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Viral Element / Website Design  / Five Reasons Why Your Website is Loading Slowly
People waiting in line. Used to depict the impatience people feel when waiting for a slow loading website.

Five Reasons Why Your Website is Loading Slowly

It’s no secret that society, as a whole, has sped up. Most of us have jam-packed schedules, and it can be frustrating when we’re forced to slow down or wait because of some pesky interference like a slow loading website.


According to Kissmetrics, “47 percent of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40 percent of visitors will leave the website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds.” This means a slow website is bad for business. It will cause visitors to leave your site faster than a bull chasing a rodeo clown.


So if your website seems to be trudging along lately, don’t despair. There are several common reasons why websites run slowly. Below, are six reasons for a slow loading website. We also offer solutions to each problem.


1) Images are not Optimized

Most images are needlessly very large and can eat up a lot of bandwidth while loading. Images not only contain pixels, but they also hold metadata that help to describe the image.


Optimizing an image involves removing any unnecessary data. It also involves reducing the size or compressing the image without compromising the quality of the image. You can reduce the size of an image yourself by using a tool like Photoshop or a free online image optimization tool. For example, PNG Crush can be used to reduce the size of your PNG images while also maintaining image quality. PNG Crush also offers a JPEG optimizer.


You could also try using fewer images. Although images can enhance and support content, it is possible to go overboard with the use of images. This can lead to performance problems. Instead, try using CSS to get the same visual effect on your site.


2) Browser Caching is not Enabled

Every time a user requests a web page, the user’s browser has to download all the files associated with the web page. This includes HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and image files. If a site has a lot of files, this can cause the web page to load slowly.


Browser caching allows you to temporarily store files on a visitor’s computer. This lets visitors return to your site without having to download the same things every time they load a page. Browser caching can significantly reduce page load times for returning visitors.


The length of time that the files are stored depends on the user’s browser configuration and your server-side cache settings. If you need help setting up browser caching on your server, you could try contacting your hosting company. You can also check out the resources below:



3) Compression is not Enabled

Compression involves making files smaller, so they’ll load faster for your website users. According to varvy, compression can knock off 50 – 70% from your HTML and CSS files. Gzip compression is a method of compressing files and is enabled via webserver configuration. How you implement it will depend on your server and its settings. Below, are some resources for the most common webservers. If you don’t see yours, contact your hosting company for help.



4) CSS is not Optimized

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS controls the style of an HTML document and the layout of web pages. Your CSS loads before people see your site. The longer it takes to load, the longer it will take for people to see your site. To prevent slow load times, try optimizing your CSS files. This will cause your CSS files to load faster and reduce the waiting time for visitors.


To optimize your CSS files, start by reviewing your files to see if there’s anything you don’t need. Get rid of any extra code — all that wasted data can add up and slow down your site.


You can also try minimizing your CSS files. This involves removing unnecessary extra spaces in your style sheets. All that extra space only increases files sizes. Some content management systems already minimize CSS files. However, there are also several online tools that can help you minify your CSS, such as csscompressor.com.


5) Scripts are Above the Fold

Elements above the fold are located in the upper half of a web page and can be viewed without scrolling. JavaScript on your site can be placed at the bottom of an HTML document, but some sites place JavaScript at the top of the HTML document. This means that all the JavaScript files have to load before visitors can see your page. The best solution is to have external JavaScript files and include the links to the JavaScript files at the bottom of your page right before the closing body tag.



Photo credit: HubSpot