There are a couple of glaring issues with having a slow website, one of which being that you literally get a split second to keep a user engaged and it must be a damn good website to make them wait. The other issue is that Google loves speed…It has it’s own tool to measure the speed of your website and will favour those that load quickest.
We will discuss a couple of things that could be slowing your website down and how easy it is to remedy those problems.
1: Large Image Files
Large images are often the number one culprit as to why your website will be taking an age and a day to load. When your website is built on a CMS such as WordPress, often users will write a blog post or create a nw product in their e-commerce store and load in a massive image without realising the implications this will cause.
So how can I fix this when I am not the developer?
If your web designer/developer/agency is worth their salt you will not be in this position in the first place, however, one thing you can do is use a plugin to ‘compress’ down the image to reduce the size a touch – plugins such as Smush or similar will be your friend here! The good news is, the plugin is free and you can compress images that have already been uploaded and also automatically set it to ‘Smush’ automatically every time you upload.
Now, this will not save you entirely. If you are a little bit handy with Photoshop or Sketch you could load up the image and change the size of the image itself to be much smaller and then also save it in a less expensive format such as .jpeg or .webm but WordPress isn’t quite ready for that format at the time of writing this post. Once done, upload and Voila!
2: Uncompressed CSS & JS
To a non developer this will make zero sense. But basically when a web designer created their website it is ok in to have uncompressed files running, but when loading it into production one of the things on the checklist should be to compressing those files down so there is less to load when a user hits your website. This is a note and nod to your developer if you can’t do this yourself.
Can I sort this out with a plugin if it’s WordPress?
While I write this and technically yes it can be done by way of a plugin – I do not condone this and would not recommend doing this unless you know what your doing. Various caching plugins offer this and also dedicated compression plugins are available. Please use with caution!
3: Cheap or crappy hosting
The obvious choice when setting up a website to go straight to the cheapest solution you can find right? “You get what you pay for…” has never been a truer statement. Look out for dedicated hosting for you platform, if your wanting to host a WordPress website then find a host that specialises in this. If you have your website designed and developed by a freelancer or agency ask them to advise and if they offer support then snap heir hands off!
4: Plugins (WordPress specific)
Plugins, plugins…plugins galore! WordPress is an amazing CMS and I will always advocate the platform to build most websites on. However, it has a darkside…just how easy it is to search and find a plugin, hit install and hey presto! You have found a solution to your problem…
There is a real issue with this, you guessed it. You have no idea what the code looks like under the hood, firstly, you have no idea if it is even secure (that’s a blog for another day) and secondly, you don’t know who coded it and if suddenly your website start slowing down because his shiny new solution has conflicting code or is just badly coded altogether. Thankfully, if it turns out the plugin is at fault you can simply de-activate and test it on a development website – not that you should be installing plugins on a live domain willy-nilly anyway.
What the hoot is Caching? Caching in a nutshell is like saving and instance of your website in a specific state so that when your user comes along again it doesn’t have to download all the content and images all over again.
If you have opted in to take out decent hosting then they should set your website up with caching from the server and then if you have you a WordPress website coulple this up a plugin to manage settings.
Can I just install a caching plugin?
Sure you can! there are a few in the store right now, go install it now! WAIT! Remember the points above about just blindly installing plugins? (I hope you read it it and didn’t just skim over…). Just installing a plugin and activating it simply won’t do, it will likely have the reverse effect and cause you a massive ball-ache. Contact your web guy/gal and get them to advice OR contact your host and they should be doing the same.
So what are the takeaway pointers here?
Ultimately the web is a minefield and managing your own website sounds like a great idea but in reality there are so many things that could bite you in the ass if your not careful – from having a slow website to opening ip a gaping hole for malicious hackers to walk in and wreck your website beyond repair.
If you need help just get in touch with a pro, that’s what we are here for! We don’t bite and actually thrive on the challenge of speeding your website up! Get in touch with us today if your suffering from a slow website – we can help you today ✌️