Slow websites will be downgraded by Google and visitors put off and may never return. Why is my website slow to load? Is one question I often get asked to investigate.
If your website is taking far too long to load i.e. more than 3 seconds then there is a problem with the website or host.
Here are a few steps you can take to identify and fix a slow loading website:
Server affects website speed
If your website is loading slow then contact your host provider and carry out these simple performance tests you can do online. If you are on a shared hosting service there is a chance they may be an issue on that server or it could be something simple like large image files.
Once you ascertain the issue is not hosting related you can start to analyse the website.
If the issue is a server related issue and the site is slowing down periodically then moving your website to a new host service is the next step.
Quality of your host
The quality of your hosting is equally, if not more, important then the quality of your website for speed, efficiency and SEO. Going for the cheapest hosting is not recommended.
Shared server or Dedicated IP?
Are you on a shared server or do you have a dedicated IP? If your website is getting a good deal of traffic we recommend upgrading from a shared host to a dedicated IP address.
Analyse page speed
We are analysing the performance of www.superiorcruises.co.uk to make website performance improvements.
A good place to start is Google PageSpeed. This free tool runs through the website page speed and then provides a breakdown of issues and recommendations to improve the site performance.
GTmetrix is a comprehensive website performance tool that reviews the website and displays lots of useful information for improvements.
Here we see a load time of 2.6s but the PageSpeed score is only 68%. On this occasion we see that the images have not been resized but there are other recommendations on this report to follow up.
Pingdom is publishing the same load times but giving a performance grade of 100/100 which would be excellent if this was the only tool we were using.
Using all three tools will give a better overall performance report.
Google Search Console
Formally Google Webmaster
One issue that will slow a website down is 404 errors, pages not found by Googlebots.
Google Webmaster will highlight crawl rates and crawl errors so these can be rectified. Every page and link on your website should be working.
Add your website to Google Search Console and Google Analytics to gain access to website reports and traffic data.
The performance of your website has a direct connection to SEO quality. A poor website will be downgraded by Google.
Keep website up to date
Update WordPress to latest version
Make sure your website is using the latest version of WordPress. The new releases are there to improve features and tighten security. You can do this by clicking the update button. If this doesn’t work, you will need to up date it manually.
To manually update a WordPress website to the latest version go to WordPress.org for the latest instructions.
Ensure plug-ins are up to date
Developers of plug-ins are constantly updating plugins to ensure compatibility with WordPress and close any security holes they may have and making general improvements.
Some plugins are used by over 80,000 websites so it is vitally important they are maintained.
Large Image sizes
Resize and crop images prior to uploading
Large images added to any website will effect the load time. We do ask our customers to remember to crop and resize images for blog posts. There are lots of useful image editing tools so research to find the best one for you.
Add Caching to the website
Leverage Browser Caching
Every time a visitor hits your website the server sends the whole page to the visitor but with caching the server sends a pre-built versions, a memory of the page, rather than the page itself.
This saves a huge amount of time and improves website performance. There are lots of Caching plug-ins so be sure to research for the most effective and add the Leverage Browser Caching Code to your .htaccess file.
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”
EXPIRES CACHING ##
We add this code to our websites as part of the service we offer.
Or we can do all of the above for you. We manage and maintain websites by carrying out regular checks on performance reporting, carry out updates and use Google Webmaster Tools to make Google recommended improvements.
If your website is slow we will run some reports to see what can be changed to improve the speed and efficiency of your website.
Contact us today for a website review Contact us.