There are a seemingly endless number of ways to repair a website that is loading slowly. From reasons such as slow hosting to oversized images to the number of redirects, slow loading sites are the biggest killer of conversions when they take more than 3 seconds to load. Even fractions of a second can make a difference when your user’s experience (UX) is negatively impacted by your site taking longer than expected to load. Also, now that Google takes speed into account in site ranking, users may not find your site easily when it is slow loading.
Let’s go over some of the most common reasons for poor website performance. Though some of these may take some help from a developer, some of them can be done from home in just a few minutes. We are not going to go into detail about each of our top 25, as you can easily find more information about them.
1. Choose the right hosting and platform and optimize them.
Check the page speed of the hosting companies. Google PageSpeed Insights tells you if you have a slow server response times (Google recommends it should be under 200ms).
2. Test your website in GT Metrix or with GoogleAnalytics
GTMetrix is a free online tool that analyzes your page’s speed using Google Page Speed and YSlow and offers detailed reports about your site’s performance.
3. Upgrade to PHP 7.4 (if using Siteground, Bluehost, GoDaddy)
Updating PHP (scripting language) versions is one of the easiest ways to make your website load faster.
4. Minimize HTTP requests
5. Minify and combine files
7. Minimize time to first byte
In addition to the amount of time it takes for your page to fully load, you’ll also want to take a look at the amount of time it takes to start loading. You can reduce the time that this takes by enabling caching.
8. Check and reduce server response time
One of the biggest factors in how quickly your page loads is the amount of time your DNS lookup takes. The amount of time this step takes depends on how fast your DNS provider is.
9. Run a compression audit and enable compression
In order to get your files to load faster, you must get your files to the smallest they can be by resizing or using compressing, without sacrificing quality.
10. Optimize caching
Every time a visitor loads a site, your web page’s image files, CSS and Java files load as well, taking up a lot of page load time. When caching is set up correctly, your browser can store these resources or files for subsequent requests.
11. Reduce image sizes
One of the easiest ways to speed up your site loading is to make sure all of your Jpeg photos are the right size to be maximized for space.
12. Use a CDN such as Cloudflare
A CDN distributes your site’s files across a network of global servers, that way your users can access your site via the server that’s closest to them.
13. Optimize external hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo
External resources are anything from embedded YouTube videos to Google Fonts, Google Analytics, Gravatars, and anything requiring information to be pulled form an outside website.
14. Optimize CSS delivery
It is a good practice to place your website’s JS and CSS in external files to reduce the page load time on subsequent requests.
15. Prioritize above the fold content – lazy loading
You can improve user experience by having your above the fold (top of the page) section load faster — even if the rest of the page takes a few seconds to load.
16. Optimize Plugins
A site that requires heavy plugins may slow your page loading speed.
17. Reduce redirects
Reducing redirects that are avoidable increases serving speed as they require an additional HTTP which increases the page load time.
18. Reduce external scripts
While it is wise to keep tabs on your website’s traffic stats, it is not advisable to use multiple tracking softwares as this may hinder the page load time.
19. Monitor your website and mobile site speed over time
As you work to improve your site speed, it’s a good idea to monitor how it changes over time with a speed test.
20. Clean your database and update your programs and platforms
As you update posts, install and delete plugins, or perform other tasks on your website, this will start to accumulate bloat in your database. It’s best to clean it once every 2 weeks or so.
21. Combine Google fonts
Google Fonts, Font Awesome or other external fonts will probably cause extra requests in GT Metrix since they are an external resource.
23. Avoid ads
Ads are notorious for making websites load slow, and it’s not even that profitable.
24. Reduce cookie size
Cookies are used to store data that needs to persist between requests. Eliminate unnecessary cookies or reduce the size of the cookies.
25. Disable Hotlinking
You can enable hotlink protection in Cloudflare or oftentimes, in your hosting account. This prevents people from using up your precious server resources by copying/pasting your images.
When every second counts, it is well worth the time to undertake many of these tips to help reduce load time. Most issues can be resolved with free WordPress plugins and quality web hosting. You can always research each of these items to determine the best way to go about repairing your slow website load time.