4 Common Factors Slowing Down Your Website, and How to Eliminate Them
Lucas Jones | August 16, 2016
Lucas Jones | August 16, 2016
Imagine the scenario, you have invested countless time and money into your website, but your conversion rates aren’t increasing. In fact the only metric increasing is your bounce rate. You might have the most visually stunning website, but if your website is slow it’s going to have a negative impact on your bottom line. Unfortunately the list of factors that affects website performance is limitless, but here are four common examples which can easily be avoided.
Too Many Tracking Scripts and Plugins
Tracking scripts and plugins offer additional functionality and features that website developers find useful when making website improvements and monitoring traffic. But they are among the biggest culprits for slowing down your website.
The first question to ask when looking at your tracking scripts and plugins, is do you need them all? The answer is probably not.
Even the simplest social sharing plugin can slow page performance and load times. The lag may be a matter of milliseconds but if you have multiple plugins and scripts, it could be costing you visitors and ultimately conversions (see example below).
The quality of your tracking scripts and plugins matters. Ideally, you will keep these add-ons to a minimum. The fewer you have, the better your website will perform. It is important to choose scripts and plugins that are asynchronous – instead of loading the code and your website sequentially, both will load in parallel thus speeding up your load time.
Images are absolutely key to the design and feel of a website. To be effective, pages need to look good and images are fundamental to that. Designers spend hours sourcing and creating the perfect images for pages, but what if your target audience leaves before they have even loaded?
Images are often the biggest files on your pages. If your page has multiple images, the size and ultimately the load time will increase. Therefore, before you upload any image, it is important that you optimize it. A number of lossless compression tools that will help you optimize your images are available online, and many are free.
Images optimized using lossless methods are visually identical, without the extraneous metadata which are not needed for the end user.
Inadequate Web Hosting Services
The adage “you get what you pay for” has never been truer when talking about your web hosting provider. The mistake of opting for price over quality with your web hosting provider can seriously affect your website’s performance.
Providers at the lower end of the price scale often share their server space with countless other websites to increase profitability. This is particularly harmful for websites that are prone to web traffic spikes, visual content and large websites, as the speed and performance of your website will be reliant on other sites on the same server.
Investing resources in seeking higher quality hosting services is central to improving the performance of your website and ultimately the experience of your users.
Bloated Advertising and Affiliate Codes
Online advertising is a necessary evil for many businesses and industries, in particular, media websites without a paywall as they provide much-needed revenue. But dedicating too much space on your pages to third-party advertisers can severely damage website performance.
Ad-tech units have traditionally been filled with bloated code that increase page load times. If a page has multiple ad or affiliate units on a page, the user experience will inevitably suffer and that is a problem. Businesses have to weigh up the difference in revenue between losing visitors due to slow-loading pages and the revenue that advertising brings in.
There are ways to limit the impact advertising has on your website performance. Many have been explored in previous points, but limiting file sizes, using asynchronous codes and minimizing the number of ad units will all help improve page speed with a minimal impact on revenue.