Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is my website running so slowly?” A number of problems could be behind this, but let’s go over the first steps we take at Brain Jar to diagnose the problem. Then we’ll go over one big step you can take that will probably make a huge difference.
“Why is my website so slow?” Find out with Lighthouse!
If you’re using the Chrome web browser, you already have what you need to diagnose the problem. Here’s a step-by-step:
- Go to your website.
- Right click anywhere on the screen.
- A tooltip menu will appear. Click on “Inspect.”
- Part of your screen will be taken up with a big block of strange looking stuff, probably HTML code. This is a tool called the Inspector. There are tabs inside of it, and one of them says Lighthouse. Click it.
- There’s an area with a bunch of little checkmarks. One of the items is “Performance.” Make sure that’s checked and uncheck the rest.
- Click “Analyze Page Load.”
- After a few seconds, the inspector will show you an overall score for how well your site is performing, along with how long it’s taking to reach certain milestones in the loading process. When you scroll down, you’ll see a long list of problems Lighthouse found, along with suggested solutions.
Just go through these solutions one by one, and your page will load much faster! If you don’t know how to do the fixes Lighthouse suggests, you could always call your friendly neighborhood web developers at Brain Jar. If you want to learn how to do it yourself, we’d recommend joining a bootcamp, such as our own WP Code Camp, which is the world’s only coding bootcamp that focuses on development for the WordPress platform.
How to speed up page load with one big hack
There’s one thing you can fix that is a problem on almost every website on the planet. This is: Shrink the file size of your images. Here’s one great way to do that:
- Download all of your images.
- One by one, change them from a .jpg or a .png or whatever they are into a .webp format. This file format looks just as good and is compressed much, much tighter.
- Re-upload them.
- Wherever they were linked, relink them (because now their file names have changed. They now end in .webp).
- TIP: You can find a lot of free tools on the web to convert the file. Here’s an online file converter our developers have used that seems to work well.
Once you do that, regardless of what Lighthouse says, you’re going to see a huge difference.
Why is fast page load important?
In today’s digital age, having a website that loads quickly is crucial. Slow-loading websites can significantly impact the user experience, leading to frustration and, ultimately, a high bounce rate.
Users have grown less and less patient with websites. If your website takes longer than two seconds to load, you’re going to see your bounce rate double from the one second mark. If it reaches eight seconds, almost all of your users will bounce.
And remember, many people are still using older mobile devices that don’t perform as well as the latest models, so you have to consider that if your page load is two seconds, it might be twice as long on a five-year-old phone.
Why is my website so slow? Other factors
If you are experiencing slow website loading times, it is essential to identify the reasons behind it and take appropriate measures to rectify them. Here are some of the most common reasons why your website might be loading slowly:
- Unoptimized Code: The code used to build a website can significantly impact its loading speed. If the code is not optimized, it can slow down the website’s loading times. One of the most common issues is the use of bloated plugins or themes. Plugins and themes can add a lot of functionality to a website, but they can also slow it down. Therefore, it is essential to choose lightweight plugins and themes that do not negatively impact website performance.
- Server Issues: The performance of a website is heavily dependent on the server it is hosted on. If your website is hosted on a slow or overcrowded server, it can lead to slow-loading times. It is crucial to ensure that your website is hosted on a reliable and fast server. You can also consider upgrading to a dedicated or VPS hosting plan, which can provide better performance and faster loading times.
- Lack of Caching: Caching is a process that stores frequently accessed data in a user’s browser or on the server, allowing the website to load faster. If your website does not have caching enabled, it can lead to slow-loading times. You can enable caching by using a caching plugin or by configuring your server to cache content.
- Ads and Pop-ups: Ads and pop-ups are an essential source of revenue for many websites. However, they can also negatively impact website loading speeds. Ads and pop-ups require additional HTTP requests, which can slow down website loading times. To minimize the impact of ads and pop-ups on website performance, limit the number of ads on each page, and use lightweight ad formats.
- External Scripts: External scripts, such as those used for analytics, social media, and chatbots, can significantly impact website loading speeds. Each time a user visits your website, these external scripts are loaded, which can cause delays. To minimize the impact of external scripts on website performance, reduce the number of scripts used and load them asynchronously.
Slow-loading websites can significantly impact the user experience, leading to a high bounce rate and decreased revenue. By identifying the reasons behind slow-loading times, you can take appropriate measures to improve website performance.
Some of the most common reasons for slow website loading times include large image sizes, unoptimized code, server issues, too many HTTP requests, lack of caching, ads and pop-ups, and external scripts. By addressing these issues, you can significantly improve website loading speeds and provide a better user experience for your visitors.