5 Reasons Why Your Website is So Slow

5 Reasons Why Your Website is So Slow

When it comes to surfing the web, many of us have the attention span of a 2 year old (oh wait, that' me). If a page doesn't load quick enough, we are off, checking out the next website.

According to Google, more than half of us will only wait around for about 3 seconds before we are "movin" on. That's not much time to grab someone's attention.

To help you get your site running at tip top performance, I have a few suggestions in areas you may need to look at to help increase the speed and performance of your website or blog.

These are all issues I have dealt with directly as a web developer and have really helped with speed issues.

Webserver Performance

We've all heard the saying "You get what you pay for". This is absolutely true when it comes to selecting a web host. Cheaper is definitely not better. Often times when you pay less for a monthly shared hosting plan with a company that may not have the greatest reputation, you sacrifice significant performance.

Unless you are paying for an upgraded hosting package or your own Virtual Private Server, your website is most likely sitting on an overcrowded server, with who knows how many other websites.

This leaves your site competing for resources with everyone else's. The more resources used up by other websites, the less available for your site.

After trying and testing many different web hosts over the years for the websites I've built, the host I selected to run my own website is ​​​​SiteGround. Their hosting packages are relatively inexpensive, and offering great support appears to be a top priority.

I appreciate that they seem to focus on optimizing their servers and support services around Joomla! and WordPress sites.

Do your research before selecting your web host, it's one of the most important decisions you will make.

Image Optimization

 

Do you optimize your images before you load them to your site? This is a must for any website, but especially one that is heavy in photography and graphics.

When your browser is trying to load a webpage, so much is happening behind the scenes. Each element you add to your site creates a new load request. Add in a bunch of images with large file sizes and the next thing you know, your site loads so …very … very … slowly.

Make sure to check the file size of any images you lead to your site. You can check out this post on image optimization for more information on how to keep your images small and speedy.

Keep CMS & Plugins Updated

 

Keeping your Content Management System and Plugins updated is important because it provides your site with the latest updates and security. We all want the latest desktop software with all the bells and whistles. The same applies to your website. Keeping your site updated helps to ensure the site can run at top speed.

And PLEASE, don't forget to make a backup of your site before you make any major updates. Find a plugin to help with this task, or check with your web host and ask about the best way to create a backup of your site. It's peace of mind to know if anything goes wrong, you can put the site back while you look for a solution.

Browser Caching

 

This one may be a little more tricky, but trust me, it can make a world of difference as to how fast your site runs.

Think of caching as a temporary storage location which holds all the files and images of a webpage so when you visit the site again and again, your browser does not have to redownload the entire page every time.This helps to speed up page download times significantly.

To set up browser caching for your site, you will either need access to your .htaccess file so you can add the appropriate caching headers, or you can probably find a plugin to install which will walk you through the process.

To find out how fast your website is loading and to gain a better understanding of the areas that need adjustments for speed, I would suggest using an online website speed checker. One of my favorites is GT Metrix. You just put your web address into the Analyze bar and page load results are returned with information on how to improve your speed. If your browser caching needs improvement, information is provided on what things you can do to increase performance.

Has Your Website Been Hacked?

 

If you are running your website on a popular CMS such as WordPress or Joomla!, then there are hackers everywhere constantly looking to find exploits in your site and wreak havoc, leaving a trail of utter destruction that will bring tears to your eyes.

Too much?

Securing your site is extremely important and should be one of the first things you ever do. Once a hacker finds a way into your site, they can do crazy amounts of damage which can cause major slowdowns on your site, redirect traffic to some not-so-nice websites, or take you down completely.

And once you are hacked, finding the problem and cleaning your site is a whole other complicated task.

The trick is to stay ahead of the hackers. Find and install a plugin which helps you manage the security of your site. I am a Joomla! girl and I have used Akeeba Backup and Admin tools for several years to secure my sites. Once installed and configured correctly, I can monitor who is attacking my site, blacklist any offending IP's, receive notifications when my site is being attacked and set up rules for when someone tries to attack my site in a certain way so they are automatically banned from being able to access my site.

If you do not currently have any security in place on your site, I would highly encourage you to make this a priority. If you've had a website for a while, there is a strong possibility that you may have been hacked and you don't even know it. I would also suggest finding a tool which can audit your site and report on any changes made to the site which you didn't do.

Secure, Optimize & Cache It

 

Don't lose precious website visitors because your website loads at a turtle's pace. Make sure you are performing regular speed checks and monitoring your sites security. And please don't forget to optimize those beautiful images you are placing around your site.

There are many other ways you can increase the speed of your site, but in my years of web development experience, the topics listed in this post are at the top of the list. Keep your website healthy and it will perform well!

 

 
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