service, which is responsible for making your site available to the rest of the world, can be a make-or-break element. You want to choose a host with a good track record and suitable for your specific needs. 

No matter how many other precautions you take, if you skip this step, your pages could still take forever to load due to the overwhelming online traffic exceeding your bandwidth. If you have a poor hosting service, your website’s visitors will most likely encounter insanely slow load times, several broken features and, in some cases, total website unavailability. That is why you need to find a reliable host that meets your expectations and needs.

2. You’re Not Optimizing Your Media Assets

Media such as videos and images take up much more space than other forms of content, like codes, stylesheets and texts.

According to Google, images tend to be the biggest contributor to page weight, which causes slow loading. If you don’t optimize images, they’ll end up consuming your entire performance budget. Unoptimized images can also directly affect the three Google Core Web Vitals: performance, responsiveness and visual stability.

However, images can’t be completely removed from your pages. As of right now, the most efficient solution is to optimize them.

The only problem is that the optimization process can take a while and has to be done in several steps, including:

  • Using the appropriate next-gen formats (they can differ depending on the device the page is loaded on)
  • Adequately compressing the size and the quality of images to reduce the payload
  • Using the optimal display size and density
  • Using lazy loading (only load images when needed)

As you might have already guessed, going through this process for each and every image you upload to your website can be tiring and time-consuming. 

Lucky for you, there are numerous services specifically designed to provide automated image optimization. These services analyze the context of the user loading your website’s images and then provide each one with a version of that image that’s optimized for their needs specifically. Keep in mind that most of these platforms require you to install a small JavaScript plugin to improve video and image optimization capabilities. 

3. Render-Blocking JavaScript and CSS Is Delaying Page Loads

JavaScript (JS) is one of the top programming languages when it comes to adding a level of interactivity and other advanced features to your website. On the other hand, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the standard one in adding styling. Both of these are crucial elements of most modern-day websites. 

However, nothing great comes for free, and if you use these two carelessly, they can negatively impact your site performance. Here’s how to prevent that from happening:

  • Minify your CSS and JavaScript files.
  • Put a bigger number of JS/CSS files together into fewer files.
  • Replace a portion of your external JS files with inline CSS.
  • Put off loading JavaScript until you are done loading your content.

Since media is known to have a bigger impact on the website weight, JavaScript is definitely the lesser of two evils. 

4. You’re Not Using a Content Delivery Network

A content delivery network (CDN) is a network of servers that stores a copy of your website on every server spread across many different regions all over the world. Once a new visitor reaches your website, the CDN serves your site from that user’s nearest server. 

This capability helps your page load faster no matter where your page visitors are accessing your website from. On the other hand, if your site is only hosted in the U.S., for example, it might take more time to load properly for someone who is in Asia. 

There are different types of CDNs, and while they all do the same thing, some of them are better when it comes to handling various content forms. Some of the most popular CDNs globally are Cloudflare, Fastly and Akamai. 

Closely examine the type of content you plan to deliver and what kind of global coverage you want to have. Depending on how big of an area you want to cover, you can pick various CDNs for your specific targets.

5. There’s Excessive Overhead in Your Database

If your website is more on the complex side, you most likely have a corresponding database. In fact, most WordPress websites require a functioning database. 

Over time, huge amounts of information constantly travel in and out of your database. The data can sometimes get lost or even become obsolete. That is why you need to spring-clean your database frequently. By doing so, you will bloat the database storage size and affect the speed of database queries and requests. 

For most hosting providers, you will be required to use phpMyAdmin and manually check and regulate your data. Usually, the support team of your host server may be able to help you with this issue. And if your database is installed locally, there are several useful tools you can try out, although they may not be 100 percent effective. 

So, the best way to avoid the problem altogether is to perform database maintenance and make it a part of your routine.

6. You Have Too Many Plugins or Themes Installed

We know themes and plugins can spruce up web design and functionality. But don’t forget plugins come with additional codes and content that will add to the website’s complexity and size. The same goes for all of the additional libraries and applets that you wish to add to your hand-coded website. 

That is why designing a website that is both eye-catching and functional at the same time should be your priority. The right team of consulting professionals who are well-versed in web design strategies and tips will give you better insights into how to maintain the balance between site appearance and functionality. As for the plugins, most experts will advise installing only what you need and removing everything else.

7. You Aren’t Utilizing Caching

One of the most effective ways to improve website performance is caching, yet it gets neglected most of the time. This one simple step will help your page boost its load time significantly by storing away your content that includes stylesheets, images, texts, JavaScript files and so on. Without caching, your users will constantly need to redownload everything as they navigate and reload your page. 

If done incorrectly, however, caching can cause major issues, such as your out-of-date content loading for a user. Thankfully, most modern caching tools will automatically clear the cache once you introduce changes to a certain page or part of the content. That means your users will reload the content once it is modified.

8. Ads Are Dragging You Down

Lastly, ads can significantly slow down your page and its load time. This type of media may be lightweight and small, but that doesn’t stop it from hurting your page load, especially when there are multiple placements on your site. 

The problem comes from the fact that these ads are loaded from external sources. They usually take longer to render. They also generate more requests and, as a result, can mess up your stable page load. 

So, examine how many ads you are using on your page and where you’re placing them. Also, avoid loading all of your ads at the same time. 

Conclusion

All in all, these are some of the most common factors causing your slow pages. Following the tips we’ve highlighted will help you boost load speeds and provide content to your readers faster.





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By Margaret Blank

At the moment I am an expert-analyst in the field of search engine optimization, leading several projects and consulting on website optimization and promotion, I am actively involved in various thematic seminars and conferences.

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