A Slow Website Can Be Your Worst Nightmare - How To Check + Fix It

February 24, 2017

 

Something that’s incredibly important to know, but even more incredibly easy to not think about, is your site load speed. How fast does your site load? Have you ever checked? Don’t worry – most people don’t know!

If it’s loading too slow, and by too slow I mean longer than two seconds, then you’re likely losing traffic.  This delay can be a snowball affect for your overall user experience (UX). A slow site means that your customers are going to have issues with your site, even if they’ve made it past your front page.

 

According to a case study by Radware, they measured an 87% abandonment rate when customers experienced a two-second delay in load time during a transaction compared to the baseline abandonment rate of 67%.  That’s massive! And, from a search engine optimization perspective, Google says it site speed significantly impacts the page ranking.


So, what can you do about it? How can you know? Here are a few tools and tricks you can implement today to help your site speed.

Check your site speed – like right now!

Web Page Test is a free site where you can enter in your website url and see how fast your site is loading. Boom – done! It’s important to know how fast your page is from a real page speed measurement tool, rather than opening your page and counting the seconds or using a timer, because internet speeds differ across the board. A web tool will give you an accurate measurement of your site speed. 

Google has a bunch of site speed tools, including one for browsers and one for mobile with Page Speed Insights. It’s an amazing tool, which will give you a ranking, tell you what’s wrong and give suggestions on how to fix it.

You're right Hollie, my site is slow. Now what?

1. Do an image checkup


Your images could be way too large for your site (as you can see with our friends example above). First, make sure your images are in the right format (PNG for graphics, JPGs for photos) and consider using CSS code to combine images into one large image that loads all at once (meaning less HTTP request, which means less load time).

2. Utilize caches


When someone visits your site, their browser will automatically cache a ton of useful information about your site (images, JavaScripts, etc.), so that when they come back next time, the browser doesn’t have to load from scratch. SEO Site Checkup is a free tool that will check your site cache for you and make sure it’s running the way it should. Sometimes, your site may be resetting it’s cache, causing users who have previously visited your site to have to start from scratch.  If your interested in learning more, Google is a great resource.

3. Check your server


If you’ve tried a bunch of free tools, fiddled with code, and optimized your site the best you could and you’re still noticing it’s slow, maybe the problem is your server. If you’ve been using a free hosting site, you may want to consider paying for something that’s more reliable.

Test it out

Site speed testing is a common practice when it comes to user experience design, so make sure to include it in your process if you’re thinking about launching a site or doing a site check-up. It may take some time to fiddle with your website to make it as fast as possible, but it’s completely doable!

 

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