Why Does the Speed Matter?
In this competitive world, when there are over a billion websites in the world, nobody wants a slow website – we get it. Loading your website is your clients’ first impression of your business, and you don’t want them to stare at the blank screen, which is taking forever to load, and neither do they. Guess what? If your website is loading for more than 5 seconds, your potential client is most likely already scrolling through social media or shopping online, or they are disappointed by the first experience with your company. Numerous polls are showing mobile users already abandoning a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
And what about SEO? The site speed is one of the signals in the algorithm to rank pages, according to Google, which started making mobile speed a ranking factor for SEO in 2018. Besides, we already talked about the visitors’ possibility of leaving the website because of the speed, and this will reduce the average time spent on the page and increase the bounce rate. The longer your clients spent on your page, the higher the possibility your website met their needs.
There is no simple fix to a slow website, and the essential part of the process is to determine the cause of the problem. To do so, we use different online tools:
Pingdom is a great tool for checking your site, not only because it finds any problems on your page, but it can also check the response time of your website from different continents.
Gtmetrix might give you different numbers, as it checks the performance of your page from Vancouver, Canada. And if your server is located in the States, it will perform better in or close to the States.
Thinkwithgoogle is going to check the mobile and the desktop speed, and everything that takes more than 2.5 seconds to load is considered slow. More than half of your website visitors are going to visit through their mobile devices, and mobile conversion rates are lower compared to desktop. If your website turns out slow, take into account that 85 percent of the sites out there take longer to load than Google’s recommended speed.
Webpagetest.com enables you to choose from different locations, different devices, and different browsers.
To go through the process with you, we have tested a website using those tools, and here are the results:
Pingdom Performance Grade D – 70, loading in less than 1 second (946 ms).
Google rating – slow – 4.1 seconds on 4G connection, with a score of 29/100 on mobile, and 72/100 on desktop.
PageSpeed Score of 92% from Gtmetrix.com, which showed a loading time of 2.5 seconds.
Grade A on almost all components except for Cache static Content on webpagetest.org with the load time of 3.808 seconds.
The results vary wildly by tool and also depend on the server location, browser, and device.
Pingdom gave us suggestions on how to improve the performance, and in this case, we were advised to compress components, add Expires headers, make fewer HTTP requests, use cookie-free domains, and reduce DNS lookups.
Google suggested eliminating render-blocking resources and removing unused CSS. Those would save 2.6 seconds of the load time on mobile, and 0.5 on desktop.
The reasons vary depending on the website and other factors, but below, we are going to discuss some of the most common reasons for a slow website.
Loading a website is like starting a car. Probably even those who don’t care about cars at all have heard about horsepower and engines. The more powerful the engine is, the faster the acceleration. We are talking about cars, as the aircraft wouldn’t even make it into the air if its engines weren’t powerful enough. If the website is slow, the first and the most common reason can be the server, which is like the engine for a car or an aircraft. When your client clicks on your site, the browser notifies the server to send the data of your website so that it can load. Even if everything else is in perfect shape, if the server is slow, the webpage will always load slow.
To check only the server, you can visit the website: https://www.websitepulse.com/tools/results.php
It will allow you to check your website hosting and response time from different locations.
Location of Your Server
When you click a website, you request a server to load the information. Now, if you are in Eastern Europe and try to load something from the server in the United States, it’s going to take much longer for you than for someone who is in the States. So, if you know your target audience is in the United States, for the best performance, you should pick a data center close to or in the United States.
Shared vs Dedicated Server
If the server is shared, it is almost like jump-starting a car – using a temporary connection to an external power source for starting a vehicle with a dead battery. A shared server is what it sounds like – sharing the bandwidth, the amount of disk space, and all the power with other websites. Although it’s cheaper, if you want to have a website that loads fast, you should consider having a dedicated server, which is solely dedicated to your webpage. A dedicated server is the best option not only for speed, but also for control over the ways the server is utilized. Sometimes your website needs a particular script or software you can’t apply because of the lack of access.
Un-optimized the Images
Another common cause of the slow website can be images. If your webpage features lots of pictures that aren’t optimized, it will negatively affect the speed. To avoid unnecessarily large photos on your page, consider compressing. This will reduce the size of the files without decreasing their quality. For optimizing images, it’s best to use Adobe Photoshop, but there are some free alternatives you can find online.
Caching is like saving information from a website for visitors, so the information is not requested every time a person opens a page and it can speed up your website. For instance, caching can save data in every hour and deliver it to visitors, until it’s updated again.
A page redirecting to another page causes a wait time for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete, causing the page to load slow. Make sure to reduce redirects for a better performing website.
Although those are the most common causes and solutions, they differ depending on many various factors, and there are tons of other possible issues out there. To determine the cause of your website’s slow speed, consider using the tools as mentioned above and the ways we’ve outlined to fix them.