Why is my website slow?

Site speed is a must if you want to build a successful online business or blog. Website load time and speed affects SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), bounce rates, user experience and conversion rates.

A slow website can be the cause of multiple factors:

Reason 1: Slow and low quality webhosting service

A low quality webhosting service can slow down your website A LOT. Relying on cheap and low quality web hosting will also negatively affect your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and user experience. These will in turn lower the amount of people visiting your website.

In some cases, upgrading to a better hosting plan or a better web host can solve almost all your speed issues.

The solutions:

  • Choose a high quality web hosting service.
  • Make sure you can rely on 24/7 support.
  • Use a web hosting service that has servers located in the country you and your visitors are in.

Reason 2: Images are too large or in old formats

Images make up on average about half of the bytes on a page. Optimising images will therefore provide substantial benefits to the load time of your website. By applying different types of optimisation, you can significantly reduce the image file size of all images on your website, allowing the browsers to load and process them faster.

The solutions:

  • Image compression. This makes the size of images smaller. Lossless compression keeps an identical quality but doesn’t reduce the file size as much. Lossy compression lowers the image quality but also significantly reduces file size.
  • Using next-gen image formats such as: WebP (most popular), PEG 2000, AVIF, JPEG XR. These image formats have better compression and quality characteristics. Using these formats will reduce your file size without affecting the quality too much.
  • Lazy-loading images. This lets your website only load images the user is currently looking at. This will increase load speed by not loading all the images at once when a user visits your website.

Reason 3: No caching implemented

Caching is probably the most important site speed optimisation technique. What is caching? Caching stores a copy of your website files in a place called a web cache.

Lack of caching might lead to slower response times because server have a limit on the amount of requests they can handle simultaneously. When that limit is reached, the requests go into a queue which then results in longer load times for the user.

The solutions:

  • Use caching plugins that automate the caching process for you.
  • Utilise a CDN (Content Delivery Network).
  • Set up caching rules. These can be managed through HTTP headers. You can edit these through your web server’s configuration.

Why is my WordPress website slow?

Is your WordPress website slow? These are the leading causes for slow WordPress (or other CMS) websites:

Reason 1: Too many plugins

There are a lot of great plugins for WordPress, but installing too many of them will slow down your website’s performance and speed because of the increased amount of code that has to be executed.

This applies for other CMS websites as well. The use of too many third-party extensions and plugins will negatively impact your website’s performance.

The solution:

  • Only install plugins if really necessary. Get rid of useless plugins.
  • Install plugins that do the job of multiple plugins -> Plugin 1 does A, B, and C instead of Plugin 1 does A, Plugin 2 does B, Plugin 3 does C. This reduces plugin amount.

Reason 2: Unoptimised plugins

Certain WordPress plugins are not well optimised which will negatively impact your site’s performance. These plugins will have unoptimised code or just way too much code.

It’s always a good practice to look at the reviews of plugins to see whether or not it is a well-optimised plugin that wont negatively affect your website’s performance (a lot).

The solution:

  • Get rid of unoptimised plugins.
  • Install frequently updated, lightweight plugins.

Reason 3: Bloated WordPress theme

Another reason for slow WordPress sites is using a bloated theme. Certain themes may have a lot of unnecessary code/functionality baked into them like CSS or JS files which will increase the load time.

The solution:

  • Use a lightweight WordPress theme.

The result: A fast website with a Perfect Google PageSpeed Insights score

Applying these steps can bring your website to a 100/100 score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This is great for SEO, user experience and load time.

A perfect 100/100 score achieved by Weblabs.be on PageSpeed Insights (Google)
A perfect 100/100 score achieved by Weblabs.be on PageSpeed Insights (Google)

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