speeding up a slow website

5 Steps to Speeding Up a Slow Website

Is your site loading slowly, driving away visitors?  It’s a shame when your site is attracting your target visitors, only to have them leave before your site loads. Your company may have just what they were looking for. When they can’t wait for your site to load, they lose and, so do you.  

5 Steps to Speeding Up A Slow Website

Here’s my shortlist of the most likely culprits of poor website performance and how you can circumvent or fix them.

  1. Slow Web Host. There is a big difference between the performance you will get on different web hosts. Many larger hosting companies stuff more than 1500 sites on one server with the resulting performance being very spotty. We recommend managed WordPress hosting with WP Engine or Pressable who all only host WordPress sites and keep their servers optimized to get maximum performance from WordPress websites.  

They also offer great caching and CDN services. Yes, you can get that with a plugin, but if you don’t know how to configure those technical plugins, you may end up worse than before.  

For clients looking for less expensive web hosting, we recommend Site-Ground for their cloud hosting and personal attention.

  1. Poorly Coded Themes. Many themes load JavaScript in the header. It is better for performance to have the JS load at the bottom of a page so that the site can show up and give the JavaScript time to load.

How can you check this out? Look at your “View Source,” and if you see this issue, then it may be time for a theme change. Another problem is sloppy redundant CSS.  Some of the theme frameworks like Genesis pride themselves on their clean code. And, it does make a difference. It’s best to start off with your best chance of success than to have to go back in later and clean things up – if you even can.

  1. Bloated or Poorly Configured Plugins.  You’ll see a significant difference in site load times between a website with plugins installed and the same website without plugins. We will always need to use plugins because they provide the means to accomplish critical tasks such as spam prevention and SEO, as well as offering more specific functionality such as e-commerce or event management.  

The number of plugins isn’t the real issue since some have a small footprint and don’t use a lot of resources to load or operate. But there are some other plugins that you may need to put on the chopping block if they are the cause of slow load times. The culprits to look for are those that are operating all of the time, making data calls to another program such as Instagram feeds or the Facebook Like box.

  1. Huge Images and Image Scaling Issues. Large images will cause performance issues on a website. Get into the habit of resizing your pics to less than 1000 pixels, before uploading them to your site. WordPress will resize them to three sizes that you can select from when inserting them into a page or post. (You can change these settings in Settings-Media). It is a good practice to run a plugin such as Smush it or EWWW which will compress your images. Your eye won’t notice a difference, but your load time will thank you for it.
  2. Not Using Caching or Content Delivery Networks (CDN).  You can improve site performance with a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache, or by using a managed hosting company that provides caching as well as content delivery network (CDN) for you.  Caching makes and saves copies of part of your site as static .html files.  When someone visits your site, these static files of your site will be served to them while the actual is loading in the background.

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) makes copies of your site available from each of the servers in their global networks. When someone types in your URL, the network location, closest to them will serve the site which results in perceived site speed.

Addressing these issues will get your site zipping along so you can attract your target visitors and convert them into clients.


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