Reasons you have a slow website, how to speed it up

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If you have a website, especially a site developed in WordPress, you probably are not be happy with the loading speed. This not only affects end-users that are annoyed and may leave the site, but also the ranking on Google. In fact, Google has stated that the speed of the website load time will be an important factor in positioning on the search engine, especially for mobile sites.

Test the speed of your website

First of all, check the speed of your website. Here are few sites to test the speed of your website. Google PageSpeed will give a grade on the mobile version too which is usually lower than the desktop version, but don’t expect great result, it’s really hard to get in the green zone with a score over 90 points. 

My personal blog is not very fast on mobile devices and it hosted on a cheap hosting

Major reasons websites load slowly

Slow hosting can slow down your website

On major cause of slow web loading can be your the hosting. If you have a very cheap hosting, service that runs for few dollars a month, you can not expect too much in terms of speed. Your hosting space is probably is shared with hundred of other websites and this can be a key factor in the speed of your site. We recommend two local companies with excellent hosting service: webpropulsion.com and magicangel.net

Purchased WordPress themes (templates) that are too complex can slow down your website

Another big cause is the use of WordPress themes (templates), mostly bought from sites such as Themeforest. They are beautiful to look at, with many effects, but when they are installed in your hosting they load slowly. This is because the companies who create these themes use dozens and dozens of javascript that slow down the website, but they host their demo sites on fast servers so you don’t notice any problems before you buy these templates.

Too many WordPress plugins can slow site speed

Another fundamental point is the use of too many WordPress plugins. This can not only create conflicts but can slow down your website. Unfortunately, often you can not do without plugins, especially if you have an ecommerce like woocommerce which is free, but many features are available only by using external plugins.

Images, videos or elements that slow down the site

One of the key points to optimize a website is to make sure that the site does not use large and unnecessary images. I often see websites where huge files, of one or more megabytes, are used for just a small graphic that should be a tenth of their size. A common mistake is the using of PNG instead of JPG files.  PNG files are used to obtain images with transparencies often used for graphics and logos, but their size can be ten times larger than jpgs, so they are good to use only for small graphics and never for full color photos. 

Methods to optimize the speed of the website

Image optimization and compression

ImageOptim screen for Mac

The first thing is to make sure that the images are proportionate to their use. You can look at the image loading time from the browser inspection section or using the speed test sites that will also give you useful information about the size of the images.

You can optimize the images by opening them in Photoshop and saving them for the web, or use this simple program for Mac, ImageOptim. If you activate the Lossy feature images can be compress up to 90%. (Lossy means that the image will lose quality, but in a very minimal and almost imperceptible form)

There are also WordPress plugins that compress images when they are uploaded, such as WP-Smush.

Installation of a cache plugin

In case the site is done in wordpress I use this simple free WP Fastest Cache plugin, it is very simple to configure and often works very well without having to worry about setting many parameters.

3 – CDN (Content Delivery Network) service

Cloudfare is free for personal website or $20/month

If the site is still slow or is built with other CMS (content management system), you can use Content Delivery Network (CDN) sites. This service is external to the website and in addition to speeding up the loading of images or videos, it also adds a service of protection against hackers. The most well-known sites that offer this service are Cloudflare and Amazon AWS. 

Mobile site optimization

Often the mobile site is the version that suffers the most. So the mobile site should be optimized by limiting slideshows, large images, or viewing many articles on the first page or even create a special mobile page with just the most important elements, a stripped down version.

Creation of a compatible AMP site

AMP compatibility is a feature that loads the website on mobile devices almost instantly, in fact, after clicking from Google, our site (www.maryfisherdesign.com) will open in less than a second. However, as explained in the article Be ready for super fast mobile websites with amp  we have not optimized the mobile site, but instead, we have created a version that resides on Google servers. Furthermore the websites are very simple and can remove important sections of the website.

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