Senior Developer Joe Mitchell tackles the five key things that could be slowing down your website page load speed – and costing you traffic, customers and sales as a result – and what you need to do to fix them.
From excessively large images, untidy and superfluous code and outdated and broken plugins, through to server speed and poor file structures, here are some of the most common problems that are probably slowing down your website load speed.
Reducing your image sizes.
It's not case of one size fits all.
You can serve up different images for mobile, tablet and the desktop and this allows you to get smaller images for quicker load speeds on mobile, but bigger higher quality images on desktop to really "show off" your website.
What you don't want to happen is all the different image sizes to lower at once on each device. That could really slow down your website.
To solve this, this you could use the picture HTML tag. This allows different devices to share their specific images and is supported by all modern browsers.
Minify and combine your files.
Asynchronous loading of less important code.
The "time to first paint" is incredibly important. This is the amount of time it takes for something to be showing on your user's screen and the key assets to be loaded in.
We can reduce this by removing some of the less important code and serving up to the user only when they need it. That can improve their experience and the load time. A great example of this is lazy loading of images you can do this on your Google search image results. As you scroll down the website, the images load-in in how to get to them and this can massively get reduce initial load times.
Beware of WordPress plugins.
There are many many plugins available to use on your WordPress website at just the click of a button. However this can also be a bad thing.
There are a lot of WordPress plugins out there that are out of date, poorly developed and no longer supported. These poor plugings not only pose issues for your page speed but, in the worst case scenario, they can also pose a security risk.
Make sure you turn off any unused or old plugins, and check the reviews and ratings of any new ones you want to use.
Choosing the right server for the job.
If you're running a larger website and you're using cloud hosting that can be an issue.
Cloud hosting has many different websites on a single box and if one of those websites has a big spike in traffic or even security issues and all the other websites on that box can be affected.
If you do have a bigger website you could use dedicated hosting this means there's only one website on that box. Even further, you could use automatic scaling. This means should there be a big spike in traffic for your website, it's automatically scaled up to meet your needs and if there's less traffic it scales down and reduce your costs.